13 Solar Questions You Must Ask To Weed Out The Shonks

13 questions to ask about solar power

One of the questions that lands in my inbox almost every day is this:

“Hey Finn – I’ve been made a fantastic offer on a shiny new solar power system for my home. It is heaps cheaper than every one else on the market. Is it too good to be true or a genuine bargain???”

Here are 13 Solar Questions to quickly ask either yourself or the solar sales dude  that will help you decide.

Questions for the sales guy:

Question #1: Has your company ever been reprimanded for your advertising practices?

Question #2: How many of your installations have ever failed a government inspection?

Question #3: Is the CEC accredited installer present for the entire install?

Question #4: How much do you pay for a subcontracted 1.5kW install? ($900 is the minimum that should be paid for a quality solar installation in my humble opinion)

Question #5: What is the product warranty on the solar panels? (this is not the power output warranty). Is is at least 10 years? Is the installation warranty void if I don’t pay you to regularly “service” my solar system?

Question #6: What 3rd party evidence can you give me that these solar panels are any good? (e.g. Magazine Tests, my humble Solar Panel Comparison Tool)

Question #7: What 3rd party evidence can you give me that this solar inverter is any good?

Question #8: What kind of solar power system have you got on your roof  kind sir? (Don’t buy a shirt from a naked man!)

 

Questions to ask yourself: (crikey – I sound like your therapist now!)

 

Question #9: What happens if you Google “youtube [solar company name]” ?

Question #10: What happens if you Google “whirlpool [solar company name]”?

Question #11: What happens if you Google “whirlpool [solar panel name]”?

Question #12: What happens if you Google “whirlpool [solar inverter name]”?

Question #13: When was the last time you bought the absolute cheapest option available  – in any product or service category  – and it made you happy for years to come?

About Finn Peacock

I'm a Chartered Electrical Engineer, Solar and Energy Efficiency nut, dad, and founder of SolarQuotes.com.au. My last "real job" was working for the CSIRO in their renewable energy division.

Comments

  1. HK Chaudhary says

    Hi Finn,
    Thanks for putting up a whole set of questions from solar customers. I can’t say for sure about the other ones, but in answer to question #5 “what is the product warranty on the solar panels?” I am pretty much confident that the photovoltaic solar modules manufactured by the most reputed companies usually comes with 25 year limited power output warranty.

  2. thank finn you are the best , real person , real knowledge.. f%^k solar im stayin with the grid…

  3. Hey Finn,
    I have been quoted $6600 for a 3 kw solar package including… Trina Honey 250w
    Multicrystalline panels with a Power One Aurora PVI 3.0 inverter from Energy Aware…Sounds
    like a good deal, would like your comments…
    Cheers Ben

  4. ronald oxman says

    Hi Finn we live in north west Tasmania, this past march we had 11x 260 watt yingli panda solar panels installed, we are getting fantastic results, on clear days in august we are getting over 13 kilowatts, we have a growatt sungold inverter, what do you think of our output???

  5. Hi Finn,
    I was trying to find on your website a post about installers asking for 2 year servicing of solar panels and why this isn’t necessary. Also, is it illegal for a solar company to ask for this.

    Thanks very much,
    Tanya

    • HI Tanya,

      I’m not sure which article you mean – sorry! Although this is a good one on warranties:

      http://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/your-solar-panel-warranty-what-you-need-to-know/

      Re: the 2 year servicing. I personally think systems should be checked every 5 years – if they have been well installed, and cleaned once per year for max performance.

      I *think* it is legal to base the “installation warranty” on having prescribed service intervals – but they certainly have to honor the manufacturers warranties on the panels and inverter no matter what. Also they have to give a “reasonable” installation warranty without onerous conditions under Australian Consumer law.

      I would personally avoid any company that tried the “get us to service your system every 2 years or your installation warranty is reduced” trick.

      Hope That Helps,

      Finn

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