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5 Things Your Solar Quote Needs To Have

Tick these boxes before signing your solar contract!

We’ve all heard the horror stories of solar companies selling and installing dodgy panels and inverters that have to be replaced within 5 years but did you know – there are a new set of techniques these companies are using to over promise and deceive consumers into signing contracts on the spot or even over the phone? We unpack what your solar proposal should include to save you making a very costly mistake. A little disclaimer – I have not been paid to write this article on behalf of ‘Open Solar’, it’s free and should be used by all solar installers!

How your system works ☐

You don’t buy a new car without first knowing if and how it works so why should a solar system be any different? Believe it or not, some companies don’t explain that your solar panels will not produce power at night (don’t worry a lot of people don’t know that). Within your proposal you should have an explanation of how your system will work.

  • Will your system be big enough to cover your energy consumption all year round?
  • Will it generate excess solar during the day and be sent back to the grid?
  • Will there be enough excess solar power (credit) to offset your night usage costs?

These are just a few of the points that should be included or at least explained during the proposal process.

System performance ☐

Much like knowing how your system works, it’s also very important to understand how your system is expected to perform. Gone are the days of multiplying the size of your system by 4.5 (peak sun hours) and writing it down on a piece of paper next to your quote. The technology is readily available with applications like ‘Open Solar‘ that carefully calculate system performance after assessing a plethora of factors including orientation and tilt of panels, panel and inverter efficiencies, shading issues and a whole lot more!

 

Return on investment/savings calculations ☐

Sometimes the promise of your electricity bill reducing to $0 just isn’t possible so don’t take it as gospel and sign the contract on the spot. Your company should have at least outlined a conservative estimate of your savings as well as a time frame you will have your system paid off. Again, Open Solar is an amazing tool your company can use to accurately calculate savings by using their in built tariff setting.

System hardware specifics ☐

Crucial! Be 100% sure that your quoted systems hardware is what you were promised! Unfortunately the bait and swap tactic happens far too much which means you may not end up with the panels and inverter you were promised. A hot tip would be to ask your installer on the day to confirm they are installing what you were quoted. This is another great example of why it’s important to have your system installed by the company who sold it to you (not a sub-contractor).

  • Is the brand of the panel & inverter what you were promised?
  • Is the wattage of your panels & inverter what you were promised?
  • Ask the company what mounting hardware they are using.
  • If your close to the beach, is your system and all its components corrosive resistant?

 

Warranty information ☐

If your company has confidence in their team and procedures they should be providing a 10 year workmanship warranty to cover any defects created by them. On top of that your panels, inverter and mounting hardware all should have a minimum of a 10 year warranty with quality panels like LG & QCELLS providing a 25 year warranty.

Read our panel reviews HERE.

Read our inverter reviews HERE

Product vs performance warranty?

Product warranty – The more important out of the two, your panels product warranty is based on the manufacturers workmanship, materials used and the quality of them. In other words, the longer the product warranty, the more confidence the manufacturer has in their product. At the time of writing this LG, QCELLS, Sunpower, REC and a few others boast the longest product warranties of 25 years.

Performance warranty – Otherwise known as the ‘power’ warranty, your performance warranty is a guarantee in power output of your solar panels over time which varies in manufacturers. Depending on your situation (how long your staying in your home), we recommend panels providing a guarantee that after 25 years they will be performing at a minimum of 80% of their original output.

 

RECAP

How your system works ☐

System performance ☐

Return on investment/savings calculations ☐

System hardware specifics ☐

Warranty information ☐

 

 

Article by –

Jye van Waelsden -Managing Director.

Best Solar Panels Reviewed

What solar panel is right for me?

With well over 30 pages full of Clean Energy Council approved modules, selecting the right solar panel can be a daunting task. Fortunately for you, we’ve narrowed it down to the 4 best solar panels on the planet with a price to suit each application. We’ve broken it down into 3 categories including efficiency/performance, warranty information and price. Please keep in mind that these solar panel manufacturers have been carefully selected as the most trustworthy when is comes to warranty claims and company financial security, leaving us with complete peace of mind when recommending and installing them.

REC Solar Panels ★★★★★

REC solar panels were founded in Norway but now produce all of their solar panels out of  Singapore.  If your living near the beach or in an area that is prone to corrosion REC solar panels are corrosion resistant certified which is a great bonus. Because REC solar panels are made with silicon and aluminium that is produced mostly with hydroelectric power rather than fossil fuels, they are certified in Europe as having a low carbon footprint.

Efficiency/performance ★★★★★

The REC twin peak 2 solar panels that Paramount Energy use are extremely impactful when shading is an issue as they are split into two halves, if one half is shaded the other half is not impacted. REC offer both a ‘mono’ and ‘poly’ option with the ‘mono’ being most efficient ranging between 18.0% – 19.2%.

Warranty ★★★★★

REC solar panels are tier 1 solar panels with a huge 20 year product warranty (10 more than your average panel) and a 25 year performance warranty.

Price & who it’s for – $200-$250/panel

REC solar panels are better suited for roofs with partial shading or corrosive environments such as living near the beach. REC solar panels are a great option if your looking for a ‘value for money’ option.

 

LG Solar Panels ★★★★★

LG solar panels are one of, if not, the best solar panel manufacturer on the planet. They tick every box when it comes to the perfect solar panel including – a whopping 25 year product and performance warranty, up to 20.7% efficiency and a fail rate of just 9 out of 360,000 installed in Australia.

Efficiency/performance ★★★★★

As stated above LG solar panels have an efficiency up to 20.7% which is as good as it gets. If your home has little roof space, LG solar panels are perfect for this application as you require less panels to achieve a rated output. Did I mention they are sleek to look at? If you enjoy an aesthetically pleasing roof then LG solar panels are for you.

Warranty ★★★★★

LG solar panels offer the best warranty in the industry with a 25 year full replacement warranty including labour. What more can you ask for?

Price & who it’s for – $300-$350/panel

If you like the idea of buying the best and your not concerned about the price tag then LG solar panels are for you.

 

Canadian Solar Panels ★★★★

In 1987 the founder of Canadian Solar, Shawn Qu, was earning around $5 a week in today’s money teaching in China. That year he moved to Canada and began studying to obtain his masters degree in physics. In 2001 he founded Canadian Solar. In 2015 Canadian Solar became the second largest producer of solar panels in the world and they may be the largest in 2016.

Efficiency/performance ★★★★★

They are over 18% efficient and, unlike some manufacturers, Canadian Solar does not exaggerate their panel’s efficiency by not including the frame in the calculation. They are corrosion resistant and suitable for installation anywhere in Australia.

Warranty ★★★★☆

Canadian Solar panels have a 10 year product warranty which covers them if they fail to work in that time period due to a fault in manufacture. In addition they also have a performance warranty of 25 years

Price & who it’s for – $150-$200/panel

Canadian solar panels are an extremely good option for those on a lower budget looking for a ‘on a budget’ option.

QCELL Solar Panels ★★★★☆

Described as ‘Engineered in Germany’ QCELL solar panels are manufactured in Malaysia, Korea and China with their headquarters for engineering and research in Germany. With a large team of developers and researchers, QCELL are one of the leaders in the industry for innovation.

Efficiency/performance ★★★★★

QCELL Q Peak Duo G5 solar panels are extremely efficient at 19.6% and guarantee they will be performing at 85% of original rated output in 25 years time! Not bad…

Warranty ★★★★☆

QCELL solar panels are salt mist corrosion resistant which is ideal for seaside locations. QCELL solar panels offer a 12 year product warranty and 25 year performance warranty. QCELL have an office in Sydney which is great for ease of communication with warranty claims.

Price & who it’s for – $200-$250/panel

QCELL solar panels are similar to REC with a slightly higher efficiency. If you are living seaside with a slightly higher budget QCELL solar panels are a great option.

Solar panel technology is moving extremely quickly and Paramount Energy is committed to aligning itself directly with these advances. Happy solaring!