Many times people are down right against solar power it's because their neighbour down the road bought solar power and hasn’t saved a dollar on their power bills since.
Be it an exaggeration or not the sad truth is many people in the past have been left out in the dark, and expressed their disdain all over the town, and it’s their right to do so.
We’ll be the first to admit that solar has gotten a bad name. Being a new technology, a new industry, and a new playing field many people have taken advantage of the hype and sold low quality, unreliable products.
Just like everything, there are premium quality products designed to perform at optimal capacity and there are home brand knockoffs designed to look like the real thing until you sign a contract.
However, you can avoid falling into a trap and paying more or not enough for the wrong system and for the wrong reasons.
We hope this little guide will change your mind on a couple of things and give you insight into exactly two more things.
Has someone you know fallen victim to these 4 common mistakes when purchasing solar?
1. Not knowing what size system they need to fit their usage.
Depending on whether you pay upfront or choose to finance your system, either way, solar power requires an investment before seeing a return.
Many people run into trouble when they don’t understand their energy needs and end up buying a system that is too big or too small. Either you’ll end up paying to much to your energy provider or too much to in financing.
When the prospect of owning a solar system kicks in, either people get excited or stressed. Don't go over the top and buy a 10kW system with a 10KW battery system for your townhouse that you share with one other person.
Likewise, if you have a family of 5 and live in a 4 bedroom house with 2 bathrooms, a pool and 1000L of hot water don't expect to get much out of a 3.5kw system.
2. Thinking they can make money from solar tariffs.
The impact of this common mistake is twofold. Firstly, there is a sore sense of disappointment when families find out that tariffs have dropped significantly since the heydey (from 44c to just 6.5c-11c) leading to many people giving up. Secondly, people try to export as much power as possible instead of using it themselves.
When you use the power yourself you save 22c per kWh, when you export the power you are paid 11c per kW. People are missing out on half their savings without knowing it, simply by taking the wrong approach. In fact, using your power is doubly beneficial, not something to give up on solar about.
3. Failing to optimise their home, and make the most from solar.
Remember when solar hot water was all the rage? Well, some people still think it is and end up spending $3000 for no reason.
The truth is you can heat your hot water, your pool, your home and your kettle all with a single solar system. By using hot water timers and other devices it's possible to maximise your savings, by maximising your usage during sunlight hours.
Furthermore, choosing to opt out of a system with appropriate monitoring can be devastating. Put it this way, imagine the kids are out the back playing backyard cricket and that hard, hurtling ball flies directly into your solar system.
However, you don't hear anything about it given no one wanted to take the blame. Or even worse, no one knew that any damage was done in the first place.
Without proper monitoring software, you wouldn’t have a clue your system was compromised until your next bill. A bill that looked eerily similar to the bills you were getting before you purchased solar. That’s right, by skimping on monitoring you could be spending hundreds without ever knowing it.
4.Thinking All Solar Products Are Made Equal
There is a huge range of quality out there, from unregulated Chinese panels to Tier 1 European equipment that can achieve industry leading efficiency.
Being a financial decision, many people make the mistake of opting for the cheapest system upfront. The truth is cheap systems will cost you thousands in the long run, be it through underperformance, replacement costs or constant repairs.
Obviously, we didn’t cover everything, but these are some of the things we hear about every day, from friends colleagues and customers. Make sure you also look out for quality and qualified installers who give you the right information.
Sometimes, you will get cheated by someone pretending to have your best interests at heart, sometimes you will get the wrong information but we can all start by learning how to make the most of a solar system post-installation.
Things like hot water timers, appropriate monitoring, and a long-term outlook can go miles without costing you thousands.