Are you getting the best Solar Panels? The Top 10 Things To Check

the best solar panels

How do you know if they are going to perform on your roof?

There are a bewildering array of solar panel brands out there. How do you sort the wheat from the solar chaff and be sure you are getting the best solar panels for your roof?

My advice is go thru the spec sheet for each panel and judge them on the following criteria.

If you haven’t got a spec sheet, then get another quote!

If the spec sheet combined with the quote doesn’t have the answers, call up the solar supplier and ask. If they don’t know the answers, that’s a bad sign.

The Top 10 Criteria

1. Warranty.

It seems that all panels claim to have a minimum 25 year Power Output Warranty. I’ve covered the common myths about solar panel warranties here. But the main criteria is to check that the Warranty is backed by an Australian Entity that has to comply with Australian Consumer Protection Laws, and that it is an “on site replacement” warranty. You really don’t want to be removing the panel from your roof and going down the post office to send it back to China! Plus the last time I checked, Chinese consumer protection laws weren’t that hot. (Note: There are some excellent solar panels, made in China, these days and also some shocking ones – the best way to know if the supplier believes in their quality is to see what responsibility they take for the warranty they offer on them)

2. Cost

Typical prices for solar power systems of different kW sizes are shown here. If the cost of your quotes solar system is substantially less, then make sure you are getting a bargain, not a liability by reading this post about the perils of cheap solar panels.

If the price is much more expensive than those show, then either you have a particularly difficult install, or you are paying too much. Get multiple quotes to check which is the case.

3. Manufacturer

Do a quick Google of the manufacturer – What’s their website like? Is there a “warranty” section? Is there an Australian office? How long have they been around? Has anyone had any bad experiences with them on the forums?

4. Panel Type

Is it a mono crystalline, multi crystalline or thin film solar panel, or some wacky new technology? The types of solar panels and their pros and cons are discussed here. Make sure you are happy with the technology that you choose.

5. Solar Panel Efficiency

Unless you have a huge roof, you probably want an efficiency of at least 12%. Otherwise if you ever want to upgrade in the future, you’ll probably struggle to find any roof space left over. However don’t fall into the trap of believing that efficiency is the be all and end all of solar panel quality. You can get great quality panels at the lower end of the efficiency scale. There’s an in depth discussion on solar panel efficiency, when it matters and when it doesn’t here.

6. Power Tolerance

This is the amount that the actual power output of your solar panel can vary from the output specified by the supplier. For example a 165W module with a tolerance of +/- 5% could actually produce from 156.75W up to 173.25W.

So be aware of this number, as it will directly affect the amount of power you can get.

The best solar panels have a “positive only” power tolerance, which means you are guaranteed to get at least the specified output from the panel and usually more. For example: a 200W solar panel with a tolerance of +5%/-0% will produce a minimum of 200W and a maximum of 210W.

7. Framing Quality

The aluminum frame which goes around the solar panel is a good indicator of the overall quality of the solar panel’s manufacture.

Look at the corners. Are they tidy joins? Are they anodized after the cut, or before. Anodizing after the cut is more time consuming, but means that the 45 degree edge is anodized too, helping protect from corrosion. Are the panels glued (bad), screwed or welded at the corners.

If looks are important to you – then you may want to look for a black anodized frame – they look damn sexy when mounted in a solar array on a roof (I can’t believe I just wrote that what a solar geek I am!)

8. The Backsheet.

All solar panels have a plastic backsheet glued on the the back of the panel to protect the solar cells. A flimsy backsheet with any air bubbles or signs of coming unstuck is a sign of a crappy panel.

9. Bypass Diodes

If your panel is mono or multi crystalline then these are a must. They are diodes that cost a few cents each and are put across neighboring of cells inside the solar panel. If you don’t have bypass diodes then a small shadow on a tiny part of your solar panel can stop the entire panel from making electricity.

10. Temperature coefficient.

This is especially important in sunny Australia!

The temperature coefficient is a number that describes how well the panel handles hot temperatures – where hot is defined as greater that 25 degrees Celsius.

The units of this number are “% per °C”

The lower this number, the better.

The higher this number, the more your power will degrade on hot days, when the sun is at full force! And you thought hat the more sun you had on your roof the more power you would get. Not if this number is too high…

A high temperature coefficient is a sign of a crappy panel. A reasonable number is about 0.5%. The best solar panels get this down to 0.3% and that is the sign of an excellent panel. Over 0.7% is a warning sign.

About Finn Peacock

I'm a Chartered Electrical Engineer, Solar and Energy Efficiency nut, dad, and the founder and CEO of I started SolarQuotes in 2009 and the SolarQuotes blog in 2013 with the belief that it’s more important to be truthful and objective than popular. My last "real job" was working for the CSIRO in their renewable energy division. Since 2009, I’ve helped over 700,000 Aussies get quotes for solar from installers I trust. Read my full bio.



    could you please tell me if thease panels are ok SOPRAY
    open current 44.4v temp noct 45 +
    optimum v 37v – 2deg c
    temp p max -o 48% c
    temp voc – o34% c
    temp isc – oo17 % c
    short circuit 5.92
    optimum current 5A
    max power 185wp
    operating temp -40deg c to 85c
    max volt 1000 v dc
    fuse 15 A
    power tol + 3%

  2. Alison Turner says


    Have you ever heard of 240Watt Sunlink SL220-20M solar PV panels – a chinese brand which are said to be ok? Wondering you thoughts.

  3. Hi there
    Coould you please rate the Q.Cells panels and Solon panels( both German I believe)
    Many thanks!

  4. hi can u tell me if the 205w trina is a good one or is the sunny roo (srp) 250w a better buy. I have signed up for the sunny roo and asked all the things you have said to and it seemed ok, they have now rang me (green engineering) and said they cant get the sunny roo for about 4 to 6 months but they can offer me the trina at the same price and be at my place in 3 days time, when i asked what model he said he didnt know but it was the 205w one and for me to look it up, he said they r about the same and if i want i can wait the 4 months or get the trina now. Is it just as good or should i wait? I know trina is a good brand and it costs more than the sunny roo (they wont be charging me more, they have offered it at the same price as the sunny roo) but is the 205w one ok? what is the differece between them? and should i take the trina or wait for sunny roo. my place is a normal job on a tiled roof north west facing.

    • Finn Peacock says

      Trina panels are excellent, they consistently perform well in tests and are a very strong brand. If you can get Trina Solar Panels at the same price as the Sunny Roo I’d go for the Trina.

  5. julie hancocks says

    could you please tell me if the conergy P 170-190m power plus solar panels are a good make and the companysolar harness

    • Finn Peacock says

      Conergy are excellent panels, but the only caution I would have is that there have been various reports around questioning the financial stability of the company, so make sure your warranty will still be covered if Conergy are not around to cover it!

  6. Kym Holness says

    Well done… I will recommend your site. We are about to purchase a system for home and I am confident you have armed me with all I’ll need to get the right system for the funds we have. I’ll be sure to seek your guidance should I get stumped by eager suppliers.. Not likely.. Now!
    Cheers and thanks.

  7. Confused about Solar says

    Are Lightway panels and lightway solar the same comany?
    Are Lightway 235kw(21 panels) with a Delta Solivia 5kw inverter a good buy for 4.935kw priced at $13020.00?

    • Finn Peacock says

      No – I think the solar installers “Lightway Solar” are different to the Lightway that distribute light way solar panels.

      From what I’ve heard lightway panels are pretty good. As with all panels make sure you get a 10 year manufacturers defects warranty (more important than the 25 year power output warranty), and that they are from an Australian based wholesaler and you should be covered if anything goes wrong in the next 10 years!

      Delta inverters are good, they are not the most efficient (you can find inverters 1 or 2% more efficient) but the Deltas do have a reputation for reliability which I would argue is the most important trait of an inverter as even a top of the range inverter is the most likely component to fail in a solar system.

  8. Hi, I am looking to install solar. Can you advise on which panel is the best in terms of efficiency and warranty. I have had quotes for Suntech, ET and CSUN. I am looking for a 3.5 Kw system (250kw x 14 panels) – I am limited by roof space. Also would you consider an Aurora 5Kw or SMA 5 Kw inverter and is there any difference in the cost? Thanks

    • Finn Peacock says

      Those 3 panel manufacturers all get about 15.4% module efficiency from their 250W solar panels. Suntech are the longest standing brand out of the 3 – so it could be argued that they are the lower risk option. But you’ll probably pay a bit more for them. If you search for the brands on my solar panel comparison tool you’ll see that they all get about 90% performance ratios (independently tested). Which means you can expect to get 90% of the specified power out of them when they are on your roof. So basically there is very little in it apart from the “brand reputation” of Suntech. All 3 panels get a 10 year manufacturers warranty (most important) and 25 year performance warranty, just make sure the ones you buy are backed by an Australian wholesaler/distributor.

      IN terms of Aurora/SMA. SMA would be my choice if pushed – although they are both good, longstanding brands. Expect to pay about $500 more for the SMA 5kW Inverter over the Aurora.

  9. Thanks for your advice. Yes SunTech are $1000 more expensive for the same size system. It hardly seems worth it if the performance ratio is similar. I have heard also that the poly panels may perform better a predominantly warm climate than the mono panels – is that correct? Are there any panels which stand out from the others in terms of performance, price, warranty etc? Thanks

  10. Can you advise on the company Solar Essence – they were recommended by another on line site. They are coming to quote next week.

  11. Hi, still wading through the solar mire. What are your thoughts about Sunpower panels?
    I am from Queensland and am told that the poly panels work best in the extreme heat. Is that correct?
    I am still leaning towards Suntech because they have been around for a long time, but Sunpower look more efficient so would appreciate your take on them. Thanks

  12. Carolyn says

    Hi, we are trying to decide between various solar quotes at present. What is your recommendation between a 5Kw Samil Inverter vs the Aurora 5KW PVI-5000-OUTD

    We are also trying to decide between CSUN panels and the new Trinar Solar Honey TSM-250PC05A panels?


    • Finn Peacock says

      Hi Carolyn,

      Price being equal, I’d choose Aurora and Trina.

      Aurora because they have been in the game longer than Samil and therefore have a longer history to judge their reliability by. They are very reliable inverters. Samil are good : – and have great backup in Australia if anything goes wrong – but if you forced me to choose, I’d go Aurora.

      CSun are pretty good these days – but I’ve more experience of Trina, and I like their panels – so I’d personally plump for Trina if forced to choose.

  13. Do you know anything about Green Engineering? They are almost half the price of Sky Power for a bigger unit – German Polycrystalline model and offering 25 years guarantee on panels & 10 years on inverter.
    Also the guy from Jim’s Solar did not turn up for appointment & no email received after visit from Skypower – very disappointing.

  14. Hi Finn,
    We are interested in solar panels to install on our roof then a company came in and told us that we can install solar panels without replacing our meter box (it’s an analog one! 3 phases) we are living in WA and looking for a 3 KW inverter DELTA 2.5 or EFFEKTA with TRINA solar or SUNTECH solar panel.
    My question is will this work ?And are we in the obligation to change our meter box or not ?
    Which inverter do you think will be the better one ?
    Thank you very much

    • Finn Peacock says

      As far as I am aware – if you get solar and don’t upgrade to a new meter you are in breach of your agreement with the energy retailer (and possibly the law?). Who told you this was OK?

  15. David Milne says

    I have a quote from TVS for a2 kw system using Sunowe panels. Cost $4450 for 11 panels . Is this a fair deal or not..David M ilne.

  16. steve williams says

    Hi Finn Just wondering whether you have an opinion on SUNTECH PV PANELS 190 WATT MONO- CRYSTALLINE. 10 YEAR FACTORY WARRANTY and also SMA 5000 INVERTER 5 YEAR FACTORY WARRANTY. Are the warranty times long enough. Is a two year workmanship warranty acceptable.

    • Finn Peacock says

      SMA will give you a 10 year warranty for a few dollars extra. Suntech and SMA are a great combination. 10 years defects warranty on the panels is standard now (and is a lot more important than the 25 year “performance” warranty everyone quotes

  17. Chris Reeves says

    Hi Finn just wondering what your thoughts were on Eurosolar, and the Amerisolar 250W panels that they use ..just got a quote for a 5kw Delta inverter and 16 250w panels on a 2 story house with a flat tin roof for $8990…that also includes supply and install of a meter box and stands for panels to…Is this a good price???

    • Finn Peacock says

      It a good price for 5kW and a good inverter. I’m not familiar with those panels – so can’t comment on the system as a whole!

  18. Ian Lines says

    Hi Finn. What are (Hanwha Solarone 185/190 Watt) pannels like re preformance to oyhers,
    Hope to hear back soon Cheers Ian.

    • Finn Peacock says

      I think they are OK – but avoid panels that small – they tend to be old stock. 250W is the new standard

  19. Hi, we have just a had 22 Lightway panels and a Macsolar 5kw Inverter delivered today (30/6/12), to be installed on Monday. Our order was meant to include a Delta inverter not Macsolar. Should we persist with them to get a Delta. From what I’ve read Delta are very good. I can’t find much info on Macsolar. Don’t know why the change. have not been able to contact the business we are dealing with.
    Thank you,

    • Finn Peacock says

      I’m not familiar with those inverters – sorry! I did a quick search of the industry test results that I have and couldn’t find Macsolar in there. I’d personally demand a Delta unless they can prove the Macsolars are as good.

  20. Geoff Martin says

    Hi Finn,
    After your push to the 3x Companies for a quote (from your recommendation in south australia) to break their silence and get in touch with me for a quote after a week of silence I finally received one!…”Solar 2000″ who emailed a Quote after they spoke to me on the phone. The quote had very little information attached (especially strange when you consider I had some curly questions he could not answe over the phoner and was going to get one of his staff members to ring me back with some answers before a quote could be created. However, put all that a side…. do you think the price of $11600.00 for : 20x Suntech Panels (250 watts per panel = 5KW), 1x SMA SB5000TL Inverter,Panel Manufacturer Warranty 10 years,Of course 25 years performance and only 5 years Manufacturers Warranty on the SMA Inverter is a good price? There was No information about Meter installation costs or by whom or who’s responsibility, Isolation Circuit breaker or the option possibilities I discussed on the phone regarding location issues…..etc,etc. So therefore, before I respond to this” emailed quote” I thought I would email you and hopefully receive some advice Finn.
    Kind Regards
    Geoff Martin

  21. Hi Finn

    Had a price from True Value Solar for 8 Sunowe or Renesola panels with a 3kw Growatt Invertor installed with tilt brackets on single story for $2313 is this a good price?

  22. Hi finn,

    Got a price of Blueline xt panels / 195w, Blueline MI inverter 4KW and 18 panels at
    $16,000 is that good or too dear.
    And looking at Sunny boy 4000TL (SMA inverters) and CSUN250 -60M panels x16 panels
    got no price yet. Which do you prefer? thanks

    • Finn Peacock says

      Seems very expensive… Get a couple more quotes before you decide. I’d go SMA over blueline – because I know SMAs but I’ve no experience of blueline.

  23. Hi again,
    Is CSUN250 the same manufacture as Suntech

  24. Hi Finn,
    Thank you for your feedback, I did what you said and got a few more quotes and went with 5kw SMA
    inverter with 20 x CSUN panels for $12,000. with a little bit a haggling

    I also received a quote for 3kw cleanergy inverter and 12 X VSS 250 panels for $12,200
    which i knew it was very expensive
    Once again thank you for your help

    • Hi I was just curious how your panels are going? I’m about to take the solar leap and will be getting Csun panels. Any help would be much appreciated.

  25. i am looking at using 250w Aide Solar panels in my 5kw system, can you tell me if they are ok. They meet all your quality/perormane recommendations but I dont no much about the company or how popular the panels are. They sell a lot in USA and Europe.

  26. Hi Finn,
    I am looking into solar, 5Kw is what i will probably need, i have had a few quotes all of which seam to have good panels according to all the good info you supply, there is one qoute i have had that is quide different, they claim to have the latest and greates tech the will do all the ground work installing, doing paperwork and organising inspections, all i have to do is make a deal with the supplier company. They are Blue line, sold in Vic by United, they supply a German manafactured panel and an Israle inverter, there seam to be lots of bells and whistles and garantee 19Kwh per day over 30 days on a 5kw unit with 25 panels, do you think this would be worth paying $20K for over other competitors whose equipment may or may not be quite as good. Thanks.

    • Finn Peacock says

      Hi Peter,

      Seems very expensive. Even if the hardware is out-of-this world performance wise – you are unlikely to get more than 10% extra power compared to “regular” PV.

      A good 5kW system will average 18kWh per day in Melbourne. These guys promise 20kWh. So over 1 year (if they are right) you will get an extra 730kWh of electricity.

      At 25c per kWh that is $182 per year extra revenue.

      If you are paying $8k more for your system, the simple payback is 44 years for the extra dosh.

      Doesn’t sound like a very good deal to me.

  27. Hi Finn,

    We are looking at getting a 5KW inverter (SMA) with phono panels (mono). We are looking at $13K fully installed. Are the phono panels ok? We also looked at Trina ones (poly) but had it implied (but not stated so not sure how true it is) that they might be liquidating and there might be risk re: warranties etc.?

    • Finn Peacock says

      Hi Kirsty, impossible to comment on panels without knowing the brand. One piece of advice that I would give is don’t give your business to the salesperson who lied about Trina. Trina are great panels and a strong company. Almost all solar panel companies are losing money at the moment, so his comments are ridiculous.

  28. Hi Finn,

    I have currently signed for a 5kw system through Tru value. Their service has been excellent to date. I am wondering if you can give me some info on the panels they will be installing? 200kw Rene panels. 26 of them. I have also got the SMA inverter to go with the system. Total cost was $11,700. Any info appreciated

    • Finn Peacock says

      Hi Adrian,

      I don’t have any experience of Renesolar panels – but I think they’re OK from what I’ve heard. SMA are obviously very good inverters.

      I’m not a huge fan of True Value Solar because of their practice of advertising huge inverters with a small amount of panels. I think that’s unethical (and so did the ACCC!).

      And I’ve had a lot of calls from confused pensioners, who have fallen for it. That makes me sad and angry.

      I assume you are getting 5kW of panels with your system? Just asking!

      Also be sure that you don’t have to pay $200 every 2 years for a ‘service call’ to keep your warranty valid!



  29. Gary Pelham says

    Hi Finn,great info on here just wondering on your thoughts about a 5kw system 20 xCSun 250 w poly panels and a Samil inverter,split over a n and nw facing roof space for around $6000 in Adelaide

  30. Been having huge problems with my solar system. Had a 5kw Effekta inverter which has never worked from day one, has taken me ages to get them to change it. They finally took it away over 2 weeks ago and after constant phone calls, text, emails etc ,today, they offered me a Delta in its place as they said they cannot get me another Effekta. what are your thoughts on this? thanks

  31. Kathy Austin says

    Hi Finn,
    I have had 4 quotes for a 2kw solar system but can’t decide which quote to go for, wondering what you thought.
    1 – Canadian Solar panels and Delta soliva inverter
    2 – Trina panels and SMA inverter
    3 – BP Sunoasis panels and SAmil inverter
    4 – LDK panels and Omnik inverter

    I would appreciate your advice. Thanks

  32. Hi Finn,

    I have received a quote from EuroSolar for 12 x 250W Amerisolar Panels with a 3kW Delta Inverter for $4,600.
    Would you recommend that?

    Or a quote from Infinite Energy offer 12 x 250W REC Solar Panels with a 3.0kW Aurora inverter for 5,700?

    The prices seems like quite different for very similar systems and I would appreciate your opinion!

  33. I have a quote for a 5kw system with SMA 5000TL-20 with 20 x Suntech STP250S for 10,990 for a 2 story house and tilt frames required. Is this reasonable? Also another party told me that Suntech were in receivership and that American and Danish panel provide a better efficiency – from my research I could not see this and thought the Suntech efficiency was quite good.

  34. Hi Finn,

    I have a quote for $5,350 for the following:
    12 x 250W (3KW) Musterland panels and 1 x 5KW SMA Sunny Boy 5000TL inverter.
    Does this sound like a good combination?
    Do you know much about the Musterland product?
    Does the price seem reasonable?

  35. Hi Finn, we are looking to put on a 5kw system and have had quotes from 2 companies. The first one uses Conergy panels for $11500. The second uses either Sunowe or ReneSola panels for $7700. Do you have any advice on which one to go with? Appreciate any advice

  36. Glanys Schubert says

    Hi Finn, We are looking at Suntech Monocrystalline and Renesolar Polycrystaliline. Can you tell me what the difference is between the mone and poly is? Regards Glanys

  37. Hi Finn,

    I got quote with solar consultants with STS(Five star Energy) solar panels with AURORA or SMA inverter?
    Now, The company is silver rated on your site but I can not find any reviews for solar panels? Can you put some lights on it?


  38. Christian Komzak says

    Hi Finn, I have received a quote from ‘1800 Tas Solar’ and all relevant information on 26 X Sunways 235W panels creating a system size of 6.11Kw, matched to an Aurora PVi 6000 inverter. The price comes to $11900.00. (This is my preferred option.) Is this a reasonable price? And can you please give me your opinion on the German made Sunways panels? Would you choose Sunways over Chinese made Trina panels? The quote for the same inverter matched to Trina panels creating a 6Kw system was $1000 less, so we thought it preferable to pay the extra for German made as opposed to Chinese made.
    Alternatively I have also received a quote from ‘True Value’ for 30 X 200W ReneSola PV panels, 2 X 3Kw Growett inverters (they can’t currently supply the 6Kw Growett inverter) installed for $11200.00.
    And finally a quote from ‘i want energy’ for 24 X 240W Rec panels creating a total of 5.76 Kw matched to a 6Kw Aurora inverter for $11000.00.
    Your feedback would be much appreciated.

    • Finn Peacock says

      I think the price for Sunways and Aurora is very reasonable for good quality equipment. Sunways are excellent, but I’d personally be happy with Trina too. That is a much better deal than the True Value Solar one in my humble opinion. I think TVS also charge a few hundred a year for “maintenance” if you want to keep your installation warranty? Watch out for that trick!

  39. Hi Finn,

    I got a quote from Solar consultants with STS solar panels and SMA or Aurora inverter. I can not find any review for STS solar panel on your website.

    I know about solar consultants is rated silver star on your website but If you can give me some information about STS solar panels ,I really appericiate any advice from you.


    • Finn Peacock says

      I’m not familiar with the panels – but Solar Consultants are a good bunch, so I expect they will stand by the panels they install!

  40. Stu Winkler says

    Got a quote for 16 x 250kw Trina Honey panels with a delta inverter for just under 7k is this a good deal?

  41. I have been quoted for LG Mono X panels (LG250S1C-G3) – Are these a reliable solar brand and panel ?
    I intend to use with a SMA SB5000TL-21 inverter. Will this be a good pairing ?

    Kind regards

  42. Location: Brisbane

    We are have narrowed our Inverters down to either the SMA 5000TL or the Power-One Aurora PVI5000 but leaning towards the SMA as they are very similar in price and from reviews rated number 1.

    Panels are a different story. I have been advised by a few people about the Trina (Honey) TSM-250 panels are great but the CSUN and Stella Bosch are also an option. I have read that the Trina panels are good but can you tell me what the other panels are like in comparison. I am unable to find much information about them other from the manufacturer.

    I can get a 5kW system using the SMA inverter and CSUN or Stella Bosch panels for around the $8000.
    I think using Trina will be a little more expensive. Not sure how much though…

    Do you think its worthwhile getting the Trina panels?

  43. Hi Finn – I just got a quote from AGL for 6 EKO Energy Saver 1500 with EKO Energy 1500S Inverter. Have you had any experience with EKO? Total cost is $3220.00 is that a good deal. Blueline quoted me $8000.00 for a similar system but they advised their quality was much better than competitors. Thanks

    • Finn Peacock says

      The $8,000 quote is ridiculous for a 1.5kW system.

      The EKO stuff is re-branded, budget Chinese stuff. It is OK and should do the job with an average power output. AGL should be able to support you with warranties in the future as they are a obviously huge company. Just don’t ask them about their coal seam gas activities if you have an environmental disposition…

      $3,000 is about the right price for a good 1.5kW system. You can probably get good branded Chinese panels (Trina, CSun, Canadian Solar) and a good Chinese inverter (Growatt or Samil) for that price if you shop around.

  44. Hi there.

    I live in Perth and just over the weekend got a quote for a 2kw system (with inverter upgradable to 3kw). The company that I am dealing with is Solar Harness and the price is $10,300 (before rebate). The panels were supposed to be Bosch 250w but I have read an announcement last week that Bosch will be stopping production and support for all Bosch Solar energy. I have been offered Connergy 250w panels instead with an Aurora inverter. Can you please advise me if the price quoted is excessive and is it possible to get better deals with good panels made in China?
    Should I stay with Solar Harness instead? I am into the 3rd day of the 10 day cooling period. Any advice will be great.

    • Finn Peacock says

      Solar Harness are great guys that will do a very good installation. Those are excellent and expensive German panels – hence the price.

      Yes – systems with Chinese panels will be cheaper – probably about $2k cheaper.

  45. Hi how u a quote on a 4kw solar system from Bio solar for has csun250-60mm panels with Aurora inverter.have u heard of this company and am i getting a good price for this system.Love to hear back from u with your coments

    • Hi Brian, I am not sure where you are located. I am in Brisbane and getting a 5kW system with CSUN panels and SMA inverter for about $8000

  46. Hi Finn, your information is most helpful, thanks. We are a business with an almost flat roof (10 degree pitch) and are buying a 25kw system. Quotes are for Renesolar 250w with Fronious Inverter for $45k, or a Linuo 240 (30) 250w with Rewatt inverters for $29k. Massive difference, both fairly new companies in Australia – up to 4 years. The linuo guys are including brackets for better pitch. Astounded by the price difference but research shows both fairly good brands. Your thoughts?

    • Finn Peacock says

      HI Deb,

      I’m not familiar with Rewatt Inverters or Linuo panels – which probably means they are lower Tier brands – which IMHO makes them a bigger risk for such a large system.

      I’d also say that brackets for better pitch may be a waste of time and money. The difference between 10 degrees and the ideal pitch (your latitude) is likely to be about 5%. How much extra are you paying for the extra 5% power? If you work out the simple payback it may be a looooong time.

      Renesola’s new panels are getting good write ups at the moment (make sure you get the Virtus II or higher panels) and Fronious are a good brand for larger systems. That would be my choice for hardware unless someone can provide good third party tests of the other gear.

      But the installation is going to be absolutely critical on this job. I can’t see how you can do it at the lower cost and pay for the professional engineering involved and use top quality Balance of System materials.

      Also get a written estimate of the financial benefits as part of the contract – make sure your utility won’t change your tariff to a punitive one that kills any financial benefit stone dead. It can happen, you just need to find out before the install! If they can’t provide this assurance, find an installer that can.

  47. Hi Deb

    Where are you based?

  48. Hi Finn

    We are looking into Solar installation for 3KW system and narrowed it down to two options:

    1. Australian Solar Panels Black Range (ASP) panels and Delta Inverter
    2. Schott Panels and Sungrow or Aurora inverter

    and difference between price is only $350 so immaterial in grand scheme.

    What do you or others recommend?


    • Finn Peacock says

      I’ve never seen an “Australian Solar Panel” in the flesh, so I can’t comment on their quality. But I consider the name deceptive because to me they imply they are made in Australia, when they are made in China. So I personally avoid them for that reason. Delta inverters are fine.

      Schott panels are fantastic. They don’t make the crystalline ones any more – but the company still exists, so warranties should be ok (check they are an official import to be sure). And Schotts are so good – you are highly unlikely to claim on the warranty. Aurora inverters are great.

      • Finn what about Sungrow inverters?
        Vendor is now saying they don’t have Aurora in stock and have ordered shipment of Sungrow and said they are equally good.

        Any suggestions?


  49. I am looking at a 3KW system. Inverter to be supplied is Delta 3.3 Which I am happy with. Panels are zeus appollo mono. 12 x 250w The data specifications look good but I can not find out much about them. Do you know the brand?


  50. Tony smith says

    Hi, I’m looking at a 5 kw system, using a fronius ig 60 inverter with ten yrs warranty, and 21 sma panels. Price $ 8300.

  51. hi was wondering if $5700 is a good price for 8 250 watt conergy power plus panels and a 3kw macsolar inverter its from solar harness

    • That sounds not so good codey I just got 12 lightway panels 250 watt and sma invertor for 4900 from aus 1 solar

    • Not sure where u r but in Sydney I recently paid $4400 for 12 trina 250w honey panels + 3kw aurora inverter.

  52. south west of W.A they reckon the panels are better in low light and high temp than most others

  53. i signed up for 10 + inverter installed at $6700 he said conergy had cashback offer and full price it was $12000 worth

  54. Hi Finn,
    Just wondering would 200Wx20 panels (9 facing North, 11 facing East)Trina Honey panels work efficently with 4kw SMA inverter? I don’t have much roof space North facing and was told this system would work better with the smaller panels than if I was to get 250Wx16 panels (5 facing North and 11 facing East) Trina Honey panels with the SMA inverter because it measures a little too tight.

    • Finn Peacock says

      Hi Sandro,

      That is why we have CEC accredited designers! It’s all about the voltage/current going into the inverter. Ask them to show you the design documents that prove their claims. There is a simple piece of SMA design software they can use that will tell you which combination of panels and SMA inverter will work and which ones won’t.

  55. Fin – What would be the better panel to use. REC or Trina? (250w Panels)

    • Finn Peacock says

      Both really good – last time I checked Trina had a slightly better temperature coefficient so it it is hot where you live – probably Trina. But it is very marginal. I’d be happy with either.

  56. Julie Mason says

    Hi – Location Mount Gambier South Australia
    Received a quote from Clean Energy Systems for a 3.22Kw system 14 panels (230w) GermanSolar Premium Line and a 3.6Kw Aurora interver for $14,275.
    I am waiting for a quote from Combined Solar for a similar size system they use Blueline XT Panels (195w) and Blueline MI Inveters.
    Any information or suggestions on these would be greatly appreciated.

    • Finn Peacock says

      Aurora (made by Power-One) are excellent inverters – from the reviews on my site they seem to be as reliable as the “gold standard” SMA inverters:

      I’ve heard good things about German Solar (although I think the name is misleading personally as they are Chinese Made).

      I’m not familiar with the Blueline stuff – it seems to be very expensive for some reason.

      • Julie Mason says

        Just received another quote for Jinko poly crystalline 250w solar panels and a APS Microinverter,
        do you have any information on these?

        • Finn Peacock says

          I hear Jinko panels are fine. I;ve heard that there have been a lot of failures of APS microinverters in the field though.

          • Hi Finn

            Do you have any more current feedback on APS microinverters? I was just about to sign up on a deal when I came across this comment by you.

          • Finn Peacock says

            Hi Nick,

            Great Question! I’ve been investigating APS microinverters recently. Here’s the story.

            Around 2012 when they first appeared in Australia, they did have serious reliability problems. Installers were reporting failure rates between 5 and 15%.

            In fact an APS representative told me:

            “I have to admit that we had some bad batches of products around 2012, which brought lots of headaches to lots of installers, and for the last 3 years, we have been working very hard to learn from the mistake we made and now I am very proud to say that, now our micro inverters are very reliable.”

            And interestingly a couple of installers whose opinion I really trust, now tell me that they really rate APS micros.

            I asked APS what the failure rate has been recently and this is what they told me:

            “For the past 24 months, we have delivered 6,818 units, and as at today we have 53 unit returned as faulty.”

            Hope That Helps,


      • I to am in Mount Gambier I just signed up for a 10kw SMA Tri Power Inverter & 32 Trina Honey or Hanover panels for 11 grand 🙂

  57. Inggrid Heffernan says

    Hi Finn
    How do you rate Jingko panels compared to Q-cells?

  58. Hi Finn – Adelaide SA Have been quoted $7000 for a 5kw system with Samil Inverter and Csun 250w panels. Are they good products and have you heard of Energy Australia.
    thanks Natarsha

    • Finn Peacock says

      Samil are good budget inverters. But get a 10 year inverter warranty if possible as no matter what inverter you get – it is the most likely component to fail. CSun are a Tier 1 Chinese producer and make good quality panels at a very good price. I’d be happy with that system. If it were a car it would be a Hyundai (good value and reliable, decent performance).

  59. Thanks Finn, Also had another quote for 4.23kw Trina 235w panels and Fronius IG40 Inverter with 10 year warranty. This was quoted at the same price ($7000) as the 5kw Csun Panels 250w and Samil Inverter. What would be your suggestion and choice. Thanks very much for your help Natarsha Adelaide SA

    • Finn Peacock says

      I’d go Trina and Fronius!

      • Natarsha Cooke says

        HI Finn, will the 4.23kw system with 235w panels (Trina) be large enough for an average bill of 28kwh daily use in summer and 16kwh in winter. Compared to the 5kw system. Your advice has been invaluable. Natarsha Adelaide SA

        • Finn Peacock says

          You get about 4kWh per kW installed in Radelaide averaged over a year. So 20-24kWh per day in summer, 12-17kWh per day in winter. So if you get the current FiT of 26c per kWh (i.e. buy before 30 Sept 2013) then the 5 kW system should wipe out most of your bill in the first 3 years. After that the FiT ends so your bill reduction will reduce for these reasons:

          • Julie Mason says

            Thank you for your reply..We are also dealing with Solar Sunwerx but a different salesman who only offered Jinko panels with either APS micro inverters or Samil, 4KM system for $6902. I might have to make some more inquiries.

  60. Finn, we’re looking at a 5kw system in Brisbane. Choice b/w Rensola Virtus II 250 watts panels with a Fronius inverter (10 yr warranty) for $10,300, via Mark Group, or REC Panels with SMA Inverter $9000 approx. via RJ Solar of Brisbane. I am leaning towards REC/SMA for history/reputation, but an unsure of the performance of Renesola/Fronius. Any thoughts?

  61. MiketheBike

    Wow there is a lot of stuff here and really good info. I’ve been reading for days. Hope you can help.

    We are considering a 3KW solar unit in Melbourne. I have multiple quotes:
    250w Trina Honey Panels/Aurora inverter $4,900 Solar Power Group
    250w Seraphim panels/SMA Inverter $4,500 True Value
    290w LG Panels/Aurora Inverter $5,800 Glen Clark
    300w Seraphim with micro inverters $ 6,600 Metro Solar (your quote)

    Questions – is it worth paying this much premium for micro-inverters (this seems better technology but still relatively new in oz) and will I get a decent install if I use True Value? I appreciate all the gear here seems good quality from what I have read.

    • Finn Peacock says

      I like micro inverters:

      As long as they are good quality ones – I have solar bridge micros on my roof.

      Whether they are worth paying more for – the jury is out – expect about 7% more power – and much better monitoring so you know immediately if there is a fault or they need cleaning.

      I’ve never been a huge fan of True Value Solar. They used to be awful – they seem better these days – but I personally would not use them based on their history.

      Glen Clark is a great installer.

  62. Hi Finn,
    Your input is invaluable, thanks for taking time in answering our queries.
    Can you tell me anything about Energy SA in Adelaide? Quote for LG Mono X with Aurora inverter. How good are LG panels?

  63. Hey there finn,
    Have had several quotes on a solar system to be installed, one that is come in reasonable and would like your thoughts is from a local installer.
    Am to have a 8Kw system installed, using 2 inverters, both Sunnyboys and 32/250w lightway Solar panels. One 5Kw on House and the other 3Kw on shed.
    Have been quoted just over 16k for this, minus stc, will do for just ove 10k
    Would like to know ur thoughtd on equipment used and if in a good price range.

  64. Mark Lindsay Rutter says

    Hmmm….. lots to consider. I had a quote from Blueline today and was pretty impressed but based on what I’ve read above maybe I need to look around.

    Quote was for Blueline XT panels / 2.5 kw system so 8 panels 250 watts plus PVI-3.6-OUTD inverter, installation, council negotiation, training, etc. $10, 770 fully installed with a choice of 3 payment options. Is this a good deal and good products? Price is after $1580 gov. rebate.

    I have asked for 3 quotes from your website. Do I wait for these or can you recommend reputable companies / products for the Batemans Bay NSW district.
    Many thanks.

  65. We have narrowed our search for a 4.5Kw system in Melbourne down to 2 quotes :
    System 1 – Samil inverter, 18 x Ulica panels
    + points it is an established and well rated company, Ulica panels have TempCo of -0.403%/C
    – points Chinese inverter with 5 year warranty, cell efficiency 17+%, more expensive than system 2.

    System 2 – SolarMax S inverter, 18 x Hanover panels
    + points Swiss inverter with 10 year standard warranty, cell efficiency of 18+%, cheaper than system 1.
    – points less established and rated company, panel TempCo of -0.45%/C

    It’s tough balancing the positives and negatives when you are not familiar with the industry and the hardware and which factors are more important in the long run, and I can’t find many reviews of Ulica, Hanover or SolarMax so that does not make it any easier, but I am leaning towards system 2 for the inverter and the lower $$$ and would try to get a warranty on the installation based your blog posts about what to look out for.

    Does any of the hardware ring warning bells?

    Thank you Finn for running this site, it has been a great help.

  66. Corrado Stefani says

    We have an Effekta ES4200 solar system with 20 panels. The other night the invertor started to make a clicking noise and now the green light flashes with an Err 22 appearing on the screen. Since ASPIRE Solar is no longer in business we are wondering who to contact for help and advice!

  67. Teresa Culmsee says

    Hi Finn, great site. Very informative.

    I have the following 2 quotes:
    Solar Harness: 20 x Conergy PowerPlus 250P; Delta 2.5 x 2 inverter – $12984
    Infinite Energy: 22 x REC Solar 260W; Fronius Symo 5.0 Inverter; Sun Lock mounting system – $8720

    What are you opinions on the panels and inverters and the companies themselves?

    • Finn Admin says

      Both good companies and hardware. But Infinite’s offer looks like a really good deal. Great panels and inverter and Infinite’s install crew are first class.

  68. Andrew Winchester says

    Hi Finn,

    Got two of the three quotes from your service, plus some from other retailers – Accord, Halcol, WWOL, Modern, Origin etc etc BUT Solargain has come in under all of them at $3000. for a 2.5KW sytem with 1 x FRONIUS IG20-OUTD (10 year warranty!!)AND 10 x ReneSola 250W Virtus2 JC250M-24/BBV-2 (2.5kW ). Seems VERY good(tho I had to annoy them to finally give me a quote on the Sunshine Coast QLD.

    Don’t really understand all the gobly-gook re warranties(below) but assume it is standard AND I’ll query it more.

    What do you think of the above???


    9. WARRANTIES: 9.1 Warranties in respect of the System: We warrant that the Installer will install the System with due care and skill, according to industry standards. The System inverter and panels will come with the
    benefit of the Manufacturer’s Warranties. O ur goods come with guarantees that cannot be excluded under the A ustralian C onsumer Law. You are entitled to a replacement or refund for a major failure and for compensation
    for any other reasonably foreseeable loss or damage. You are also entitled to have the goods repaired or replaced if the goods fail to be of acceptable quality and the failure does not amount to a major failure. If you wish to
    make a claim you may contact us by telephoning 1300 739 355 or writing to us at SO LA RGA IN PV PTY LTD, PO BO X 1334, MIDLA ND DC , WA 6936. O ur warranties are to the extent permitted by law limited by the
    matters in clauses 9.2 to 9.8. 9.2 Variable performance of the System: Yield estimates are indicative only and are based on test conditions. Test conditions may not be achieved in an operating environment. Yield may
    depend on a number of variable factors including inclination of the place of installation, shade, surrounding structures, trees and plants, irradiation and weather conditions. 9.3 Power Disruption: You acknowledge that
    power generation from the System ceases during power disruptions, or in the event that the voltage or frequency of the Electricity Grid falls outside the initiation parameters specific to the inverter and also governed by
    the current A S4077 A ustralian Standard, and will restart only when the Electricity Grid becomes available, and is again within the aforementioned parameters. We will not be held responsible for any potential loss of
    production caused by the Electricity Grid. 9.4 Radio & Television Interference: Radio and television interference may be caused as a result of installing a PV system particularly in marginal signal areas and with A M radio
    signals. We recommend that you use a digital signal radio and digital signal television devices when operating a PV system on your premises. 9.5 Exclusions from warranties: A ll warranties we provide in this agreement in
    respect of the System and its installation are subject to the warranty terms and conditions and the warranty procedures of the manufacturer of the System, to the extent permitted by law our Warranties do not apply if the
    defect is a result of any of the following: (a) failure to use the System in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions or the owner’s manual; (b) use of the System in a manner not reasonably contemplated, or contrary
    to law; (c) modification of the System by anyone other than us; (d) subjecting the System to an unusual or not-recommended physical environment or electrical stress; (e) moving the System, whether temporarily or
    permanently; (f) damage caused by anyone other than us; (g) the effects of weather or other natural events; (h) surges; (i) the condition of the Property or electrical wiring or systems; or (j) changes in law.

    • Finn Peacock says

      Hi Andrew,

      It certainlt seems like a good price for Fronius and Renesola.

      THis blog post explains warranties in plain English:

      Hope That Helps,


      • Andrew W says

        Hi Finn,

        You are too right about it being a solar minefield out there with companies beating a path to ones door(or phone) with quotes that undercut each other(and they speak very lowly of each other…no love lost among solar companies).

        We ‘signed up’ with Solargain at $2990. for a 2.5KW sytem with 1 x FRONIUS IG20-OUTD (10 year warranty!!)AND 10 x ReneSola 250W Virtus2 JC250M-24/BBV-2 (2.5kW ). But, have requested a ‘postpone-ment’ of the install – have not paid anything as yet so I assume I’m safe there per a cooling off period etc etc?? As I feel a bit pressured and not confident that I have done enough research.

        BUT, then Euro Solar is offering a 1.5 system with 3.3 inverter and 6 panels for $1949. AND/OR a 3kw system with a 5kw inverter and 12 panels for $3200.!!!

        How does a person choose???

        I am assuming that, in the case of a 3kw system and a 5kw inverter, it means that there is room for expansion up to 5kw??? Is that a plus??

        Your thoughts.

        Andrew W

        • Finn Peacock says

          Knowing the Tier 3 panels that Eurosolar have been selling, I would not recommend them. Make sure you do your research on their hardware and you may want to Google “Eurosolar ACCC”.

          Fronius and Renesola are both good, Tier 1 brands.

          Regarding oversized inverters:

          1) If you don’t actually have room on your roof for enough extra panels to match the inverter in the future, then a larger inverter is a complete waste of time, money and space.

          2) An oversized (improperly sized) inverter may be less efficient, than a properly sized one, depending on the efficiency curve:

          3) Inverter prices are dropping all the time. By purchasing a larger one NOW you might actually be spending MORE money than if you just wait until the prices drop.

          4) If you do decide to buy extra panels in the future, you’ll have to get ones that are either identical or with very similar specifications. And if you don’t pay your original installer to do it, you’ll probably void your warranty on the existing system. So your upgrade will be a very limited choice of (probably very outdated and overpriced) panels and a single installer, which means you will probably pay through the nose compared with just getting the best “whole system” deal on the market in 3 or 5 or 10 years time.

          If you want an easily expandable system, microinverters are worth considering:

          • Andrew W says

            Hi Finn,

            Thx again for a prompt reply. I, among most others, am bewildered by all the jargon and all the promos and different equipment and must rely on my own research(and yours, who’s hopefully I can trust – tho I know you have your detractors as well).

            I have ‘postponed’ the original install of the Fronious and Rena system as I was feeling a bit pressured by other promos, who called me repeatedly(eg green and gold and Euro solar). I suspect that rather than chase the cheapest system it is best to do as much research as possbile for the most suitable system for our property/use.

            The Fronious system is a 2.5 kw inverter with 10 panels – I assume that it is not expandable AND it is unlikely we could/should do that anyway in the future(I understand that it costs $200. plus per panel later on and as you say it may void warranties etc PLUS, I would really like to do this only ONCE!).

            So I take your point that the Fronious and Rena combo is probably a good choice(and Euro Solar do seem like a flighty bunch…).

            My latest(and hopefully last) questions:

            Seeing that we appear to be a VERY low usage household(so far).

            1. I want to know how much power, per kw, I am using per 24 hour period. Is this simply a matter of reading my meter? e.g. if the meter reads 06493.9 at one point and reads 06494.3 after 24 hours – does this mean we have used approx 1 to 1.5 kw of electricity in that period(or is it 1 to 1.5 kw per hour???). By the way, the reading for our offpeak meter was almost the same!


            2. As per the above sample reading what would our electricity cost for thei period, on the tariff 11 daily tariff of say 30 cents per kw(which I ‘think’ is about right?

            Based on the above reading, the usage appears to be about maximum of 3-4 kw a day – even tops at 5kw??. This makes me think that the 2.5 kw system will be well and truly big enough…even for an expanded family???

            Hopefully this is last query – pre-install – so I can just accept it and move on…to other projects around the house.


            Andrew W

          • Andrew W says

            Sorry Finn, thougt I was thru with questions but….

            Some companies have suggested a timer/switch for my electric storage hot water – ranging in price from $100 to $300.! – (which I may change to solar depending, as my current one is quite new) – so that I can have it switched off at night and just heat off my solar in the day, as we use VERY little hot water and it seems crazy to keep it on 24/7!

            Some other companies say, because of the off-peak cycles of 18 hours etc etc – which I DO NOT understand – that it would make no difference!

            Who is right??

            Andrew W

  69. Hi Finn, hope you can help. We had 20 Hanover Solar panels HS250M 250W Monocrystalline and a Growatt 5000MTL Inverter installed. Could you tell me if these are ok or not, please?
    Had a little trouble with the Growatt inverter after 12mths so phoned company that sold them to us & guess what their phones are no longer connected but I did find the Sydney supplier who sent us out a new inverter but we had to find our own solar electrician to install it. He did say they were a good brand & that the old one was ok just didn’t get set up properly in the beginning. So could you help & tell me if ok or am I going to have to search now for Honover suppliers just in case. The company that sold this to us is ‘Solar Island Energy” just to warn others out there.
    Hope to hear from you soon…


  70. Ji Dee Yang says

    Hi Finn

    I’m at the ‘obtaining quotes’ stage of looking for a solar electricity system. I have 2 quotes to date that vary considerably:
    1. 2kw Samil inverter + 8 x 250W Lightway panels for $3,860, &
    2. 4kw (?) inverter + 14 x 250W Seraphim panels for $6,740 (this quote said that a 3.5kw inverter was all we would need but the Company did not provide that capacity product)

    There are only 2 of us in the house & our electricity account averages between $300 & $330 a quarter

    I would appreciate your thoughts, please


  71. Sandeep Sajwan says

    Hi Finn,

    I need your assistance please, here is my house & energy consumptions specs:
    a) Single Story
    b) Noth Facing Roof
    c) Average Daily Usage: 3.35 kwh

    For a 3Kw syatem from TVS (True Value Solar), I have recieved following quotes:
    i) $4049 – includes SMA & Renesolar 250 panels
    ii) $3029 – includes GroWatt & Renesolar 250 panels

    What offer should I choose? Do you think TVS has now improved their services?

    Appreciate your help.



  72. Sandeep Sajwan says

    Thanks for your quality and prompt reply. Yes, my daily average usage is 3.35 kWh as per recent Origin bill.

  73. pete chia says

    Hi Finn

    Appreciate your comments

    Hi Peter,

    As discussed here’s some information about the products supplied with the $7990 9 kW solar system.

    The 9 kW advertised system uses JFY good quality Chinese made inverters. They have a 5 year warranty.

    The solar panels are from Munsterland. They have a 25 year warranty (see attached information). There is no actual official (independent) definition of the ‘Tiers’ of panels however large volumes of panels and being around 5 years or more seem to be a couple of accepted criteria for an informal classification as Tier 1.

    We have installed tens of thousands of Munsterland panels around Australia and we buy them in large quantities which significantly reduces the cost, and we pass on the savings to you.

    Note that we can supply other components such as SMA inverters (world’s best) and many different panels however the cost will be higher. Just let me know if you are interested in other components.

    If you would like any further information don’t hesitate to ask. I would be happy to meet you and answer all your questions.

    Kind regards,
    Geordie Haig

    Green Engineering SA

    • Finn Peacock says


      There is no way that Munsterland panels are Tier 1 based on any widely accepted methodology for ranking solar manufacturers that I’ve ever seen.

      “Being around for a few years and large volumes” is not a Tier ranking methodology!

      I’ll write a blog post shortly explaining exactly why I (and everyone else I know) class Munsterland as Tier 3.


  74. michelleA says

    Hi Finn looked at a place that offers REne Sola Systems,Q cells andSunpower systems.all with Fronius inverter. we have 5-7 people here, which one would you recommend.or is it just apples and apples.the guy still needs to visit to work out wattage ect.thanx

    • Finn Peacock says

      Sunpower are fantastic and have the best warranties of any imported panels. A proper 25 year manufacturer’s warranty. This blog post explains why a 25 year manufacturer’s warranty is much more valuable than a standard 25 year performance warranty:

      Unfortunately Sunpower are also bloody expensive – so your call if you want to spend the extra.

      Renesola and Q-Cells are both good panels. Q-cells are a bit better in my opinion, but I expect you can get the Renesola’s a fair bit cheaper than the Q-cells.

      Fronius are excellent inverters. One of the best.

  75. grant zhu says

    Hi Pinn, I got two quotations (5kw) for making a choice: one is Sungrow inverter and Lightway panel (250w, poly) with a total of about $7000 with 10 years warranty for each items, plus 10 years installation warranty offered by Gem Energy Australia. I am waiting for their T&C now.

    The other (Solar Link) is SMA inverter and LDK panel (200w for each, mono) with a total of $6000. The warranty is that 10 year solar panel replacement warranty plus free of labour, and 5-year inverter warranty. But the T&C is not very pleasant, and Solar Link agrees to revise the related clauses based on my suggestions if I am happy to proceed to purchasing process.

    My worries are that LDK have no office in Australia and I am not sure how the related warranty will work in case Solar Link will not exist in next 10 year. Also, I heard that LDK had financial problem a few years ago. It is not clear who is going to repair the roof that might leak due to the installation.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated for a making a choice. Many thanks Grant

    • Finn Peacock says

      The classifications that I use rank LDK as Tier 1 globally, Tier 2 in Australia (due to the lack of Aussie Office), and Lightway as Tier 2 globally and Tier 3 in Australia, due to low market share.

      Yes – LDK recently were voted as bankable by only 13% of respondents in a Bloomberg New Energy Survey. But then Lightway were not on the survey at all because they are not classed as Tier 1 by Bloomberg.

      If it was me who had to choose the hardware I’d probably go for the better inverter and Tier 1 panel (the SMA and LDK option). Tier 1 panels are unlikely to fail in the next 20 years, and inverters are the most likely component to fail, with SMA being about as reliable as they come.

  76. Finn

    Why can’t I install a south facing solar AC panels? I am in Adelaide


    • Finn Peacock says

      Hi Peter,

      You Can!

      Just be aware of how much power you will sacrifice with the south facing panels. If your roof slope is 30 degrees from horizontal, then you’ll lose 36% of your power compared to North facing. The higher the roof angle the more you’ll lose, and vice versa.

      Hope That Helps,


  77. Hi Finn
    Great work you are doing here. Your info is a big help in this minefield.
    What are your thoughts on the sungrid SG250P6HP panels being offered by bio solar ? A 4kw system with a Aurora inverter and the sungrid panels has been quoted to me. The quote is not the cheapest by the looks of all the info on here but they tell me I’m getting the bees knees! 🙂
    What teir do you fit them into? Can’t seem to find many comments on these panels.
    Thanks in advance for yours assistance.

    • Finn Peacock says

      Hi Heath,

      I haven’t had any experience with Biosolar. Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that they are rather expensive.

      Aurora are good, mid-range inverters.

      My list has Sungrid as Tier 3.

      Hope That Helps,


  78. Eddie Kwan says

    Hi Finn,

    I am in Adelaide and have quotations of
    A) 5.0kw Renesola panel/Fronius inverter @$9499 and 5.0kw Renosola panel/Solarmax inverter
    @$8999 from Mark Group.

    B) 5.0kw Solahart panel/SMA inverter @$9725 and 5.0kw C-Sun panel/Power One inverter @$7990 from Adelaide Solar Systems.

    C)5.0kw Renesola panel/SMA inverter @$7400 and 5.0kw Renesola panel/Power One inverter
    @ 6900 from Living Energy.

    I heard that Power One inverter is very noisy, is it true?

    How do you rate the above combinations? Please advise which option I should take. Many thanks for your kind assistance.

    • Finn Peacock says

      Re: The panels; Renesola are good Chinese Tier 1 panels. I think the Solahart panels are rebranded Hanwha SolarOne – good Korean Tier 1 panels. C-Sun are one of the better Tier 2 panels. Good value – and I’ve had good feedback about them for many years from installers.

      Re: The inverters. SMA are German made, excellent inverters (hence the price premium). I’ve no direct experience of Solarmax as they are relatively new to Australia, but I’ve only heard good things about them. The power-ones are very good. I’ve never known them to be particularly noisy. But both Adelaide Solar Systems and Living Energy would be more than happy to let you hear one in operation, I’m sure!

      I know all 3 companies pretty well. They all do top rate installs and are really good to deal with,

      Hope That Helps,


  79. Hi Finn
    We have 2 quotes here for a 5kw system.
    NQ Solar have quoted $7600 after the rebate (a special on at the moment, usually around $8200), ET Module 250w poly panels and Aurora inverter. Their installation cost alone is $3488 which I thought was excessive.

    Infinity Solar have quoted $6816 after the rebate, no details on the cost of each component, which I have now asked for. They use CSUN poly panels and 4.6kw Solarmax inverter.

    There seems to be a big price difference between the two, would there be a big difference between the inverters?
    Thanks for any advice you could provide,

  80. hi finn who in Adelaide should I get my solar system from thanks is there any to stay away from thanks

  81. Beettu Thomas says

    I have an offer for 5Kw with SMA inverter and 20x 250 APS panels for $5500. I never hear about this panels. How is this panels .


    • Finn Peacock says

      My guess is that this is from Eurosolar and the APS panels are their “homebrand panels”?

      If that is the case, the inverter is great but those are not panels that I would have on my roof.

    • Hi Cameron

      Eurosolar were on my case for a full day and will promise anything as long as you sign on the day. They phoned 8 times that day and sent the info through incl the contract which states you pay the full amount before you see anything and so have no come back after you paid. Also as I didn’t sign on the day, they did not ring back again, very fishy. Maybe Finn can tell us what the normal procedure is for payment in general terms. I have tried to get feed back on Eurosolar and Dollarsolar but there is not much out there.
      Good luck.

  82. I would be surprised if south facing panels get any sun at all! More like less than 10% power generation compared to northfacing! It would not be economically viable to install PV on anything other than a NE, N or NW facing roof slope.

  83. Steven Lowe says

    Hi Finn. Would appreciate your comments. Been quoted $7090 to install a 6kw system consisting of 24 ReneSola 250 watt Virus 11 Multicrystalline Panels and a 5kw Solis MTL or ReneSola RePlus 5 kw inverter. What do you think of the goods and the price. Appreciate the guidance.

    • Finn Peacock says

      The Renesola panels are good. I’ve no experience with the Solis inverter, or the Renesola one. It seems like a good price for a well installed system assuming the inverters are good. Get a 10 year warranty on the inverters!

  84. Hi Finn
    I have just had installed by Solarlink a 5.00kWp with a samil5000TL inverter. I have 20 panels in total costing $6,490.00. Does this sound reasonable. I live on the Atherton Tablelands Qld.

  85. Mark Bransdon says

    Hi Finn,
    Love what your got going here, its really useful for ppl like me who have no idea what system to install, so double thumbs up. My last 2 power bills have come in at over $2700 (combine) on top of that add $1200 for gas ($4100 in total…we are currently renting in Vic). We have just brought a house in the Shellharbour region (Wollongong) and are going to install a solar systems once we move in (December, just before xmas). I have spoken to many, and I mean many solar companies; as you can imagine they have tried to sell me a lot of BS in regards to the size of system I need, the type of panel,inverter etc….I been offered 2(what I think a reasonable deals) from 2 large organisations. The first is a 4kW system with Trina panels and a Delta inverter for $6090 and the 2nd is a 4kW system with Jinko panels and a Samil inverter for $5599…..with your extensive knowledge, what do you think is the better option? Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

  86. Kesavan babu says

    Hi Finn, Good day to you. I got an quote for 2.5kw delta inverter and 12×250 GY polypanels installed for $3500. can you pls tell me is worth of buy

  87. Danica Vezmar Banksia Grove 6031 says

    Hi Finn
    What You know about Blue Sun solar modules and JFY inverter. I got quote from SKY SOLAR Perth; 5kw system Blue sun panels 5kwJFY inverter $4950.They sad I do not need expend inverter (if I need more panels late )that is better for $ 500 more install 6 kw system and 5kw inverter. Blue Sun Group have the office in Australia one in the Morley Perth WA

    • Finn Peacock says

      Hi Danica,

      JFYs are pretty much the cheapest inverter on the market. Many installers have told me that they are a lot better than they used to be, and have very good warranty service in Aus these days, but… I’d personally recommend paying a bit more for a longer standing brand with a good reputation for reliability.

      I’ve seen the Blue Sun name around a lot recently. According to my list they are Tier 3 panels. I always recommend Tier 1 panels if you are not sure about what to go with:

      Hope That Helps,


  88. Hi Finn
    Just wondering what your thoughts are on CSUN panels, I live in a very high salt area and need to decide to go with either CSUN or Canadian panels.

    • Finn Peacock says

      CSUN are good budget Tier 2 panels by my reckoning.

      Canadian are good Tier 1 panels – probably a bit more expensive.

      Both should be fine. My choice would be Canadian if price was equal.

  89. Robert Jenkins says

    Hi I am trying to find out information about Black Opal SJ 250 P6P Solar panel by Solar Juice I cant seem to find anything about these panels I live in Darwin and quite a few installers are quoting on these > Would I be better off using Q Cell panels Q PRO – G3 255 they are dearer and are made in Poland and not Germany as I first thought

    • Finn Peacock says

      Hi Robert,

      I’ve heard that Black Opals are very good panels. I believe they are rebranded JA solar panels.

      Q-Cells are fantastic too.

      Hope That Helps,


      • Robert Jenkins says

        Thank’s Finn

        Would it be worth paying an extra $2000.00 for the Q Cell Panels they have 12 years warranty compared to 10 years is Europe made any better than Chinese if the specs are almost the same


  90. Graeme Corps says

    Hi Finn,

    Hoping you can help. I’ve been given two quotes. East facing shed installation.

    First from Solargain 5kw Fronius IG60HV inverter 22 Renesola JC250-24/Bd panels for $9390.
    Second from Solar Harness 5kw Conergy IPG5S inverter with 16 Conergy PH 250P panels for $12694.
    I was told the conergy gear were Superior (German Made). I just want to know if I paying extra for the same quality or weather its worth spending the extra money on the Conergy gear. Thanks in advance

    • Finn Peacock says

      Both those systems use good quality gear and both companies are good guys.

      But the SolarGain system is 22x250W panels which is 5.5kW and the Conergy system with 16x250W panels is 4kW of panels.

      You’ll get a lot more power from the 22 panels, obviously, and Fronius inverters are as good as any, in my opinion.

      Renesola are a good Tier 1 Chinese manufacturer. I’d be happy with them on my roof.

      Hope That Helps,


  91. jane jackson says

    Hi Finn

    Have you heard of a gadget called Solarmiser?

    If you google it you can see the video.

    It was invented in the uk by a guy who got sick of sending his unused solar back to the grid.

    Instead, it sends any unused solar power to be used by the hot water heater.

    Is it possible to install and use it in aus?


    • Finn Peacock says

      Hi Jane,

      I’ve never heard of it before. But looking at how it works – I think the inventor may be on to something! It is very elegant and cheap!

      Unfortunately, to use it legally in Australia it would need to get a bunch of approvals, which are fairly expensive. I shall contact the inventor and see if he has plans to do this. I may even help him do it!

      I’ll let you know how I get on.


  92. Hi Finn,
    Please comment on Infisolar panels and Growatt dual tracking inverter for my 3phase existing set up at home. The quote is $6145 for 4 kW system fully installed. Also on suntwin inverter and Korean brand panel for which I have quote for $4390 for 4kw system fully installed.
    Thank you

  93. keyboredwarrior says

    G’day Finn,

    Received this offer from Origin in my email today:

    Origin5000 5.0kW solar electricity system $6,465

    Origin installs 20 x 250 watt Trina solar panels and includes 1 x Delta Solivia 5.0 inverter (AC Rating Nominal Output 4.98kW).

    I have a very large north/south tile roof, with no shade, in Brisbane. Normal electricity bill is around $1000-$1100 per quarter

    Whaddya Reckon??

  94. John Hammond says

    Hi Finn,

    I should start by saying I put in my request for 3 quotes on 30 December and had all 3 by close of business on 31 December. Now that’s efficient!

    I received a quote from SAE Group for $7790 for 24 x 250w SERAPHIM panels and an SMA 5000 TL Inverter. It was a couple of hundred dollars cheaper than the next quote and a couple of thousand dollars cheaper than the third quote.

    There seems no doubt the SMA is a quality product, so I wont ask about that. As for the SERAPHIM panels, there is a lot of extremely positive comment about them and very little negative comment. Having said that, they don’t appear to have been around all that long. Is there anything I should know about them that might affect my decision.

    SAE seems like a very good organisation (they must be, they say so themselves on their website!) and seem to have very good ratings from nearly everyone. I am rather relying on their endorsement of Seraphim – I hope this is justified.

    Probably not relevant, but I am in Brisbane and have a North facing pitched roof that will accomodate the panels in 2 rows of 12 each. my house is 2 storey so there should be no shade issues. SAE have also said that they can put the inverter in the garage (it will back onto the meter box which is on the exterior of the garage wall) – is this a good idea?).

  95. Andrew Davidson says

    Hi Finn,

    It feels like I have been researching solar for 2 weeks straight and am still coming up with surprises. I was ready to sign a deal with solargain for a 4kw system consisting of Fronius IG60HV inverter (which I know from reading is a good inverter) and 16 x renesola 250w virtus 2 JC250M-24/BBV-2 panels which after reading a lot of comments I thought were good panels. However, when I looked up the performance ratio of this model they only reach 89.68% ,unless this is the old model on your website, because it doesn’t have a 2 next to it in the panel comparison?

    Origin gave me a similar quote for a 4kw system instead with delta solivia 5 inverter and 16 x Trina tsmpco5A honey panels which have a performance ratio of 91.64%. I really wanted to go with solargain because they don’t use subcontractors but am now leaning towards the origin deal because I believe I am getting a better system for the same price. I was interested to know if you think the performance ratio of the renesola panels being below 90% is a deal breaker and if I should just go with origin despite the use of subcontractors? Thanks for your help.

  96. Paul Josephs says

    Hi Finn,

    I have been looking into Solar Power for a while now.

    I just signed up for True Value solar but it sounds like you dont rate them highly. I just wanted your thoughts on what I agreed to (though they have a 10 day cooling off period so can stop)
    5kw Omnik inverter
    14 x 250w panels Jinko or Trina panels
    They are also throwing in a Soniq 42″ TV. Not that we need a TV but getting one in the bedroom wont be a bad idea.

    Otherwise I have also been quoted from Solar-E
    5KW Afore inverter
    14 x 250w panels. Not sure on brand but advised they were Tier 1.

    My parrents just went with Solar-E a few months ago and were happy with their 5kw Afore inverter with 3kw of panels.

    Whats your thoughts on the Omnik vs Afore inverter? True Value Solar advised Omnik are are German design but made in China. Both of these quotes have the wireless module for the inverter which my parents have in the Afore and it looks great.

    Another company called A Womans Spark have quoted
    3kw Zeus inverter
    14 x 250w Zeus panels for $3600 or

    3kw Delta inverter
    with 12 x 250w Jinko/Tigo panels for $3800 or $4200 for an extra 2 panels.

    I didnt want to go over $4k but have heard Delta are great.

    Not sure if Zeus have a wifi module for monitoring. Apparently the Delta does or maybe the Tigo panels have individual monitoring? It wasn’t clear.

    Your reviews and comments are great. Keep up the fantastic work.


    • Finn Peacock says


      Jinko and Trina are decent Tier 1 panels. I’m not familiar with Omnik inverters. “German Engineered” means nothing these days in my opinion as it is so overused by all and sundry whether they really have a team of German Engineers or not.

      I’d go for a well known inverter brand, Tier 1 panels and a company that has a good track record in quality installs. Delta are good. The Tigos have panel level monitoring/optimisation so should give about 8% more power on an unshaded roof.

      Hope That Helps,


  97. Hi Finn
    Could you please advise me on a Solar Juice Opal 255W solar panel and Zever Solar TLC5000 3-Phase Inverter that I have been quoted on by Captain Green Solar with 20 panels 5kw system $4890.00 installed as this is new for me and before I outlay my money I need some real advice.


    • Finn Peacock says

      I’ve heard good things about the Solar Juice Black Opal panels. I think you’ll be fine with them. I think they are rebadged JA Solar panels (who are a good Tier 1 manufacturer). The Zeversolar inverters are one of the better Chinese inverters. Not as good as an SMA, but a lot cheaper and actually owned by SMA these days – so a strong support network in Australia.

  98. Gidday Finn, must support the above comments and acknowlege the value in your advice and opinions posted.

    Can you please comment on Schneider and selectronic inverters and solar controllers, BSG 250P & Hahnwa solar panels.
    Can you also advise on sonnenschein batteries as this is the most expensive component. I am looking at a full stand alone solar system and going by the quotes i have recieved so far it is an expensive investment.
    What other advice might you offer.

    • Finn Peacock says

      Hi Andrew,

      Schneider and Selectronic inverters – both excellent.

      Hanwha are good, Tier 1 panels.

      BSG (Blue Sun Group) would not be my choice personally.

      I’m not an expert on battery technology – but I have heard sonnenschein is a good brand. (I’ll be researching this later this year!)

      If you get a grid connect system now you can always add batteries later with AC coupling. Batteries should reduce in price a lot over the next 2 years.

      Hope That Helps,


  99. Hi Finn,
    I’ve been trying to research & get quotes for solar.
    My bill is roughly $350 a quarter.
    i got quote from Captain green for system & they say i need 3 phase due to aircon.For a 5kw system it is $4999.this was zever inverter & 20 opal solarl juice panels.5 yr warrenty on inverter
    After reading your site I asked for quote with SMA inverter & the guy said they can do but will cost extra $500 after discount but they say warranty still only 5 yrs.
    Can you help me please as I am on my own & its lot of money for me.
    Thanks heaps so love your site

    • Finn Peacock says

      Hi Pauline,

      Personally, I think it is worth an extra $500 for an SMA inverter. It is more likely to last longer. SMA definitely offer 10 year warranties – although you may have to pay extra for it.


      • Thanks for your help and advice for the best way to get a good deal with solar.After reading your site I felt enabled to ask the questions etc before accepting quote.
        I’ve been offered a 4kw SMA & 16 Opal juice panels 250w.
        They are also giving me a 5kw inverter for price of 4kw.
        The quote is $4190.00.
        Do you think this is good deal.
        many thanks I’ve never researched so much ever, your site made it easy

        • Finn Peacock says

          SMA are great inverters. Solar Juice Black Opal panels are meant to be very good. (I think they’re made by JA solar).

          That is a very good price for 4kW. Almost too cheap for that hardware? What is the company?

  100. Hi Finn,

    I’ve been quoted $10,999 (after Government Rebate of $4,300) on a 6kW (24x ReneSola Panels 250) System with a Growatt Inverter and wanted to find out whether this is a good deal?

    I’ve previously been told that I should look at getting European (German) Panels/Inverter due to quality issues with their Asian counterparts? Is this true?

    I’d be grateful for your feedback before moving forward with our decision to proceed?

    • $6,700 is a good price for a good 6kW system. The panels are excellent.

      HEre is my take on German panels:

      The Growatt inverters are one of the better budget inverters. But they are a budget option. They have good support in Oz – so you should have no issues if it fails in the warranty period. If you want a inverter that is much more likely to last way past the warranty period consider a few hundred dollars more for a SMA, Fronius or ABB (Power-one) inverter.

      But get a 10 year inverter warranty as no matter what inverter you get – it is the most likely component to fail.

  101. Hi Finn,

    Had a salesperson here today from Sunsource Group talking about a 6kw system.
    Inverter Brand – Sungrow with 10 year warranty.
    Panel Brand – CSun Polycrystaline IP67 250-60P x 24 panels with 25 year warranty.

    Sunsource say their price is for the finished installed product, no hidden costs. Quoted price is $8,900 which includes 24 tilt frames.

    I am getting another two quotes and want to know if there is any more information I am missing and what questions, if any, I need to ask.

    I would appreciate your comments.

    I would appreciate your comments

  102. jesse mcfadyen says

    Energy Matters
    4.94kW Trina solar panels, SMA 5.0kW Inverter
    Performance range: 19 x Trina solar panels 260 W- No.1 choice of solar panel in Australia
    SMA SB5000TL German-made inverter
    SunLock Australian made mounting system


    5kw 20 x Jinko Poly Panels (LG)
    SMA Inverter incl inspection
    tilt system


    Background on the house, flat roof, virtually no shading. Single story

    Good on ya.

    • jesse mcfadyen says

      To revise that last one..

      2 systems were quoted, one Jinko for $7.1k and an LG one for $7.5k, Im leaning towards the LG System to be honest, pretty low Temp Cooef. of %0.43

      18 x 275W Mono

      • in addition to the revision.

        Ive had another quote as seen below.

        Euro Solar
        Package 5 kw
        · 20 x 250W PV APS Premium Quality Panels
        · 1 x 5.0 kw SMA German Inverter
        · Wiring and Mounting Kit
        · Installation by CEC-Accredited Electrician
        · Tilt Frames

        TOTAL COST PRICE $6,691 including GST

        the panels quality is not known (PV APS), I cant seem to find much on them based on the quote, reading above queries in this blog, it seems Jinko Panels are pretty well respected?

        • Finn Peacock says

          APS are Tier 3 panels. They would not be my choice personally. I always recommend Tier 1 panels. Jinko are Tier 1.

  103. Hello Finn

    Thanks for a great blog.
    Been quoted for an off grid 4KW system,’including
    Narada REX-600 storage batteries 5KW 40% DOD
    250W Risena PV solar panels
    4KW Schneider inverter.
    Fully installed in SE Qld.

    Any comments on components and price greatly appreciated.

    • Finn Peacock says

      It seems very small. With 4kWh of storage and 40%DOD you are getting less than 2kWh of storage. Which is almost nothing in the scheme of things.

      What are you hoping to power with this?

      • The system quoted is as follows….
        Are the compenents adequate and price appropriate?
        4kw risen panels, Schneider 4.0kw output inverter and 5kwh at 40%DOD batteries

        16 x 250 w Risen panels

        1 x Schneider SW4024 inverter charger

        1 x Schneider XW80600 Charge controller

        1 x xw SCP control panel

        12 x Narada 2v 600Ah batteries(24v system) (5kwh @ 40%DOD or 14.4kwh at 100%DOD)

  104. Jane Pinzone says

    Hi Finn,
    have been approached by Simax with an offer to connect to solar just doing some research, can you offer me some advice on this company?

  105. Hi
    Looking at the solargain ad:

    Solargain Summer Promo
    5kW PV system

    with Enphase micro-inverters

    with FREE upgrade* to European 255W QCELLS panels plus BONUS envoy


    Its got 12 X 255W panels.

    The parts i have researched all say good things like the panels are a tier 1 company and the inverter is tier 1 and supply lots of other companies with inverters as well.

    Is this a good deal?


  106. Jignesh Patel says

    Hello Finn

    Just Kind Request for your suggestion and recommendation.
    Been quoted for 3.12KW system from Enviren Enterprise which include following:

    SMA 5000 inverter.
    Tier 1 Trina Hony 260w solar panels
    Fully installed in Melbourne, VIC

    Any comments on components and price greatly appreciated.

  107. scott grant says

    G’day Finn, Looking at GEM energy Australia install a 5kw unit using Phono Solar diamond 235-265 with an Aurora PVI-5000-TL-OUTD inverter. Phono are tier 1 and a major manufacturer (in partnership with Sumec), their specs for this looks decent and I really haven’t turned up anything negative at this stage for both GEM and Phono, the Aurora looks decent as well But I am an amateur on this these matters and would be interested in your thoughts,

    • Finn Peacock says

      Phono are good panels. Aurora is a good inverter (one of the best). GEM seem like good guys. I think you should go well!

  108. Hi Finn,

    I have received 2 quotes in Melbourne:
    – from Solargain: 20x260W Q Cells with 20xM215 Enphase Micro-Inverter ($9,790 after rebated)
    – from Metro Solar: 16x310W JA Solar with 16xM250 Enphase Micro-Inverter ($8,650 after rebated)

    Could you please advise whether they are good prices comparing with current market price and which option should I go with?



    • Finn Peacock says

      Good 5kW DC systems (without microinverters) start at around $6,500 at the moment. Microinverters generally add about 35% to the outlay.

      They are both good panel brands – although Q-Cells would be my choice – all else being equal.

  109. Hi Finn,

    My head is swimming with Solar info and I now find myself quite confused.

    The quote I am leaning towards is from SAE Group. Are they any good ? We are in Brisbane. We have been quoted for a 6kw System Inverter Suntwins 5000 Panels are Risen RSM60-6-250P Polycrystalline Module 60×6 apparently they are Tier 1 24 of them for an out of pocket cost of $6045 or if we upgrade to an SMA they offer the Risen / SMA Sunny Boy 6KW system @ $6,895 Cash however they are saying that the SMA Sunny boy only has a 5yr warranty ….. what are your thoughts please ? Also how do we know if we need a 5kw system or a 6kw system. We have a large home, on a property and have a house pump, pool pump and a bore pump and soon to have Air con in the bedrooms. Many Thanks Tammy

  110. Hi Finn

    I am having trouble getting credible quotes for a 6kw standalone system. The quotes lack detail and there has been unto $20,000 difference between quotes. Or they don’t even bother to send you a quote. So far the most useful company started at $49,990 for a 9kw, down to $42,999 for a 7.5Kw and now $39,900 for a 6kw. The only details I’m getting are these: * 6.w Kw array/64.8kW battery bank/15kwh average daily usage * 3 x 48V 450AH tubular Gel Battery Bank. * 1 x IPS 4000WM Prewired Triple system Board. * Metal battery box to suit banks * CSUN 250 Watt poly panels * Total $39900 But there is no actual detail, no breakdown of costs and I’ve asked and asked. The company is Halcol energy.

  111. Mick Ouellette says

    Hi Finn:

    Great site . Keep up the good work.

    I have received 4 quotes in Melbourne for 3KW systems.
    As you can see they are all very similiar since I specified the inverter brand. 🙂

    10 x JA Solar JAP6-72-310W panels (Polycrystalline) with
    10 x Enphase Micro Inverter 250 – Metro
    12 x ReneSola 250W Virtus II JC 250M-24/BBV-2 panels (Multicrystalline) with 12 x Enphase Micro Inverter 215 – Solargain
    12x Lightway 250W P1650x990 panels (Polycrystalline) with
    12 x Enphase Micro Inverter 215 – Solar Freedom
    12x Canadian Qtec 250W P1650x990 panels (Polycrystalline) with
    12 x Enphase Micro Inverter 215 – SolarMyHome

    Pricewise they are are all in the same ballpark (under $6k) alhough not sure if the monitoring software is included in all the quotes. Warrantees vary so it really comes down to the panels. By doing my research it would seem that someone has issues with all the above! Lightway is the only panel maker with a local office. Any thoughts.

    Thanks heaps

    • Mick Ouellette says

      OOPS. Renesola also have local offices in Victoria. My mistake.

    • Finn Peacock says

      Hi Mick,

      My Choice of panel would be Renesola, Canadian or JA Solar. They are all good Tier 1 panels. And well supported in Australia.

      I would class Lightway as a Tier 2/3.

      Enphase is a great choice. They are soon to release an AC battery which can be installed in about an hour and will provide 1.2kWh of storage. Further storage can them be added without an electrician. It all gets controlled by your existing Enphase comms unit.



  112. Hi Finn

    “Electricians On Call” have given me some sharp prices on a 5kw system, all with an SMA inverter

    20 Q-Cells 255w (Q Pro G3 255) $6745
    20 Renesola 260w $5610
    20 Jinko 250w (JKM250P-60) $4890

    The Jinko system looks like good value to me. Could you let me know your thoughts and if it’s worth paying the extra for the Q-Cells?

    Thanks in advance

    • Finn Peacock says

      Jinko are good, Tier 1 panels. They will certainly do the job and are well supported in Australia.

      Q-Cells will perform a bit better (maybe 5%), and may last longer past the standard 25 year warranty. Your call if that is worth the extra $

  113. Hi Finn,

    Thanks for the great site. Can I get your opinion on the following two quotes for a 3kW system in Sydney.

    12 x Hanwha 250W panels with APS YC500 micro inverters for $5,100 from Natural Solar

    12 x CSUN 250W panels with 215W Enphase micro inverters for $5,000 from RK Solar

    Both include monitoring and replacing the meter.


    • Finn Peacock says

      I would go CSUN + Enphase. Enphase are one the top 2 microinverter brands out there (the other being solarbridge). CSUN are a Tier 2 panel – but one of the better Tier 2 panels. I would also get a price from RK for a Tier 1 panel – you can probably go full Tier 1 for a few hundred dollars more.

  114. bushra muqaddas says

    Can you please give opinion about Hanover 250 w panels.

  115. Hi Finn,

    It is really great what your got going here, its really useful for people like me who have no idea what system to install, so double thumbs up.

    I have a few questions I am struggling to make a decision, wonder if you can help me, that will be much appreciated!!

    1) I have no room left on the North facing roof, because there were solar hot water panels installed. I was told to stick some panels on East and remaining West. Not sure how would I go about it, whether to stick everything on West or leave some for East as well? I have read somewhere on your website that you would prefer all panels on West? By the way I am looking at 3kW (12 x 250w). Can you suggest please?

    2) I have received 2 quotes, not sure which one go with:
    • Origin, Trina (The Honey Module) panels, Multi, 3kW (12 x 250w) + Delta RPI H3 inverter – $4815
    • Energy Australia, 2.95kW Next Generation Solar with 11x265w JA Riecium panels + 11xEnphase M215 inverters – $6150

    Can you please which company/deal to go with? The prices quotes are they reasonable? The micro inverters (with energy Australia quote) are they of good quality? I heard panels with micro inverters are better, but they seem to be bit expensive at upfront, what do you say?

    Thanks for your help!

    • Finn Peacock says

      Hi Siva,

      West facing panels give you more power at the end of the day, East facing at the beginning of the day. So positioning depends on when you use your energy.

      Trina and Delta will make a good system. If you don’t have any shading issues it is hard to justify the expense of the microinverters. Here are the detailed pros and cons:

      Hope That Helps,


      • Again with the east-west question. We’ve been-there-done-that several times, and NORTH is still the only way to go, even with the valueless FiT.
        North-facing is SO much better that it’s worth going to some trouble to achieve:- remove a tree, erect a purpose-designed frame/pergola/carport, etc. (any of which can be put up for a few hundred dollars. Any other direction WILL reduce your output/potential to some degree or other ~ and the further you are from the equator the greater that loss will be.
        I thought that had been established as being beyond dispute long ago.

        Air mass/density (greater the further off true north your panels face) is only one consideration….as are fogs that sometimes don’t dissipate until near lunch-time (rendering east-facing panels useless.
        Similarly, the weather in most locations blows in from the west, and clouds often begin banking up in the early afternoon…..rendering west-facing panels useless.

        The “depends on when you use your energy.” is a furphy, because you’re trying to anticipate what the weather-conditions will be at certain times of the day ~ and/or when and where the light will fall.

        Such considerations will involve a few dozen other factors, including longer-term weather-patterns and the effect of the local geography (like mountains, etc.) on those considerations. etc.
        Up here where I live (near the top of a hill) I look down into a valley about 3km away that ~ according to the published BOM figures ~ gets one hour per day of sunlight MORE than I do on a year-round average.
        (I can be sitting here in the rain ~ gnashing my teeth! ~ and watch the sun shining down there!)
        However, depending on all the details (siting, etc.) the same Mt BawBaw that produces those effects can block direct sunlight to other areas down there either morning or afternoon.

        Bottom line:- Except in the rarest of of circumstances facing panels directly due True North (and tilted to within 10% of your lattitude) is the ONLY way to maximise solar-power production in all conditions.
        (Unless you’re using a very efficient tracker that can be conveniently recalibrated as required.)

        [email protected] if you want to argue the toss.

  116. Hi Finn
    Thanks for your site.
    I got a quote from Lakes Entrance
    Green Energy Solution Victoria who are an agent for CSR Bradford
    4.5Kw $7265
    18 x CNPV 250W panels no tilt split array 1/2 and 1/2
    ABB Aurora 5.0kw inverter

    Glen Clark & Co Mt Evelyn about a (4 hour drive away)
    4.95kw $7723
    18 x LG275SIC-B3 split array
    10x tilt on orientation 81 tilt 18 and 8 x on orientation 351 no tilt
    Fronius primo 5.0.-1 inverter

    also 2 other local quotes on
    SMA with 250w suntech panels $8300
    Fronius with 250w REC panels $8500
    My house roof is almost, but not quite east/west facing.
    Why would most of the designs not include tilt but are suggesting not worth the extra cost to tilt?
    What is your opinion on the above quotes?

  117. Dear Finn,

    Thank you for a great website and some fantastic advice. I have learnt a lot from your website but I have so many questions. I have a few quotes for a 13-14kW system. (54 panels).

    The options for panels are:
    Renesola JC250M Poly Crystalline
    Canadian solar or Phono 250W,
    Jpak 270W (mono),
    Gista (250W mono Blackhorse series)

    Options for inverters are:
    1 triple phase inverter (1 STP15000TL -Sunny Tri Power 15kW three phase)
    3 single phase inverters: (ABB 4200w pv inverter)

    Nobody spoke about LG panels or Enphase microinverter

    The panels will be mounted with tilt kits

    Prices have been between 19,900 and 23,000

    Could you please tell me what you think.

    Many thanks

    Michael Issac

    • Finn Peacock says

      In terms of hardware – my choice out of those would be Canadian, then Renesola for the panels, and the 3-phase SMA for the inverter. ABBs are good, but SMA’s are even better, and the 3-phase keeps monitoring simple.

  118. Hi Finn,

    Thanks for help! I have a question about choosing correct size of inverter for the size of panels.
    For example, I am looking at Q-CELLS 10×260 panels, which is 2.6kW, for this size of panels whether 2kW or 3kW inverter more suitable? By the way I am considering SMA or Fronius inverter. The sales consultant recommended SMA 3000 TL – 20, does this one a 3kW interver?

    Also do you have any thoughts about SMA inverter with Battery model? We are thinking about considering it, because the Feed-in-Tariff is almost nothing and this battery can store upto 2kWh energy. But not sure how much will be the cost difference and whether it is available in 2.6kW size at all. Do you have thoughts? If not, can you suggest what size suits for what size of panels?

    Thanks for your help!

  119. Hi Finn,

    I’ve just started looking into getting solar and received a quote for a Sungrow inverter and C-Sun panels.

    I’d love to know your thoughts on these products as I am having trouble finding information myself.

    Many thanks,

    • Finn Peacock says

      C-Sun Panels are one of the better Tier 2 panels out there. They are generally sold as a budget option. Sungrow inverters are a good Chinese inverter. They are usually a lower cost option compared to the European inverters such as SMA, Fronius or ABB.

  120. Hi Finn,

    Does SMA SunnyBoy 2500/3000TL inverter already set up to be connected to a battery storage system in near future? or we should spend few more dollars for a SMA Sunny Island battery inverter?

    I saw on your previous posts, you were recommending Fronius inverter because it is Tesla Powerball compatible, if I want to add tesla batteries later, does that mean SMA string inverter doesn’t support battery storage system in near future?

    • Finn Peacock says

      Tesla will only confirm that some Fronius and some Solar Edge inverters will be compatible.

      It is my guess that recent SMA inverters will also be compatible – but I can’t be 100%

      A sunny island will allow you to have backup functionality if the grid goes down, a regular SMA inverter will not.

      A sunny island and the LG Resu battery is a good alternative to Tesla and is available now:

  121. Hi Finn,

    I’ve just started looking into getting solar and come across this site. You are really doing a great job here. After going through some of the articles here in this website, I now have good knowledge on solar system and the different components.

    After decided to going ahead I am looking for 2.5/3KW system and different sales person giving different opinion about going for string inverter/micro-inverter.
    I got these quote;
    1. 12 JA Solar – JAP6-72-310/3BB and 12 Enphase micro inverter M250 $ 5665
    2. 12 Enphase M215 and 12 * Q Cell Q.PRO G3 260 watt Polycrystaline Solar Modules for $5412
    3. 10 Enphase M215 and 10 * Q Cell Q.PRO G3 260 watt Polycrystaline Solar Modules for $4704

    They are all saying that micro inverter is not only good for shading requirement but also is more efficient in terms of longer production time.
    By the way I don’t have any shading issue and it can fit all the 12 panels in west side. Or in both side

    So I am now confused which system I should go for? My future plan will be to add battery for storage.. So the system should be compatible to this future requirement.

    Is JA Solar – JAP6-72-310/3BB is good in quality and durability and longevity?

    Is there any difference in productivity between 260 watt panel and 310 w panel?

    What is the main difference between Enphase M215 and M250 ?

    I’d love to know your thoughts on these as I am having trouble deciding and finding information.

    Many thanks,

    • Finn Peacock says

      Hi Dilip,

      Thanks for the kind words.

      Q. Is JA Solar – JAP6-72-310/3BB is good in quality and durability and longevity?
      A. JA are a good Tier 1 manufacturer. They are accredited in this scheme too which is a very good sign:
      I’d be happy with those on my roof.

      Q. Is there any difference in productivity between 260 watt panel and 310 w panel?
      A. Yes! The 310W panel will give you 20% more power per panel compared to a 260W panel.

      Q. What is the main difference between Enphase M215 and M250?
      A. They are 215W and 250W inverters respectively. The M215 is recommended for 250-260W panels. The M250 is recommended for 300-310W panels. The reason they are a lower wattage that the panels is that panels always give you less power that their rated peak power for these reasons:

      Hope That Helps,


      • Hi Finn,

        Thanks you very much for your quick reply.

        Could you also please tell the which quote below is the best in terms of value with money.?

        1. 12 JA Solar – JAP6-72-310/3BB and 12 Enphase micro inverter M250
        $ 5665

        2. 12 Enphase M215 and 12 * Q Cell Q.PRO G3 260 watt Polycrystaline Solar Modules for $5412

        3. 10 Enphase M215 and 10 * Q Cell Q.PRO G3 260 watt Polycrystaline Solar Modules for $4704

        Is these quotation amount reasonably ?

        What is the current market value of STC ?

        What’s your recommendation for Metro solar as a Installer?


  122. FrankChappell says

    Hi Finn,
    What is your opinion please on Renesola Vitus ll multcrystalline panels, and the Fronius Galvo inverter, which are being offered to me by Solargain.

    • Finn Peacock says

      Good Tier 1 panels, and the Fronius inverters are one of the best around in my opinion. They are both well supported with Australian offices too.

  123. Hi Finn,
    I am in Brisbane and have 2 quotes from solar engineering, there quotes are the cheapest i have received by over $1000 have you heard of these guys. i can’t seem to find any reviews on them
    also everyone i talk to seems to promote a different panel any recommendations i was interested in Q cells but did read to be careful so now thinking REC , Canadian solar or Trina
    is the fronius primo worth the extra money over the sma
    Quote 1
    SMA Sunnyboy 5000TL 5kw inverter
    23 x Q Cell 265w solar panels(6.095kw)
    5 yearmanufacturer warranty on the 5kw inverter
    10 year warranty on materials and workmanship on the panels
    25 year manufacturers guarantee of at least 80% output
    Cost of system and installation $5400

    Quote 2
    Fronius Primo 5kw inverter
    23 x 265w solar panels (6.095kw)
    5 Year manufacturer warranty on the 5kw inverter
    10 year warranty on materials and workmanship on the panels
    25 year manufacturers guarantee of at least 80% output
    Cost of system and installation $5800

    your thoughts and advice would be greatly appreciated

    • Finn Peacock says

      I can’t really comment on Solar Engineering as I have no experience with them.

      Q-Cells REC, Canadian and Trina are all good Tier 1 panels.

      SMA and Fronius are both excellent inverters.

  124. Hi Finn,in 60 days ,i am planning to get solar panel installed by Braemac energy here in Adelaide.5 kw, Inverter SMA sunny TRipower stp 5000TL 3 phase for 18(280W) Monocrystalline solar panel from Benq Solar,for about 9k.
    – is this price reasonable?
    – is this gonna perform well for a better result or efficiency?
    – is this company well reputed as I don’t know any bad think about it?
    – why not using Single SMA inverter? but TRI POWER?
    – is it ok to face all panel at north?

    – can I go with True value who offer me 5kw for 5K, 23panel polycryst with ABB 5kw string inverter?
    – which one will work better?
    This include all things ,except meter import export cost from SA power.

    Email me please to the above to give a boost on my decision before any mistake !
    thanks in advance for your help

    • Finn Peacock says

      HI Saidi,

      Braemac get really good reviews:

      That is a good inverter and good panels. It should work well if you have no shading.

      I’m assuming you are getting a SMA Tri Power because your home has 3 phase power.

      Facing all panels north will give you the most power, but often people face them West to get a little less power later in the day:

      I personally would not go with True Value based on stuff I’ve seen and heard. Also don’t get a system if you don’t know the panel brand.

      The price is fair for a well installed good quality system. I always recommend getting multiple quotes from good installers though.

      • Hi Finn,
        I am so proud to get quick important advice from you regarding my soon solar panel installation to my new house under construction. But can I change the SMA tree phase inverter to a single phase one may be in that case if I decide to go with Braemac ,I can save money on the cost of less than 9k for 5kw? As my house is gonna get 3 phase power connection do you mean ,it is no good option to put SMA single phase for 5kw or 6kw if need be? I will appreciate your response Finn! thanks. Saidi

        • Finn Peacock says

          HI Saidi,

          Generally it is OK to put a single phase inverter on one of the 3 phases – but check with your local installer for local network rules.

          Here are more details:

          Hope That Helps,


          • Hi Finny,
            Thanks for all the advice.
            It is hard to decide on the good quality and affordability.
            As i am still shopping around regarding solar panel and inverters,
            -Could you,please tell me what inverter is best: Fronius,SMA?
            – are these panel good: CSUN250-60PA for 5 or 6kw?
            sunypower E201327
            canadiansolar cs6p-260p
            REnsolar JC260M-24/Bb

          • Finn Admin says

            Fronius and SMA are both excellent. Can’t really choose between them.

            Sunpower are the best – but super expensive.

            Canadian, Jinko or Renesola would be my panel choice.

            CSUN are OK, but I would class them as Tier 2.

  125. hi Finn could you tell me what GY SOLAR PANELS are like and what teir they are

  126. Hi Finn.
    We’re looking at a couple of different options and would like your recommendation of which would be the best.
    1. SMA 5000TL invertor with 5Kw Zeus Appollo tier 1 panels for $6990.
    2. Fronius Symo 5.0 invertor with 6Kw ET-P660 panels for $6150.
    3. SMA invertor with 5Kw Jinko panels for $7144.
    I’m a great believer in buy cheap buy dear philosophy so I’ve discoiunted anothr quote from TruValue Solarwhich was under the $6k mark for ABB Aurora invertor with 5.2Kw Hanwha panels. Plus there seems to be a lot of negative press with this company!
    I’m edging towards option 2 at this time.
    Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Finn Peacock says

      I personally don’t consider Zeus Apollo a Tier 1 brand. I’m happy for someone to correct me on that if they’ve got data.

      Option 2 is very good hardware – as is option 3 – but the price makes option 2 look like a great choice.

  127. Hi Finn.
    Happy to have found this site thanks.I am about to add some more panels to my existing 24 volt stand alone system.The present system has 8 Sharp 175 watt 72 cell panels and I am looking at adding another 8 x 200 watt panels.The panels my local installer has quoted me on are Simax @ $1750 for 8 panels,Trina @ $2750 for 8 panels and Daqo @ $2320 for 8 panels.What would be the pick of the bunch in regards to quality and future warranty.The Simax look good for the price but are they a good panel and good stable company for future warranty claims,I am aware they are a tier 2 brand as apposed to Trina a Daqo being tier 1.

    • Finn Peacock says

      Simax are one of the better Tier 2 brands. I know a number of installers that really like them and have used them for 5 or 6 years now.

      Trina and Daqo are both good T1 panels, well supported in Australia.

      Trina probably have the most established presence in Australia.

      • Thanks so much Finn.
        I spoke to a local installer recently who has used the Simax panels and has had no problems come back with them but he said the quality control over the assembly might be a bit off.The panels he installed on a few homes were all alittle irregular with their sizing and a bit trickier to fit.Besides that they may be worth a go for the price.

      • One more thing sorry.I have also been quoted on some Zeus Appollo 200 watt panels,have you had any experience with them or heard anything about them ?
        Thanks again.

  128. Hi Finn

    Please help, literally going nuts right now. Could you please advise if the following deal is completely out of line from a price sense, as I have read your information on the right price to pay for a 5Kw system. System is Conergy (SolarHarness) PowerPlus 260P, 20 panels; Sungrow 5 inverter for $14000 after rebate. We have on the table to compare 20 X 255W GY PANELS –
    1 X 5KW SMA Sunnyboy German Inverter for $6800 after rebate. Such a big price difference, but is there such a big quality and/or performance difference?? And how do we know that the Conergy panels are indeed manufactured in Germany? Thanks for any help 🙂

    • Finn Peacock says

      $14k for a 5kW system is beyond ridiculous. Don’t do it.

      You can get a great 5kW system got $8k with Tier 1 panels and top-end inverter.

      Avoid GY panels – they are not Tier 1.

      I’d go out and get some more quotes. Demand Tier 1 panels and a good inverter.

      • Actually you can get a quality/premium system cheaper than $8,000.
        Most of my quotes for a 5KW with Trina panels and a SMA inverter, full fitted paperwork,connection and bidirectional meter was between $6,400 to $7,300.
        I did have one strange quote .the guy rolled up went straight to my meter box,came inside and sat there , I had to carry the conversation to get the price.
        It was $11,700.
        I queried the guy did he leave out the STC’s ?
        No .
        I said man you are way out of the ball park to which he replied ‘Okay, see you later bye”

        i just wondered how many people do the research before the purchase because this guy gave me no sell, no brochures, take it or leave it,
        man he must hook a few fish occasionally but not me.

  129. Hi,

    Seeking guidance on an offer from Euro Solar for a 5kw Solax inverter and Amerisolar AS-6P30 panels. Any good or bad reviews/feedback on these would be appreciated.


  130. Finn, wow. All this info. Your a legend.

  131. HI
    can buy 30 silex 250w panels used for about $120 each- Is this a bargain?

  132. Hello Finn. What is your opinion about Opal panels launched by Solar Juice and manufactured by JA Solar? I can’t really discover too much about these panels or the companies involved or even the real country of origin. The implication in self-praise advertising appears to say that they are an all Australian product. Can you elaborate and set me straight about these products?
    Thank you,

    Things I don’t understand and should have included about these panels:
    Operating Temperature – -40%C-+85%C
    Temperature Coefficient of Lsc (aisc) +0.058%/degreeC
    Temperature Coefficient of Voc (?Voc) -0.330%/degreeC
    Temperature Coefficient of Pmax (yPmp) -0.430%/degreeC
    Irradiance 1000W/meter squared, Module Temperature 25degreeC, Air Mass 1.5

    • Finn Peacock says

      I’m fairly sure the Opal panels are manufactured by JA Solar in China. JA Solar are a good Tier 1 manufacturer. They are not made in Australia!

  133. Wow…I am totally blown away by all the info ..
    Great work Finn..thanks for helping us non tech savvy people.
    I have a quote to replace my 12 Conenergy panels with 14 Canadian Solar panels.
    I have a near new Fronius 3 kw inverter.So that is staying.
    Already have the meter installation.
    My cost, after gov’t rebate, is $3,535
    Is this excessive?

    • Finn Peacock says

      The wholesale price of a 255W Canadian Solar panel is about $200+GST. But you’ll get about $150 per panel back in STCs.

      Then they need to be installed (and the old ones removed).

      And the installer needs to make a profit to cover his overheads and still come out in front.

      I don’t know what is involved in replacing your specific panels – so can’t comment if the price is fair or not – sorry!

  134. Hi Finn,
    Got quite a few quotes and are looking at going with my mid range quote who also seemed to know what they were talking about the most. Just wondering if this is a good unit and price.
    5kw Zever inverter, 20x260w Jinko panels fully installed by Elcon Solar for $6600

    • Finn Peacock says

      Jinks are good, Tier 1 panels. Zeversolar are one of the better budget inverters. But they are a budget option – so don’t expect it to last as long as a Fronius or SMA or Delta. May be worth a few hundred $ to upgrade the inverter. OR upgrade the warranty on the inverter to 10 years if possible?

  135. Hi Finn,

    I have been quoted a Sungrow inverter and GCL-P6/60250 panels for a 5Kw (3-phase) system.

    Just wondering if this is a good system from your perspective?


    • Finn Peacock says

      Sungrow are one of the better budget inverters and seem to be well supported in Australia. Try and get a 10 year warranty.

      It will certainly do the job – but the budget inverters are unlikely to last as long as a premium brand like SMA or Fronius, which would cost about $1,000 more.

      GCL are an international Tier 1 silicon and solar panel manufacturer. I’m not familiar with their panels. My main reservation would be that I don’t believe they have an Australian office? So warranty issues may be harder to resolve. There are lots of better known Tier 1 panels in Australia with local, well staffed offices like: Trina, Yingli, Jinko, Canadian, JA Solar, Suntech, Hanwha, Renesola, ET Solar which may be a lower risk, and similar price.

      • Finn Peacock says

        I’ve also just been notified that there are some really dodgy looking 250W GCL panels around that may be rebadged (i.e. fake). I would not take the risk personally.

  136. Tancredii says

    Hi Finn,

    We’re just starting oursolar adventure, and are already getting very confused.

    We’ve been advised that our consumption suggests a 6kw system.

    Compay 1 = $10,700
    24x GCL- P66/60 Polycrystalline panels (260w output)
    Pmax = 0.43%
    3x bypass diodes

    Company 2 = $8,300
    24 (+2) x Phono Polycrysatline panels (250w output)
    Pmax = 0.40%
    6x bypass diodes

    Company 3 = $4,391
    22 (+2) x Amerisolar AS-6P30 Polycrysaline (250w output)
    Pmax = 0.43%
    3x bypass diodes

    From my understanding the only thing that really separates these quotes is the Phono panels have twice as many bypass diodes, and therefore should be able to tollerate bird-do better than the others. Given they are all Teir 1, Pmax 0.4ish% they should otherwise operate pretty similar.

    Do you think the 6x bypass diodes is worth the higher price, or is company 3 offering a real bargain?

    • Finn Peacock says

      Firstly – Amerisolar are not Tier 1 panels in my book:

      Bypass diodes cost about 20c each (literally) – and you are unlikely to notice if you have 3 or 6.

      A 6kW system for $4,391 definitely falls into the ‘too good to be true’ category for me:

      I’m guessing the last quote was not through my website!

      The choice of inverter is even more important than the choice of panels – as it is the component that will fail first. So don’t discount that.

      $8,000-$9,000 is about right for a good 6kW system. But how do they know you need 6kW?

      Hope That Helps,


      • Tancredii says

        Hi Finn,

        Thanks for the feedback. So we have decided to go with the following solar deal:
        Company 2 – 6kw system = $7,275
        – 24x 240w Phono polycrystalline panels
        but i’m struggling to pick between the two inverters on offer:
        – Fronius PRIMO 5.0-1 AUS (European) +$800 to quote
        – B&B SF5000TL (Chinese)
        The B&B is their most popular Inverter, and I have heard there’s not much between a good Chinese vs a European inverter these days.

        I have read through the spec sheets, and to me they’re much of a muchness, but it’s all double dutch to me. Do you think a Fronius would be worth the extra $800?

        BTW we were quoted a 6kw system because our consumption averages 28kw hrs/day.

        • Finn Peacock says

          The quality of the inverter is super important – it is almost always the component that fails first. Personally I would pay the extra for a Fronius. They are a much better known inverter than the B&B – which is a fairly obscure brand. I would expect the Fronius to outlast the B&B, and I know Fronius are very well supported in Aus.

          Your gross consumption is not a good basis for system sizing – you have to look at your daytime usage here’s why:

  137. Hi Finn
    Excellent stuff you are doing for us non-techies.
    As suggested by you (via website) I have obtained 3 quotes for a 3Kw system.
    1. 12 x 250w Trina honey panels + Schneider Conext RL inverter $4100
    2. 12 x 260w Phono Solar panels + Schneider Conex RL inverter $6000
    3. 12 x 250w Jinko Solar panels + Zeversolar 3000s inverter $3990
    All include the necessary metering and warrantys that you insist on, so what would your pick be?
    Kind Regards

    • Finn Peacock says

      All those panels are good Tier 1, not much between them. Trina are the biggest manufacturer out of the 3 so you could argue that they are the lowest risk. The Schneiders are good inverters, probably more reliable than the Zeversolar.

  138. M. Anees says

    Hi Mr.Finn, Im from Doha Qatar.
    1. Renesola or canadian solar or Trina or Suntech or Sunpower or JA Solar? Which is the best solar? I was planning for Renesola,Is it ok?
    2. We have requirement of solar for 2 villas : Capacity required for both villa is 15KW.
    Case 1: villa is inside the city and has the government power supply, we need to get 12 hrs backup through solar.
    Case 2: Villa is in the outskirt of city, we need standalone offgrid type, no government power supply. we need to get power for 24hrs from the solar alone.
    How do we calculate the Panel requirement and Battery Requirement.?

    • Finn Peacock says

      The best panel on that list is SUnpower. It is also about double the price of the others. All those other panels are good IMHO, and should be a similar price to each other. Trina, Canadian and JA solar would probably be my shortlist.

      To do the sizing you need usage data and software to size it – such as

  139. Hi Fin,
    WHat you think of this quote
    11 x 270w Csun panels (tier 1)
    Mass energy inverter 3000TL (comes with 7y replacement warranty)
    $3495 (including timer).
    Just not sure with inverter to be honest.

    • Finn Peacock says

      CSun seem to have dropped off the latest Bloomberg Tier 1 list. SO perhaps another T1 panel may be a better bet.

      I have no idea what that inverter is!

  140. Hi Finn,

    Just got a quote from metropolitan Adelaide which I thought was a bit on the high side for a 3kw System:

    12 x Jinko Eagle 260 watt panels with
    12 x Enphase M215 Microinverters
    Clenergy Racking + Solarflex Cabling
    Enphase Envoy-S Metered for monitoring
    Upgrades to the switch, three phase and tilt framing

    Price quoted was $6900. Installation on a 2nd and 3 levels of a 3 story townhouse.

    Thoughts on the specs and price? Just hard to compare apples to apples because I haven’t come across anyone else that has gone for the enphase monitoring.

    • Finn Peacock says

      That is quite an expensive 3kW system, even for Enphase. Although with the tilt frames and 3 storey house – that does make the installation a lot more expensive.

      I always recommend getting quotes to compare – most installers will be happy to install Enphase as an option:

      Hope That Helps,


  141. Cindy Quinn says

    What r your thoughts or recommendations of Massive Solar P/L ? TIA

  142. Whats your opinion of HT 260w panels ?

  143. Hi Finn, We have got a quote for a 5KW solar system with opal solar panel & SMA 5kw Inverter for $5100 (excluding connection to the grid & metering). We have also received another quote with 4.77 Kw Trina solar panels + 4.6w Simes Inverter for $ which includes connection to the grid and metreing. Which one of this priced reasonabley. Your response would be highly appreciated.


    • Finn Peacock says

      Hi Mubi,

      Opal panels and SMA is a good combination. Price seems very competitive for that hardware.

      Not sure what a Simes inverter is – and you missed the price out – so can’t comment on the 2nd option!

      Hope That Helps,


      • Thanks Finn for the quick response. Very much appreciated.

        Sorry I missed the price. Here is a the offer that we have received for a conventional inverter system

        option : 1 4.77 kW System with 18 x Trina ‘Honey’ 265 watt modules and a Fronius Primo 5.0 (Austrian made) inverter – $6,500.00 (Inc. GST)

        Option: 2 Solar Juice (22 XOpal 255W Solar Panel ) +Zever Solar Evershine TL5000 Inverter $4,690.00

        Microinverter technology

        Option: 3
        4.5kW Smart Solar with 18x250W Jinko panels and18xEnphase M215 inverters : $7,231.39

        Your advice is much awaited.

        Thanks in advance.


        • Finn Peacock says

          Option 2 is the budget option – with a budget inverter and non-Tier-1 (but still pretty good) Opal panels. It will certainly do the job, but the inverter is more likely to fail after 5-10 years.

          Trina would be my favourite panels there – and the Fronius is one of the best inverters you can get – with a 10 year warranty as standard last time I checked. Hence the premium price.

          The 3rd option has good Tier 1 panels (not quite as good as the Trinas in my opinion). Micro inverters have a lot of advantages:

          But you pay a premium for micros as you can see.

  144. Hi Finn, We have two different quotes: Both 5kw systems. One is Jinko panels with a Fronius Symo 5. 3 phase inverter (as I have three phase) for $5,900 and the other is HT panels with 2 delta inverters (ie using 2 inverters instead of one tri phase) for $5,300. Thoughts on which is better value?

    • Finn Peacock says

      The Deltas are good mid-range inverters and the setup on 2 phases will work fine.

      Fronius are a top-end inverter and the 10 year warranty is worth a lot.

      HT-SAAE and JInko are Tier 1 panels – Jinko is the better known brand and the company is much bigger than HT-SAAE

  145. Justine O'Brien says

    Hi Finn

    I installed solar in 2012
    Inverter: GT2.8AU Xantrex / 2.8kw (peak)
    Panels Photovoltaic x 11
    Cost $5000
    Company: Five Star Energy

    We were promised that this system would credit us around $300 a quarter but were lucky get $50 a quarter

    And then upgraded in 2013 to

    Inverter: Aurora PVI-5.0-TL-OUTD
    Panels Munchen x 16
    Cost $8000
    Company Sunsource Energy

    Both these companies are no longer contactable and I’m worried about honoring warranties.

    I know nothing about solar and went of recommendations from friends and work colleagues. My quarterly bills are around $500-$600 and initially we were getting around $500 credit with the 44c government rebate but now it has dropped to 6c the system is virtually worthless, getting us $80 a quarter rebate. I was never aware of the tier ratings in fact I know very little about solar even today and have read so much I’m more confused.

    I’m now considering a battery installation so that I can hopefully completely do away with my bills but I’m scared of throwing more money away. Any advice / recommendations would be appreciated.

    Thank you

  146. Hi there Finn
    So great to see your site with all this info about solar, I am a novice but like to know what I am buying and just generally have some awareness of quality and pricing.
    I am choosing between a couple of quotes with similar products. I would like to know what you think between the Trina Panels and Phono Daimond panels.

    And the Fronius Primo inverter and the SE5000RWS inverter ?

    Also Solar edge DC optimisers are they necessarry ?

    I am getting quote to for the panels and inverter etc and then in the future when I can afford it I will buy a battery either a tesla or other

    One quote is for 16 265W Trina Panels with the SE5000RWS inverter with 16 Solaredge DC optimisers, including a my meter upgrade. $11,290

    2nd quote is for 16 Phone Daimond Panels, with 16 DC Solar Edge Optimisers with Fronius Primo Inverter and meter upgrade $8990

    3rd quote is for 13 Sunpower 327W panels with Fronius Primo inverter + meter upgrade $8990 and or with Solar edge DC optimisers $11990
    Would sunpower panels need optimisers??

    Your advice & opinion would be much appreciated thankyou

    • Finn Peacock says

      Hi Louisa,

      $11,290 for a 4kW system is very expensive

      I’d expect to pay closer to $6k + meter upgrade if it is a straightforward install and Chinese Tier 1 panels + good inverter.

      The Sunpower+Fronius quote would be my choice out of those – as Sunpower are absolutely excellent and do command a serious price premium.

      Unless you have shading or a complex roof, paying the extra $2k for optimisers is unlikely to be economical.

      Hope That Helps,


      • Louisa Sear says

        Thankyou for your reply Finn, Ok maybe I will go for the sunpower panel quote, without optimisers.
        Although my house loses the sun more early and I get it the sun a bit later as I live down the hill near the river. So do not get maximum sun for the whole day. Do you think I should get the optimisers in my case, or I can always see how it goes and get them later down the track. ??

        • Finn Peacock says

          Louisa, it completely depends on the characteristics of the shade. Optimisers are a pain to retrofit on panels that have not been designed for them so I’d get them installed at the outset if you have shade across the panels for some part of the day.

          You can buy ‘Smart’ panels from Trina (and others) that have optimisers built in. They are excellent panels and may be worth considering if the cost of adding optimisers to SUnpower is prohibitive.

  147. Finn,
    Thank you for your website and organising the quotes.

    My two preferred quotes are quite different in price and I am not sure why. We are looking at a 5kw system.

    1. 19 x 260W Trina Honey Panels and 1 SMA500TL-21 inverter $6950 fully installed.

    2. 19 x QCell Panels and a Fronius Primo inverter at $11260 less a discount of $2502 for cash payment bringing the total cost to $8758

    Cost is not the ultimate decider I would prefer the best product as it is a long term investment.

    Any advice will be appreciated.

    • Finn Peacock says

      Hi Alex,

      Both those options look really good from a hardware point of view.

      The Q-Cells panels are probably a little better that the Trina. Not a lot in it though. You’d probably not notice much energy difference in the first 20 years!

      Fronius and SMA are the 2 top-end inverter brands. Fronius comes with a 10 year warranty which is a bonus. But SMA can upgrade their warranty to 10 years for a few hundred bucks.

      Personally, I’d struggle to justify the extra $2k for the latter option.

  148. Hi Finn,

    What do you think of GCL vs Jinko panels?

    I am planning to install a 5kw system and have quotes pairing these with a Fronius Primo inverter.

    The GCL one came in at $4399, and the Jinko one at $4999.

    Are the Jinko ones worth the extra $600?

    Appreciate your thoughts please.

  149. Kaye Wylde says

    Hi Finn,
    Thanks for your web site it helps to clarify the jumble in my head from all the quotes.
    I have had a few quotes all 5kw with a fronius inverte.
    Quote 1 $6846 with 18 x LG 285w panels
    quote 2 $6162 with 18 x REC twin panels
    quote 3 $5960 with 20 Seraphim 260 w panels
    I realise quote 1 & 2 differ in quality of panels but how does this affect me and the 3 rd one uses 20 panels which way would be better
    can you offer any guidance thanking you in advance

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Kaye, Ronald here.

      The LG panel system comes to 5.13 kilowatts for a cost of $1.33 per watt.
      REC TwinPeak panels are 265 to 285 watts. This means 18 of them could come to only 4.86 kilowatts and cost $1.27 a watt or they could be up to 5.13 kilowatts and cost $1.20 a watt.
      The Seraphim panel system comes to 5.2 kilowatts for a cost of $1.15 a watt.

      They are all tier one panels, so you are unlikely to have problems with any of them, but the LG panels are the best. However, they are the most expensive. Their product warranty is 12 years while the other two have 10 year product warranties. REC TwinPeak panels tolerate partial shade better than the other panels, but if they are installed in a shade free area this won’t give much advantage. Neither REC nor Seraphim have offices in Australia so the importer of panels will be responsible for their product and performance warranties.

      Fronius is a great inverter.

      I would say these are all good systems. The LG panels are the best, but you will have to pay extra for them. The REC TwinPeak panels could be best if your roof has shade. And the Seraphim system is the lowest cost option.

      Hope this helps, but if anything isn’t clear, let me know.

      • Kaye Wylde says

        Hi Ron,
        Still trying to decide we have now received a few more quotes one of which is with company 1 20x Risen 260w and 5kw SMA inverter( 5 yr warranty )$4890
        company 2 19x Trina solar panels x 260 with Fronius inverter 5KW ( 10 yr warranty ) $5280

        We are near the beach 450 m so wonder about the need for panels which are salt corrosion resistant !!

        • Ronald Brakels says

          SMA and Fronius are both excellent inverters. Risen and Trina are both tier ones panels. I would prefer Risen to Trina as they have a 12 year product warranty as opposed to 10 and I noticed they outperformed Trina in a test by MC Electrical in Brisbane:

          But note their sample size is extremely small so while this is evidence of how well the panels compare it is not possible to be extremely confident about the results.

          I wrote about corrosion resistance here:

          If you are more than 200m from the sea you are probably okay, but it will depend on local conditions. Can you occasionally taste salt in the air where you are and is there more rust on buildings and metal items than there is further inland?

          Almost all tier one panels are corrosion resistant, but Trina Honey panels may not be, as they don’t claim to be corrosion resistant and I haven’t been able to find any certification that says they are.

          I hope you have an excellent installation that will be trouble free for decades to come.

  150. Ram Ramanathan says

    HI Finn

    Many thanks for your great input and insights in the world of solar. We have a 1.5KW Suntech panels with a SMA Sunnyboy inverter installed about 5 years ago. We have expanded our home and need to increase the capacity of the solar panels and got the following as one of the options for a 3 kw system with microinverter as additional – 270JKM(Jinko Tier One Solar panels) with Enphase 230 microinverter. We have already installed the smartmeter through our service provider being an existing solar panel user. . I understand that this II system is battery ready so that we can have that option once battery prices fall. We have single phase electricity at home. Would appreciate your thoughts on the II system we are about to confirm as the preferred option and any other points we may need to consider.

    Thanks Finn and appreciate your help

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hello Ram, Ronald here. Jinko panels are reliable and Enphase microinverters are possibly the most dependable inverters available.

      The system is battery ready in the sense that any rooftop solar system can be considered battery ready as it can make use of an AC coupled battery system. Finn wrote about the different ways of installing batteries here:

      Generally speaking, I would say it is not worthwhile to do more to prepare a system for batteries that may be installed in the future.

      If you are thinking about installing batteries in the future you may wish to consider installing a larger solar system than you would otherwise to ensure enough surplus solar electricity will produced to fully charge your batteries most days. If you think you may get a large battery system such one the size of the Powerwall 2 which has 13.5 kilowatt-hours of storage, then you are probably going to want at least 5 kilowatts of solar panels in total. I wrote about this here:

      But there will be many smaller systems on the market, so your 3 kilowatt expansion may be fine.

  151. Carlos Javier Velasquez Robles says

    hola que tan buenos son los paneles solares Zhejiang BLD Solar Technology CO.,LTD P72PCS-270W 265W 260W 255W Product Specification y que gama son ???

    • Ronald Brakels says

      BLD Solar no está en ninguna lista de fabricantes de nivel uno que tenga. Normalmente recomiendo usar paneles de nivel uno para que pueda estar seguro de que serán confiables.

      No estoy familiarizado con los paneles BLD, pero mirando una hoja de datos para uno veo que dan la eficiencia de la célula en lugar de la eficiencia del panel que creo que es engañoso. Su coeficiente máximo de temperatura de potencia es peor que el promedio y son más pesados ​​que los paneles normales.

      In English:

      BLD Solar are not on any lists of tier one manufacturers I have. I normally recommend using tier one panels so you can be confident they will be reliable.

      I am not familiar with BLD panels, but looking at a datasheet for one I see they give cell efficiency instead of panel efficiency which I think is misleading. Their max power temperature coefficient is worse than average and they are heavier than most panels.

  152. Hi Finn.

    I am going around in circles and can’t settle on a company. Your feedback would be much appreciated.

    Skysolar – Fronius 5kw inverter with 24 CSUN panels (6.48 system) $5500

    Goodhew – Fronius 5kw inverter with 16 320kw CSUN panels (5.12 system) $5900

    Origin – Fronius 4.6kw inverter with 20 270w CSUN panels (5.4 system) $6300

    I also have a pool, air-con and waterpumps.

  153. john attard says

    Hi Finn,
    I’ve just received a quote from “Arise Solar” – a company that seems to get mostly excellent reviews with a few terrible ones ..
    For a 6.2 kw system, they are quoting 5100 bucks before the rebate (which they say I have to claim myself – which seems odd)
    Details of the package are
    22 275w amerisolar panels (AS-6P30)
    5kw inverter (for 6.2 kw system – will that even work?)
    X1-Boost Solax3 Inverter – which they say is 5kw .. but looking at the spec sheet, its a 3kw inverter?

    Is this worth is – Arise solar seem pretty aggressive with their advertising and I think a few people are taking up this offer – so far, he’s been relatively upfront with the wait time (saying it will take at least 10 weeks)
    I have a terracotta tiled two story roof which apparently complicates the install ..

    So – is this a good deal or is there anything about arise solar that I should know about before proceeding ?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hello John, Ronald here.

      I have a few concerns.

      Firstly, if it’s $5,100 before the value of STCs from the “solar rebate” are deducted then it is extremely cheap. It would barely be enough to cover the cost of the hardware and GST let alone other costs. I would check they haven’t actually deducted the estimated value of STCs from that. If it is that cheap, Finn wrote about the high cost of cheap solar here:

      A company that is selling the cheapest systems isn’t likely to have the resources to provide good after sales service if you have a problem.

      Insisting you claim the STCs yourself is unusual. I don’t approve of making customers do this unless they want to as the installer can get through the paperwork quickly while the customer generally doesn’t have a clear idea of what they are supposed to do.

      I’d be a little more concerned than usual because Amerisolar panels were removed from the approved list of solar panels last year by the Clean Energy Council.

      They appear to be back on the list now and it was a result of quality problems with the panels, but it would still be enough to make me a little wary. It’s unlikely there would be a problem with getting STCs for the panels but personally I’d wouldn’t want to have to worry about it.

      • john attard says

        Thanks for your reply Ronald ..

        I did think it was odd that they made the point that I would have to apply for the rebate myself .. Will look into this all a bit deeper .

  154. Hi Finn
    Can you give me your advice on a Fronius inverter with Q-cells panels or Solax inverter with Jinko panels?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Denise, Ronald here.

      Personally, I would go with the Fronius inverter with the QCELLS panels over the system with Jinko panels and a Solax inverter. While Jinko and QCELLS are both panels we can recommend, currently Solax is not an inverter we recommend while Fronius is well regarded.

      You can see the solar panels and inverters we do recommend in our Solar 101 Guide here:

      If a panel or inverter is not among the ones we recommend it does not necessarily mean it’s bad, it just means we don’t have the confidence in them that we do for the ones we recommend.

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