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The solar power industry has grown at an incredible rate over the last decade. Whilst the growth in this industry is fantastic for the environment, unfortunately the introduction of rebates in any industry brings a lot of fly by nighter’s chasing a quick buck. A perfect example of this was the roofing insulation debacle that occured a few years ago. The solar industry is particularly easy to take advantage of as the majority of people not involved in the industry have a very limited knowledge about solar power. The massive growth in the industry has also helped to add to the confusion for the customer as there are now thousands of different solar panel and inverter manufacturers around and hundreds of different companies prepared to sell them to you. Below I will give you a couple of helpful tips to use when deciding on the right solar power system for you.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
For starters it is crucial that you understand that there is not just one ideal solar system for everyone. Your individual needs and circumstances will help decide on which system is best for you. For example if you are only planning on being in that particular home for another two years then you might not get the benefit of spending thousands of dollars more and going for the best quality system available. In this circumstance I would still suggest going for a good quality system, as a cheap and nasty system can cost you a lot of money and cause a lot of headaches within 12 months, but maybe try for a good value, quality system as opposed to just purchasing the best of the best. If you are going to be in this home long term then the extra performance and reliability of the highest quality systems are worth the extra money. It is also worth considering whether you can survive off the grid with your solar system, follow the link to learn more.
The efficiency of a solar panel is very important when comparing the performance of different solar panels. A higher efficient solar panel will outperform the equivalent sized system of a lower efficient panel, particularly on cloudy and overcast days. It is very easy to get confused with the way we size solar power systems. You might see a 2kw system for $2000 and a 2kw system for $4000 and think ‘why would I pay twice as much for the same system’. When in reality they are completely different. It may not just be the extra quality that you are paying for but one system might produce an extra 50% of usable electricity than the other, even though they are the same KW rating.
Warranties are important and great to have, but particularly with solar panels they can get messy. Most solar panels will give you two types of warranty, a product warranty and an efficiency warranty. The standard efficiency warranty amongst panel manufacturers is 25 years and a lot of companies like to focus on this ’25 year warranty’. The efficiency warranty is purely to do with the performance of the panel, not the actual product itself. It is great to have a warranty stating that after 25 years the panel will still be at least 80% of its efficiency, however if the panel physically doesn’t last 25 years then the efficiency warranty doesn’t mean much. The product warranty is your standard product defect warranty and is a much more important warranty to take notice of. It is also important to remember that the warranty is only as good as the company offering it. There are companies that have been around for 6 months offering 25 year warranties on their products and in another 6 months time they have shut down or changed their name.
The inverter is the single most important part of your system. It is the brains of the operation and the most expensive individual part of your system. You could put the best panels in the world on your roof but if you put it with a poor inverter, there is no point purchasing the best panels. Warranty and efficiency are important when comparing inverters, but I would suggest only using something that has been tried and tested and proven itself for a long time.
Here at TopFrog, we’ve been dealing with different manufacturers and brands for many years and have extensive knowledge pertaining to the quality of solar PV systems available to Australian consumers. If you need some helpful advice on what PV system to choose then give us a call!