Going Too Cheap
This is quite an obvious piece of advice, but is a surprisingly common mistake that solar customers make. Not falling for over priced systems and services will be outlined later in this article, and that is an important thing to remember; however, equally important is not going to too far on your hunt for the best value system on the market. If the offer seems too good to be true, chances are that’s exactly what it is. Solar power is a significant investment that should be thought of as a renovation to your home.
When renovating a kitchen, going for high quality appliances that will last a long time takes priority over the cheapest on the market. The same goes for your solar system – the only thing is your solar panels are more important as they have an even higher return on investment than the average renovation would. Find the balance between quality and value, there will be experts out there who can guide you in the right direction.
Not Considering All Financing Options
You don’t have to be made of money to join the solar revolution. The majority of solar customers consider financing options for their systems, which can get those rebates and incentives rolling that little bit sooner! When you are researching solar panel quotes, information on financing options and the different loans you are able to access are usually provided by potential installers.
Power purchase agreements are also another increasingly popular way to access solar power without the upfront cost. This method basically means you don’t own your solar panels at the beginning and you lease your roof space out to the owner of the solar panels, and proceed to purchase solar power from them for a set period of time until you have paid the system off – this is in a way like a rent-buy agreement.
Not Taking Advantage of Rebates and Incentives
Knowing the financial benefits and incentives that many governments offer solar consumers is extremely important when calculating what you need and what you can afford in terms of system size and type. There are a number of variations of solar systems that you can get these days:
- Grid-connected system
- Off the Grid system
- Grid-connected system + storage
- Off the Grid system + storage
The rebates and financial incentives related to these options can vary as well. In addition, many other factors such as location and electricity prices can impact your the levels of solar rebates and incentives you’re entitled to.
Not being aware of your rights as a consumer
As a consumer, it can be a daunting experience trying to find accurate, objective information when purchasing a solar power system. This is why you’re actually protected by consumer law, which is designed to inhibit salespeople and businesses from taking advantage of customers.
It’s important to know exactly what you need, and even more so what you don’t need, when purchasing a solar power system. For example, opinion on necessary maintenance and servicing periods vary widely. There are, however, many salespeople who will try to sell you unreasonable maintenance fees, and make you pay for upkeep that you don’t need.
Likewise, know the right warranty is extremely important when purchasing your system, as it’s a long term investment that needs a level of insurance and reliability down the track. Make sure you read the fine print of your warranty agreement, as many solar companies can take advantage of the complex lingo involved.
Taking your first offer
Doing your research is the most important thing with any investment, and solar systems, particularly with the addition of storage, are no different. Taking the first offer you get is one of the biggest mistakes you can make on your solar journey. Many solar companies will offer what they say are ‘limited time’ offers that you will miss out on if you don’t buy now! Don’t fall for this, it’s most likely not the case.
There are consumer care websites that provide objective quotes, usually around 3, entirely free. This is where you will find the most competitive prices, as well as the easiest comparison between quality and company reputation.
Insisting on an off grid system when you don’t need it
Going off the grid sounds appealing for many reasons. Before battery storage technology was on the market, many people were tempted by the off-grid systems so they could go ‘completely green’. At the end of the day, the economics will determine whether you can sustain such a decision, and although you’ll be able to feel great about your carbon footprint, it’ll mean nothing if you can’t afford to keep doing it. If you’re considering solar panels in an urban area, go with grid connect and make (economically) sustainable choices. If you install a basic grid connect solar system, make sure it’s easily set up to upgrade to battery storage, as this will be the greenest way to progress your solar investment!
Thinking a shaded roof means solar won’t work
It’s really important to never make assumptions as to whether you’re eligible for solar power. Solar technology is so efficient these days that even if you have some shade on your roof or if you think it’ not facing the right direction, you may only lose around 10 – 15 per cent efficiency. Depending on your situation, the benefits of the system can often outweigh this minor loss.
Installing An Enormous System That You Don’t Need
Knowing the right size of system to get on your home depend on a lot of factors – the main ones being based on you house size, energy usage and potentially your plans for the future. If you have carried out the adequate research, any reputable installers you happen to choose will be able to figure out with you what size will be best for you. When it comes to solar, bigger is not necessarily better. You need to weigh up the cost of the system with the financial returns it will deliver. You wouldn’t buy a 10 bedroom house for your four person family, so it makes sense not to do this with your solar panels and storage system. The same goes for your inverter, don’t fall for an unnecessary up-sell that will make your installer money and will be of no use to you.
Not complementing your solar system with low cost energy savers
Purchasing solar should not be the only way you reduce your energy consumption and carbon footprint. Simply switching to solar won’t make you as energy efficient as you can be. Small, low cost additions to your home like insulation, window shades and responsible electricity use can all lower your energy consumption and increase your solar savings.
Waiting too long for new technology
We understand many of you will be early adopters who are hanging out for the latest and greatest high tech gadgets to be released. New technology is certainly a reality for the solar industry, and while many technologies are worth the wait – i.e. solar storage – you will be waiting around forever if you want the latest and greatest thing. The reality it, new technology is being released all the time, and you could miss the boat on amazing long term benefits if you wait for too long.