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Expert offers tips on solar power investment

7th Dec 2012

Buying a new solar power system can be a big financial commitment, making it vital for homeowners to be fully prepared when making the plunge.

Thankfully, there is plenty of advice available to those hoping to install renewable energy systems, including these tips by SunTrix managing director Jenny Paradiso.

SunTrix is an Adelaide-based solar installer and Jenny is keen to point out what to consider when it's time to invest.

In an article for Adelaide Now, she noted that one of the first things a homeowner should insist upon is a site inspection from solar firms.

"There are many variables that need to be considered and most of these are hard to spot from a satellite view of your house or a few photos," she explained.

This prevents installers showing up on the doorstep after a purchase has been made and then adding on expenses because of house design quirks, the expert added.

Any company worth their salt should also be able to provide a shade analysis test, she claimed, which should ensure solar panels are put in the right positions.

"Warranties also need to be carefully examined as they can be misleading and panel warranties often only cover the performance of the panels, rather than the panels themselves," the managing director continued.

"It's no use having a 25-year performance warranty if your panel falls apart in two years."

Checking the company's background was also highlighted as a must – making sure to only go with Clean Energy Council-accredited designers and installers.

Jenny warned people to research their payment plans, with some high feed-in tariff deals and 'interest-free' options costing more over the long term.

And, according to Jenny, size really does matter when it comes to solar power systems.

Popular 1.5kW installations will cover less than 50 per cent of the electricity bill – so homeowners should get advice on what size system best matches their usage.

She didn't stop there. She also urged people not to be enticed into buying a solar power system based on price, arguing that you get what you pay for.

In fact, Jenny claimed the quality of solar panels and inverters can vary dramatically from company to company – making it important to go for quality over cost.

Her comments come not long after Nigel Morris of Solar Business Services gave similar advice, adding that while consumers often want systems to get cheaper, they shouldn't sacrifice on quality.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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