There are lots of misconceptions around solar panels. To put it simply, just about everyone has an opinion on which ones are good and which ones are bad.
We’ll do our best to help ensure you’re getting a quality solar panel that suits your needs.
Types of Panels
The most common types of solar panels in Australia are Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline. In most cases, either one of these types will suit and offer the best performance and return on investment.
There are some slightly newer types of panels available, including Half-Cell and Bifacial technology, but for small to medium projects the extra cost of these can far outweigh any advantages in efficiency and performance you may receive.
This is where opinions can differ dramatically! The best advice we can give is to not take your mate’s advice (unless they are an accredited solar expert).
You’ve probably heard of ‘Tier 1’ panels being the best. Yes, that is somewhat accurate, but being a Tier 1 panel is not a sure sign of quality or performance. The label ‘Tier 1’ is based on the overall financial capability of the manufacturer, usually aligned to the amount of panels that are produced and sold across the world.
Like many products, even good brands can produce poor products. It’s best to check the warranties and guarantees, the claims process, and if they have a customer service or support presence in Australia.
If you receive a quote and you’ve never heard of the panel brand, it’s best to do your homework on them. And always make sure the actual panel brand and model are clearly listed on any quotes. If the quote doesn’t include a model number, probably best to run!
Another quick check you can do on the panels is to see if they have any independent reports or tests that show the efficiency and overall performance. These are usually pretty easy to find on the manufacturers website, so if you can’t see them, it’s probably best to look for another brand.
We see many solar quotes with many different warranty terms for solar panels. As a guide, you should see the following as a minimum:
- 10 year product warranty (covers product defects)
- 25 year performance warranty (guarantees at least 80% performance)
You may see warranties longer than these, with most solar panel manufacturers now offering 15 year product warranties.
And if you don’t see the above terms, choose another panel.
How much does solar cost?
It all depends on the product, just like buying a car! You’ll pay less for a Ford than you would for a Ferrari, but essentially, they both get you from A to B.
As a guide, a residential solar energy system should cost around $1.40-$1.50 per watt. So if you’re looking at a 6.6kW system, the price should be at least $9,000 before you take into account any rebates or incentives. If you have a quote that’s much cheaper, definitely check the products that are included and the retailer’s history!
For larger commercial systems (20kw – 99kW), the price can differ dramatically depending on the installation and setup.
It’s important to remember that the cost of solar panels is only one small aspect of your solar energy system. Just as important as the panels is the inverter (which converts the DC power produced by the panels into usable electricity). If you have the Ferrari of solar panels, but a Kia inverter, you probably won’t get the full benefit.
If you would like a free quote from a reputable, experienced and accredited provider click here.