Finn’s Top Tips For Buying Solar Power (And Batteries)

Tips for buying solar and batteries

In these short videos (+ transcript), SolarQuotes founder Finn Peacock shares his top 4 tips for buying solar power in Australia, plus his top 4 tips for purchasing a home battery system.

Top 4 Tips For Buying Solar Power Systems

Tip 1 – Choose Quality

Buy high quality solar, it will perform better, it will last longer and it won’t cost that much more.

Tip 2 – Go Big Where Possible

If you have a single phase house, your maximum you can probably install is 6.6 kilowatts of panels. Get at least 6.6 kilowatts of panels – you’ll pay very little extra for 6.6 kilowatts compared to four or five kilowatts.

Get the quotes, trust me on that – it’s because of the way the rebate works. The federal solar rebate actually pays pretty much all the cost of the solar panels. Once the installer is on your roof, if you want more panels, all you have to pay for is the installer’s time and the extra racking, and sometimes a slightly bigger inverter. You can get those last few kilowatts very, very cheap and the payback on them will be phenomenal.

Tip 3 – Get Consumption Monitoring

Almost all solar systems will come with a monitoring system, but that will only monitor the solar generation, the gross solar generation. If you want to know how much solar you are using in your home then you need to get consumption monitoring, which measures the flow of electricity going into your home. This will cost a few hundred dollars extra, but it is absolutely worth it.

For one, it means you’re getting a really good monitoring system that will help you see if your solar system is performing; so you don’t get a shock of really high bills if your solar system performance goes down the pan. Number two, it lets you see where you’re using electricity, how much you’re using, and if you can shift it into the solar window so you can self-consume it – that can make an enormous difference to your bills.

Tip 4 – Switch Electricity Retailers

The chances of you being with the best retailer that gives you the best feed in tariff and the best usage rate for the amount of solar you’re exporting and the amount of grid electricity you’re importing is very low. Go to this tool on my site; get your latest bill after you’ve got your solar system, put in your imports, put in your exports, and that will tell you which retailer would have given you the lowest bill. It’s the best way I know to quickly and easily get your bill down even further once you’ve got your solar system.

Top 4 Tips For Buying Solar Batteries

Tip 1 – You Probably Don’t Need A Battery

If you want tiny bills, a zero bill or even a negative bill, you probably don’t even need a battery. You can do it with solar alone in many, many cases. There are lots of solar owners in Australia that get tiny, zero or negative bills with just solar, so bear that in mind.

Tip 2 – Optimum Size (Capacity)

If you’re going to buy a battery, good on you. If you want the best bang for your buck, buy the lowest cost per kilowatt hour stored. The sweet spot is about nine kilowatts hours. If you buy less than nine kilowatt hours, you’re paying a lot more per kilowatt hour for the battery, so get a battery of at least nine kilowatt hours.

Tip 3 – Get Proper Backup

If you’re going to spend thousands of dollars on a battery, you might as well get one that does backup properly. Say to the person selling the battery to you, or trying to sell a battery to you, these words:

¬†“I want the solar panels to charge the battery when the grid’s down.”

Then you will get a solar system that will do proper backup and the backup will last as long as possible. I’ve got another video that goes into this in detail – watch that if that doesn’t make sense.

Tip 4 – Be Wary Of Community Battery Schemes

My fourth tip about buying batteries, beware of community battery schemes. They often hold seminars, they often exaggerate the payback, and they often use very powerful psychology and peer group pressure to convince you to buy a battery when maybe it’s not in your best interest.

So, if there is a community battery scheme happening in your part of the world, be very wary of it. If you go to one of the seminars, be on the lookout for the psychology of selling and go home, do your maths, don’t make any rash decisions.


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About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.


  1. I have just used the tool to find the best deal for my situation.(SA)
    Origin comes out on top with a 23 c FIT and amaysim is next with 22 c.
    However, on contacting origin to sign up by phone, I was told that this was an online only offer. So I went online, and was told by Phil that it is not available.
    So Amaysim got my business.
    Can you advise what the correct situation is with Origin?

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