Welcome to the solar reviews center

Reading reviews is a very important part of researching a potential solar power or battery storage purchase. If you’re installing a system in Australia, then the experiences of other Australians who have made the switch to solar are particularly relevant.

I’ve collected tens of thousands of reviews of companies and components over more than a decade, creating the largest solar reviews database in Australia. Whether you’re looking for opinions on installers or brands of solar panels, inverters or batteries, you’ll find them on SolarQuotes. Learn more about how the ratings and reviews are collected here.

Learn more about how we calculate the rankings here. NOTE: the ratings calculations below are based on the last 6 months.

Installers

Top 5 Solar Installers

Below you’ll find the top 5 solar installation businesses in Australia participating in the SolarQuotes network, as rated by their customers. We take special care to ensure only genuine customers of installers can leave ratings and reviews.

View All Top-Rated InstallersBrowse Recommended Installers By CitySearch All Installer ReviewsLearn more about our installer reviews

  1. Installer Image

    Penrith Solar Centre

    4.9 Based on 118 ratings

    Process was easy, competitive quote. Crew arrived on the scheduled date. Immediate start to work under very gruelling conditions. Crew powered on and completed the installation. I was shown how to shut the system down and how to use the web monitoring site. I paid that very day and a copy of the email requesting a meter upgrade arrived the next business day. Recommend highly.

    Ian 5.0

  2. Solar Wholesalers 4.9 120 ratings
  3. MC Electrical 4.9 107 ratings
  4. Goliath Solar and Electrical 4.9 75 ratings
  5. Expert Electrical 4.9 77 ratings
Panels

Top 5 Solar Panel Brands

With so much choice in panels available, it can be challenging to determine which may be best for you. Below is a list of the brands offering the best solar panels according to Australians who have had the panels installed for at least a year.

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  1. Panel Brand Image

    Canadian Solar Inc

    4.9 Based on 197 ratings

    About the company

    Canadian Solar is a producer of tier 1 panels. Despite their name, any panels you buy in Australia will not be made in Canada. Canadian Solar panels we purchase are most likely to be made in China - not that there's anything wrong with that.

    These days the company's panels carry a 12 year product warranty, which is a little better than the standard for the industry of 10 years. Canadian Solar has an Australian office and unlike most panel manufacturers it is in Melbourne rather than Sydney.

    Canadian Solar Panels

    Canadian Solar produces a variety of panels. Unlike some manufacturers, Canadian Solar does not exaggerate their panel's efficiency by not including the frame in the calculation. The company's modules are corrosion resistant and suitable for installation anywhere in Australia.

    Higher Efficiency Panels

    The highest efficiency panels produced by Canadian Solar are just over 20% efficient. Their higher than average efficiency can be useful when available roof space is limited.

    Canadian Solar Warranties

    Canadian Solar panels now have a 12 year product warranty, which covers them if they fail to work in that time period due to a fault in manufacture. You can read more about solar panel warranties here.

    Company History

    In 1987 the founder of Canadian Solar, Shawn Qu, was earning around $5 a week in today's money teaching in China. That year he moved to Canada and began studying to obtain his masters degree in physics. In 2001 he founded Canadian Solar. In 2019 Canadian Solar was the fifth largest producer of solar panels in terms of global shipments.

    As at 2020, the company has shipped more than 46 gigawatts of modules.

    Shawn Qu now spends most of his time in China and that is understandable, as in winter it is so cold in Canada it is possible to freeze to death in less time than it takes for a bear to find you and eat you.

    Manufacturing Locations And Capacity

    Canadian Solar has 17 manufacturing facilities spread across Asia and the Americas. Its current (2020) module production capacity is approximately 14 GW, while cell manufacturing capacity is around 10 GW.

    2016 Jiangsu Tornado

    The firm experienced a significant setback in June 2016 when a cell manufacturing plant they owned in Funing was hit by the worst tornado in China in 50 years, injuring employees and collapsing almost 4 hectares of factory buildings.

    STVC Solar Scorecard

    Each year the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) produces a report grading solar panel manufacturers on environmental and social responsibility. A low score on this report doesn't mean a company is awful, it can just mean that information wasn't available. So a high score is a good sign while a low score is not a good sign, but not necessarily a bad sign.

    I don’t know why, but Canadian Solar was not included in reports covering recent years. Their score in 2014 was not good as they only came 27th out of 37 companies surveyed, receiving a score of 14 out of a possible 100. But this was better than the score of 7 out of 100 they received in 2013.

    Canadian Solar Builds Solar Farms

    While Canadian Solar doesn't make as many of their own cells as other large panel manufacturers, they do tend to be more heavily involved in the construction of solar farms than most - including large large scale PV power stations here in Australia.

    Warranty Procedure For Orphaned Canadian Solar Customers

    If you have purchased Canadian Solar panels from a solar installer who has since gone out of business, the responsibility for warranty claims shifts to Canadian Solar. Their customer service line in Australia is 03 8609 1844 - affected customers should contact this line for assistance and advice on how to arrange for panel replacement under warranty. Note that Canadian Solar's warranty does not cover labor costs involved in warranty replacement of panels.

    I Am Fine With Recommending Canadian Solar Panels

    Canadian Solar produces tier 1 panels, which means banks and other institutions consider both the panels and the company reliable enough to be a worthwhile investment. And so I have no problem recommending Canadian Solar panels. They are a generally reliable panel that provides good value for money. Just don’t expect them to come from Canada.

  2. Jinko Solar 4.8 210 ratings
  3. Hanwha Q CELLS 4.9 176 ratings
  4. Longi Solar 4.9 178 ratings
  5. Trina 4.9 159 ratings
Inverters

Top 5 Solar Inverter Brands

An inverter is a critical component of a solar power system and the one likely to wear out the fastest, so it’s important to choose a quality, well-backed brand. Below are the top 5 solar inverter brands based on ratings from Australian purchasers.

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  1. Inverter Brand Image

    Fronius

    4.9 Based on 981 ratings

    About the company

    Fronius Customer Service: 03 8340 2900

    Fronius is a European company that was established by founder Günter Fronius in Austria in 1945. Mr. Fronius kicked off with a repair shop for radios and electrical equipment and soon started making battery chargers, then welding transformers.

    The company grew over time from being a welding and battery charger manufacturer to become one of the most prominent European players in the solar market. Fronius’s solar division has been operating in this field since 1992, so they have decades of experience - and this shows in their inverter products.

    In late 2010, Fronius opened its Australian office based in Melbourne where it not only provides customer service and technical assistance, but also offers product demonstrations and training courses.

    Fronius make some of the best inverters in the world. They used to be playing catch up with SMA in terms of industry reputation and quality, but I would argue they have well and truly caught up in recent years. I would happily have one of these inverters on my house.

    The inverters are easy to 'export limit', if your local network insists on this as part of your solar connection agreement. But you do have to buy the 'Fronius Smart Meter (FSM)' accessory to do this (about $500 extra). The FSM also allows full consumption monitoring (over and above solar monitoring) although I am not a fan of the Fronius SolarWeb monitoring software.

    Personally, I prefer Solar Analytics and always recommend adding Solar Analytics to your Fronius inverter and using that for monitoring instead.

    Fronius solar inverters usually come with 2 solar inputs (or MPPTs). Their MPPT efficiency is legendary. And if you have a symmetrical east/west facing roof you can often put both the east and the west array into one input - leaving the second inverter input free for a third roof area.

    The only downside with the Fronius hardware that I am aware of is their inverters are fan cooled and can be rather noisy. Keep them away from living areas!

    Fronius Solar Inverter Warranty Notes

    All Fronius string inverters are accompanied by 5 years Fronius Warranty Plus. However, by registering at www.solarweb.com, customers can receive an additional 5 years warranty free of charge.

    If you should experience what you believe to be a warranty related issue with your inverter, you should first contact the original installer of the unit. However, if that installer is no longer around, don't panic.

    Fronius advise that in this situation they first require the customer to find an qualified solar installer to verify the issue with the inverter - but this needs to be paid for my the customer. Once the issue has been confirmed, the installer will then contact Fronius on your behalf. Fronius will then work with the installer to arrange for replacement of the inverter. If a customer needs help in finding an installer, the company is able to make a recommendation.

  2. Sungrow 4.6 345 ratings
  3. Solaredge 4.8 294 ratings
  4. Enphase 4.9 169 ratings
  5. SMA 4.8 153 ratings
Batteries

Top 5 Solar Battery Brands

A home battery is a significant investment and new-generation energy storage technology is still rapidly evolving. Below are the best-rated brands of solar batteries, as voted by Australians who have had these batteries installed.

View All Solar Battery Reviews

  1. Inverter Brand Image

    Tesla

    5.0 Based on 69 ratings

    About the company

    Tesla, Inc. was founded in 2003, originally as Tesla Motors. Tesla is headquartered in the USA's San Francisco Bay Area, with office locations around the world (including Australia).

    After cutting its teeth on electric vehicle development, Tesla then expanded into commercial and home battery storage. The company arrived on the home energy storage scene accompanied by great fanfare with the Tesla Powerwall battery back in 2015, which was followed by the Powerwall 2 in 2016.

    Tesla has grown into a huge company in terms of market capitalisation - a whopping USD $143.6 *billion* as at late January 2020. 

    Anyway, back to batteries - the following are some basic specifications of the Powerwall 2:

    • Usable Capacity: 13.5 kWh
    • Power: 7kW peak / 5kW continuous
    • Dimensions: 1150 mm L x 753 mm W x 147 mm D
    • Weight: 114 kg
    • Warranty 10 years

    The Powerwall is produced in the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada USA, which also manufactures Tesla Model 3 electric motoers and the company's commercial/utility storage solution, the Powerpack.

    Pricing And Supply

    Supply of the Powerwall 2 was an issue for quite a while in Australia, and then there was a major price rise in 2018 - followed by a not so major price decrease in 2019. So, Australians have had it a little rough with the Powerwall, but its high profile through extensive media attention have seen plenty installed here and interest remains strong.

    The cost of Powerwall 2 per warranted kilowatt hour (see below for notes on warranty) is around 31 cents - not the cheapest, but far from the most expensive of the systems we have listed on our battery comparison table.

    Blackout Capabilities

    The Tesla Powerwall 2 is an AC Coupled battery that comes with the necessary hardware (Tesla Gateway) to provide blackout protection, backup and off grid functions.

    Powerwall's "Unlimited Cycles" Warranty

    Tesla offers a 10 year "unlimited cycles" warranty, but this only applies to solar self-consumption and backup use. Any other application (such as participating in a Virtual Power Plant) or combination of applications sees the warranty cover drop to 3,200 cycles – about eight years’ worth if cycled once a day.

    Reliability Testing Results

    The Canberra Battery Test Centre has been putting the Powerwall 2 through reliability testing. The test battery arrived with a fault and later developed another that resulted in it being replaced.  Results published in September 2019 indicated capacity estimated at 96% after 640 full cycles.  If  maintained, the Powerwall 2 will stay well within the minimum capacity provided by its warranty.

    While not perfect (and Tesla hasn't been overly fond of us pointing out issues), as far as home solar battery storage goes at this point in time the Tesla Powerwall 2 is probably a good choice among what is available.

    Telsa is great at marketing, but how is the Powerwall viewed by those who have one installed? What about after sales service and support? We're inviting Australian Powerwall owners (whether they have the original or Powerwall 2 model) to leave their rating and review here.

  2. LG Chem 4.5 17 ratings
  3. SunGrow 5.0 5 ratings
  4. Sonnen 5.0 5 ratings
  5. Growatt 4.8 5 ratings

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