Checklist

If you’re thinking about installing a solar system for your home, it pays to do your research, so that you end up with a system that will pay for itself sooner.

ActewAGL Solar makes it easy for you to weigh up your options with our handy solar guide. In the meantime, here is a checklist of some of the things you need to consider.

Has your solar provider properly assessed the best location for your panels?

This is the single most important thing your solar provider needs to get right. In Canberra to maximise the energy your panels generate, panels should be installed facing north and tilted at 30 degrees to the horizon. Your provider should also offer to do an on-site check if there are any potential shading issues (even a small amount of shade from things like trees, roof ventilators or antennas can have a significant impact on output).

Has your solar provider taken a good look at your electricity use and consumption history?

Your provider needs to have a good understanding of your electricity use – both current and historical – when they estimate the bill savings you can expect from your solar system. Make sure they’re not overstating the generating capacity of the system or applying inflated electricity prices in their calculations.

Are you being offered high quality panels and inverters?

Your provider needs to have a good understanding of your electricity use – both current and historical – when they estimate the bill savings you can expect from your solar system. Make sure they’re not overstating the generating capacity of the system or applying inflated electricity prices in their calculations.

Are you being covered by the appropriate warranties?

The best solar providers will make sure you’re covered by these warranties.

  1. Installation: a workmanship warranty on the installation of your solar system.
  2. Solar panels: both a 10-year product warranty and a 25-year linear performance warranty.
  3. Inverter: a 5-year product warranty.

Do your solar panels come with a linear performance warranty, not just a standard warranty?

A linear performance warranty provides you with a guarantee that your panels will perform at a higher output over the entire 25-year period, compared to what a standard warranty will offer you.

Do your panels have a performance ratio of 90%?

The specifications sheet you receive for your solar panels will tell you how your panels perform under lab conditions. However, once your panels are on the roof they operate in much hotter conditions. As panels heat up their performance reduces. So it’s important to look for panels with a performance ratio of 90% or higher. The performance ratio indicates how your panels operate under “real world” conditions vs lab conditions. Not many panels perform at over 90%, so it’s important to check that yours will.

Does your inverter have a good Euro efficiency, rather than peak efficiency?

This is important as well. An inverter’s efficiency varies depending on how hard it is working (load). So don’t just look for an inverter with the highest peak efficiency. It’s much better to choose an inverter that has higher efficiency over a broad range of load (which is ‘Euro efficiency’).

What’s included and excluded in your quote?

Some providers don’t include the cost of the solar meter upgrade or the safety inspection fee which can add around $300 to the final price.  Also, check whether your price includes the STC subsidy – and was this quoted firm or indicatively? Many providers quote an indicative value for STCs and then when you go to accept the quote you find that the STC price offered at point of sale is less ‘because the STC market has dropped’.

Are you getting an end-to-end service?

The best solar providers facilitate the paperwork associated with claiming your STCs, arrange for the distribution company to upgrade your meter and help you to facilitate a booking with your local authority to arrange an electrical safety inspection (mandatory in the ACT).

Is your solar provider local and reputable?

You’re more likely to get a quick response for any potential issues from a local company. Plus, you’ll have confidence in knowing they’ll be close-by to address any issues that may arise.

Are you dealing with a Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retailer?

By choosing to buy from a business that has signed up to the Clean Energy Council voluntary Solar Retailer Code of Conduct, you are dealing with a business which has committed to a higher standard of quality and service. The code of conduct is currently the only solar industry Code of Conduct authorised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), designed to give consumers peace of mind when making the decision to invest in a solar system by helping them select a quality retailer.

More information

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