"You get what you pay for" with solar PV17th Oct 2012
A leading industry expert has admitted it is possible "you get what you pay for" when it comes to solar power systems.
Nigel Morris of Solar Business Services claims that while the media is currently touting the increasingly low cost of solar PV - it is still important for people to do their research.
In an article for his website, Nigel said consumers always want prices to come down, but they are gradually beginning to learn that quality is also a key factor.
"They don't want low quality, poor service and a supplier who is likely to vanish," he explained. "My advice to consumers is always 'Caveat Emptor' or 'buyer beware'."
And he was keen to hammer home the risks of purchasing at the lower end of the spectrum, advising people to take heed of traditional mottos such as 'don't expect something for nothing' and 'if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is'.
"Think carefully about what you are buying and whether paying a little more is worthwhile," the expert stated.
Not only this, Morris had the data to back it up - highlighting a shift in consumer thinking.
Using stats from the Clean Energy Regulator, he stated that the cost of sub two-kilowatt systems in the last quarter went up!
A major reason for this, he claimed, could be that customers are becoming more discerning about what systems they put on their roofs.
People don't want to have to wait nine months for an installation, Nigel continued, and they don't want cowboy operations damaging their roofs or going bust before they have a chance to fit the technology.
"The reality is that costs a little more to provide, also driving prices upwards."
One way to ensure the industry is able to achieve lower costs without sacrificing on quality is through government incentives, he said.
"Our industry gets substantially less support than many other industries in Australia and is equally, if not more deserving, because it is tantalisingly close to cost competitiveness," Nigel explained.
It is important to receive more financing to guarantee that profitability and quality rises across the value chain, he concluded, which would result in optimal delivery of real-world PV solutions.
Recent figures from the Clean Energy Regulator revealed there are now 858,000 houses with solar PV fitted.
Professor Wills, chief advisor to the Sustainable Energy Association, predicted the one millionth installation would occur in June 2013.
Posted by Mike Peacock