1. Not understanding the return on investment from solar
The majority of quality solar PV systems will provide an ROI of 3 to 5 years, depending on the amount of power consumed in the home. More often than not purchasing solar will actually be cheaper than continuing to pay your electricity bill. Quite an impressive thought considering the benefits for the environment and the value of your home.
2. Not speaking to an expert to tailor their system to their needs
Adverts for solar on social media or TV are all too often a generic size of 6.6kW. This could potentially be the correct size system for the average homeowner, but a more detailed assessment may reveal the need for a slightly larger (or smaller) system. Solar, when sized correctly, can control multiple appliances, hot water, pools and even A/C. Consideration also needs to be given to any future changes in power consumption, such as electric vehicles, as the way we use energy is changing.
3. Not understanding that their roof does not have to face north or east
The efficiency of solar regardless of orientation will provide an excellent return. Depending on your location within Australia, the difference between a North facing roof and East/West can be 5-10% per annum. In some cases an East/West facing roof can provide a better option if you heavily consume power in the morning or late afternoon. South-facing homes can reduce efficiency by around 20-25% – again depending on location – but still provide a cheaper option than paying your energy provider.
4. Focusing on the panel and inverter rather the company installing the system
You will often see price discrepancies between installers offering the same products and you may wonder why this is. A professional, safe installation takes time and effort and will often be the deciding factor in how long your system lasts. Over the past few years the number of installers has exploded, like any emerging market. Great in many ways, but the flipside of this is that installers are trying to cut costs to stay in business or make more money and something has to give. Unfortunately, this is always in the installation – cheaper cables, isolators and all the little things that make up the balance of system. Pay the correct amount of money to a reputable installer and you will have the peace of mind that the system will be running correctly and you have the back up service in place should anything go away.
5. Not understanding rebates, incentives and how the feed in tariff works
If you Google “solar” or pay attention to adverts on social media you will find endless differing statements about the government rebate. Some information is factual and correct, but a high proportion is not, drawing to your attention that “the rebate is ending this week/month/year”. Too often this misleading information is designed to make the customer rush into an uninformed decision. To find out more about how government solar rebates and incentives work, click here. The feed-in tariff is provided for power you create but do not consume and return to the grid. Depending on your location and energy provider the amount received will differ. Over time the amount received will fluctuate, so this is an important calculation to work into your ROI.
6. Not understanding how to get the best out of your system
When solar is installed, it can often be misinterpreted to believe the only saving is the feed-in tariff credit which appears on the electricity bill. Energy consumed from the system will not appear on the bill, as it simply passes through the inverter to the meter on your home rather than being registered from the grid. As explained above, solar, when used correctly, can make a huge difference to your energy bills. Where possible any power consumption that can be shifted to the window of power created through the day will be supplied by solar, not the grid. On the other end of the scale, adverts on social media will spruik the possibility of wiping out your power bill. In some cases this can occur, but you need to be returning more power to the grid than you are still consuming along with covering your power retailers’ daily supply charge.
7. Relying on one quote only
Solar quotes can be received online, from door-knockers, or by other means. As with anything you intend to purchase, it is worth doing some due diligence and comparing this with a well-established solar business to ensure what you have been recommended is the correct solution for your needs.
8. Overlooking the benefits of system monitoring
Monitoring can be a very helpful tool for maximising your savings from solar energy. Comprehensive monitoring will provide a full picture of your energy consumption, solar production, and power taken from and returned to the grid. This will highlight power loads that you may be able to shift to run through daylight hours to further reduce your overall bill. Monitoring can be viewed as a cheap form of insurance that the system is always performing as it should and it can be tracked back to base through our portal.