Solar panel systems are replacing the public grid to provide electricity to households. So, it’s only natural that many people want to buy solar panels, but they’re not always satisfied with their purchase. Here are the most common solar panels buying mistakes people make.
Mistakes when buying solar
1) Putting off buying solar because you’re waiting for batteries to drop in price
This is probably one of the most common solar panels buying mistakes. There are many reasons to buy a battery. If saving money is your primary goal, any honest solar installer will give you the same advice: They’re not yet at a price point where the gross economy adds up for most people.
At the moment, a Tesla Powerwall battery system will cost you around $19,000 to install and could save you, if everything lines up, $1,000 per year.
2) Do not get multiple quotes
I swear this is not a shameless plug for my website’s free service. It’s critical to get multiple quotes whenever possible (and not just when it comes to solar!) as some unscrupulous installers continue to charge people $15,000 for a $5,000 system. So, not being aware of the market prices is one of the biggest solar panels buying mistakes.
By having multiple companies provide you with a breakdown of how much solar will cost you, you can get a real understanding of whether solar is right for your budget and whether or not you’re being ripped off (either on price or quality).
3) Not knowing how the “rebate” works or how to calculate solar rebates
Another one of the big solar panels buying mistakesI see people making comes from their understanding of how solar “rebates” and feed-in fees (what you get paid for returning excess solar power to the grid) work.
I explain it in more detail here, but to summarize, the solar “rebate” is a financial incentive from the federal government and the feed-in fee is a financial incentive from the state government.
The main misunderstanding about the payoffs of a solar system stems from one of two misconceptions:
1: People think that having a decent-sized solar system means that not only will they never have to pay an electric bill again, but they will also get a big check in the mail every quarter from their electric companies, which is one of the huge solar panels buying mistakes.
This usually only happens if you were lucky enough to sign up for a 40-60c gross feed fee over 10 years ago.
With net feed-in charges hovering around 3-15c per kWh in Australia, the days when a solar system was licensed to print money are long gone.
This doesn’t mean you can’t cut your electric bills significantly with solar – I was still able to get a $33 power bill for a 6-person household.
2: “The only benefits of going solar are the ones your electric company prints on your bill.”
Most people don’t realize that the true benefits of a solar panel like the Canadian Solar Panels are “invisible”—that is, they’re not written on your bill—and they don’t understand that solar system repayments are quicker than they seem. If you thought that too, now you know that is one of the mistakes when buying solar panels.
4) Do not ask blunt questions to separate the wheat from the chaff for the solar installer
The only thing a solar panel distributor hates more than an ACCC investigation is a customer who knows what they’re doing! With knowledge comes power, and if a rogue installer figures out that you know solar, their ability to rip you off is just sunk and they know it. So, not having some knowledge of solar panels is among the solar panels buying mistakes.
Always, always, always verify information independently, whenever possible. There are numerous resources available to help you verify what solar sellers are telling you (Whirlpool forums are one of my favorite sources of such information). Still, if Google can’t help you, I will. Just email me here.
5) Not knowing the right size system for you
This is another one of the mistakes when buying solar panels and is easier to figure out because most reputable solar installers will sit you down and analyze your electricity usage before providing you with an estimate.
They’ll ask you what your financial goals are and how much you’re willing to spend to achieve those goals because it’s not as simple as buying a size solar system that matches your energy usage. Installers will tell you what largest PV system size allowed for your home in your city. The biggest solar panels buying mistakes I see these days is that people’s systems are too small.
6) Not going solar because you don’t get enough sunlight
This could not be further from the truth! The efficiency of solar panels has gotten to the point where even if your panels are not facing north, you only lose 10-15% of your solar system output, which means your investment in the system is still worth it.
Depending on what time of day you use your electricity, it may make more sense for your solar panels to face east or west (for morning or evening electricity-intensive habits, respectively). I go into more detail on this topic here. There you go! The top 6 solar panels buying mistakes. For more info, contact our solar equipment shop.