Solar Providers Near me
Australia has experienced a massive adoption of solar energy over the past few years. Many homeowners are jumping onto the solar bandwagon to enjoy enormous energy savings.
However, some homes don’t end up with the results they expected because of the solar provider they chose.
That’s why you should be very keen to hire the right solar provider when thinking of adding solar to your home.
The total amount you’ll spend on solar providers will mainly be determined by your solar system’s size and your location in the country.
This is because the government’s federal rebate program awards Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) based on these factors. The certificates can be traded for a point-of-sale discount or, rebate, on the overall price of your solar system.
Typically, bigger solar systems will receive more rebates than smaller ones, even though their overall prices will still be higher.
The right size of solar system for your home will depend on your energy consumption habits and the number of people around.
You’ll also receive more rebates on your solar system if you live in a region with a high sunlight intensity – as it means you can produce more solar energy with fewer solar panels. The government determines this by dividing different states into zones.
Another factor that may influence your costs is the brand and quality of your solar panels, inverters and other components.
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Choosing a good solar provider near me
With the Australian market now flooded with solar providers, choosing a good provider has never been more challenging. Today more than ever, homeowners are crying foul after falling for shady solar providers.
Here are some useful tips to help you maneuver this market and find the right provider.
Tip 1: Get Multiple quotes
Choosing your provider is no different than selecting contractors like plumbers or electricians for a home improvement project. If you don’t know the actual costs for the solar job, the provider may charge you exorbitant prices.
That’s why getting multiple quotes is crucial. With at least 3 quotes, you’ll have a better feel for the prices, which will help you negotiate better rates.
Don’t automatically go for the cheapest provider, even if you’re on a budget. Ask yourself which corners they’re cutting to compete at that price.
Likewise, the most expensive provider won’t always provide the best services. Check the details of each quote to understand which services they’ve included.
Tip 2: Check the provider’s licensing and certifications
Licensing should always be the first thing you look for when comparing solar providers. Every solar provider in Australia should be a holder of at least an electrical contractor’s license. Their installers should also be recognized and accredited by the Clean Energy Council (CEC).
Check your state government’s website for other requirements and permits that a solar provider needs to meet.
You should also ask the provider if they subcontract any of their services or they use in-house personnel to ensure that quality isn’t compromised.
Tip 3: Look for local providers
Even though some of the national providers have good reviews and reputations, none of them can deliver a better job than a local provider.
Solar providers in your area understand the local laws, regulations, rebates, and even the weather. Their success in previous jobs in the area ensures that they can recommend solutions that give the best results within the neighbourhood.
Another big plus is that local providers are easily accessible, making it easier to hold them accountable. If you have any issue with their services, you can simply walk to their office and express your concerns.
Tip 4: Check online reviews on multiple sites
The internet can be a goldmine for valuable information about solar providers if you check the right websites. Look at the solar provider ratings and reviews on multiple sites to ensure that previous clients of the provider loved their services.
Be more careful if a provider has too many positive or negative reviews. Some companies today pay for fake positive reviews.
Another fast and easy way to do this is by using our free service on gosolarquotes.com. In just three easy steps, we will provide you with estimates from the top 3 solar providers in your area.
All you’ll have to do is scroll up to the top of the page and enter your ZIP Code in the blue form at the top. Give us a few details about your solar job plus some contact information, and we’ll forward them to the closest three solar providers, all voted best priced, who will also price your solar job.
IMPORTANT: There is no obligation to hire any of the providers. This is a free tool and service to be used at your pleasure.
Questions to ask Solar Providers
Asking questions is always the best way to vet a solar provider and find out if they know what they’re doing. With the right questions, you’ll easily be able to separate the stellar providers from the inexperienced bunch.
Here are examples of the questions you can ask.
Do you offer customized solutions?
A good solar provider knows that homeowners switch to solar for different reasons. Some want grid independence, others energy savings, others reducing their carbon foot-print while others want to improve their home’s resale value.
This means that a one-fits-all solution doesn’t exist. The provider should be able to customize different solutions to meet your needs.
What is the return on investment?
Even if your reason for getting solar was different, you need to have a solar system that will pay itself quickly. The solar system should cut down your energy costs by around 70% and should pay itself within five years or so.
Ask the provider if they can guarantee or at least promise that the system can achieve this based on their designs.
Do you offer warranties?
Every good solar provider should offer a warranty for their services. A warranty shows that the provider has faith that their workmanship will last for a long-time. It also saves you the repair costs in case you experience some faults after installation.
Ask them how long their warranties will last. The industry standard is a 25-year performance warranty and 12-year workmanship guarantee.
How’s your reputation in the industry?
The reputation of a solar provider is a reflection of the quality of services they offer. You want to work with a provider who’s been around for several years and has served multiple clients before.
Ask them for client feedback and testimonials of past successful projects, and check their website or social media for more.
Do you offer any financing options?
Many solar providers offer different financing options to their clients. Ask them which one they offer and which one they’d recommend for your home. Don’t let them pressure you to get an option, but ensure they clearly explain each package.
Hiring Solar providers in my area
Once you’ve identified your pool of potential providers in your area, choosing the best of them is your final step. Here are some tips that can help you pick out a top provider:
Recommendations is the way
Online reviews may be useful, but nothing can beat the word-of-mouth recommendations from a person who’s worked with that solar provider before.
So, walk around your neighbourhood and ask your neighbours with solar about their experience with the provider.
Your friends and family will also inform you of their price ranges and whether they follow up after completing their services.
Have everything in writing
Talking, designing, planning and budgeting with a solar provider are good, but it means nothing if it’s not written down in a contract. Ensure that the solar provider is willing to document everything you discuss in a contract before work starts.
Read through the contract they give and ensure that it has the agreed payment schedules, the start and completion dates, copy of insurance and warranty, and other agreed-upon factors.
Working without a written contract exposes you to numerous spontaneous changes, which could be costly.
Go with your gut
If you’ve considered experience, reputation, licensing and certifications, but you still can’t choose between contractors, your gut is the next best thing.
Consider how the provider speaks and acts towards your project. If you don’t like them for whatever reason, avoid them. Choose to only hire the provider that you trust completely, not 90%.
Moreover, the job could take days to weeks, meaning the provider will be in your home for a while. If you don’t like them, that could cause a lot of frustration once the job starts.
Some of the biggest solar disasters can be avoided if more homeowners did this.
Settle payment details upfront
How much should you pay upfront? When should you complete the payment instalments? These are the questions you need to be answered before the solar work begins.
You’ll learn a lot about the solar provider by how they handle financial matters. If they need more than 50% upfront, that could indicate they don’t trust that you’ll pay the full amount on completion.
However, work out a plan that suits your budget and is also acceptable to the provider and ensure it’s written in a contract.
Learn about the technology
Just because the solar provider told you that they’re using the best panels and inverters in the market doesn’t mean you should take their word for it. You don’t have to fully understand everything about solar, just the overview of how different things work.
For instance, look into Tier 1 solar panels and the solar brands that fall in that category.
Knowing such details will ensure that you easily understand what the provider is doing, and you can rule out any provider who isn’t using a Tier 1 component.
You’ll also have a better understanding of each technology’s price and be better when negotiating the project costs.
Whether or not solar systems are worth your money depends on your location and energy consumption patterns.
One of the best reasons to install solar is to cut costs if you live in areas with high electricity rates. For instance, a homeowner spending nearly 30 cents per kW for electricity is better suited to benefit from solar than one spending 10 cents.
If you don’t know how much you spend on electricity, use an online calculator to see how much you’ll save.
Even if you don’t live in a sunny area, going solar could actually be cheaper due to the high electricity rates.
The cost of solar systems is also now cheaper than ever, making it a worthwhile investment for any homeowner.
It depends on your location. However, the national average of the 5kW system stands at around $4,633. The costs are higher in states like Victoria, about $5,440 and Queensland, about $4,980.
You’ll spend much lower if you live in Western Australia, around $3,650 and New South Wales, about $4,450.
Cost and the fact that it relies on the weather. Although the price of solar panels has plummeted over the past decade, its initial investment costs are still relatively high for the average homeowner. Nonetheless, you can try multiple financing options to reduce these costs.
Solar panel’s reliance on sunlight means that you won’t be able to rely on them during those rainy and cloudy seasons. Even though solar could still generate some energy, their efficiency is lower, and so, the output won’t be enough.
Solar also doesn’t work at night, meaning you may have to rely on grid-power or invest in the more expensive solar batteries.
The rebate amount varies by state and size of your solar system. It ranges between $1,225 – $5,775 for solar systems between 2.5kW and 10kW. The formula for calculating the actual rebate you may receive is:
Size of solar system X Postal code rating X Deeming period X STC spot price.
These amounts are, however, reducing every year by 1/15 as the government plans to phase out this program by 2030.
Author: Ben McInerney is a renewable energy enthusiast with the goal of helping more Australians understand solar systems to make the best choice before they purchase. Having an accredited solar installer in the family helps give Ben access to the correct information, which allows him to break it down and make it easily understandable to the average homeowner.