The Clean Energy Council–the independent body for solar installer and component accreditation in Australia–has released a helpful guide for those interested in making the move to installing a solar photovoltaic (PV) system at home. The CEC has also simultaneously published a myth-busting FAQ which dismantles some of the erroneous arguments and clears up some of the popular misconceptions regarding solar PV technology.
Clean Energy Council’s top 10 pieces of advice for installing solar power
The CEC’s main role in Australia, in addition to being a clean energy advocacy group, is to ensure that the solar panels, inverters, and installation companies meet certain minimum safety and quality standards.
1. Be an informed consumer.
Research your options, be clear on your needs and compare quotes. (Solar Choice offers free, instant, impartial Solar Power Quote Comparisons from installers across Australia–request a price and product comparison now.)
2. Know your daily electricity consumption.
By understanding what you use, you can assess how much you would like your solar system to generate, depending on your budget. Read more: What size solar power system best suits your needs?
3. Get an estimate of how much energy your system will generate.
Your contract should include an estimate of the average daily output of your system in kilowatt-hours (based on where you live and the size and position of your system). Read more: How much power will my solar system generate?
4. Check with your electricity retailer.
Never purchase a solar system without knowing what rate you will be paid for the electricity you generate and whether this will affect any hourly rates in your electricity bill. Read more: Comparing electricity prices.
5. Always use a Clean Energy Council Accredited Installer.
You can check your installer is accredited at www.solaraccreditation.com.au. (All solar PV installers in the Solar Choice network have CEC accreditation.)
6. Avoid signing up on the spot.
You should not feel pressured to sign a contract on the spot. Take the time to understand up-front costs, warranties and pay back of your solar PV system. (Solar Choice is a free and impartial brokering and advice service; we never pressure our customers to install or push them towards any one installer or product. Read more about Solar Choice’s services.)
7. Use products that meet Australian standards.
Your installer must provide proof the panels and inverters meet the standards. You can also check the product list at www.solaraccreditation.com.au.
8. Check the conditions of product warranties and work guarantees.
Know who is providing the warranty (manufacturer or importer) and how long it lasts. Read more: Solar PV system warranties.
9. Keep the documentation.
A copy of your contract is necessary to resolve any disputes down the track.
10. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you are new to the solar market and need advice, give Solar Choice a ring on 1300 78 72 73 or fill out the form to the right of this page to receive a free and instant Quote Comparison.
10 solar PV myths: Busted
Solar PV is a technology that has received a lot of negative press in the media for a number of reasons, from bona fide bad government policy to manufactured anti-renewable propaganda. The CEC has attempted to set the record straight by publishing a short pamphlet pointing out some popular myths about solar power and the facts behind them.
Read the FAQ (PDF)
© 2012 Solar Choice Pty Ltd
He is now the communications manager for energy technology startup SwitchDin, but remains an occasional contributor to the Solar Choice blog.
James lives in Newcastle in a house with a weird solar system.
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