What Do I Need To Know Before Buying A Solar System? - 4 Traps To Avoid!

Unfortunately there can be a few traps when buying a solar system, but you don’t need to fall into any of them. We have listed four common ones below, along with tips on how to avoid those traps. Taking the time to read this could save you a lot of grief.

TRAP 1 - False or misleading statements, such as

“Your solar system will store power to use at night” It doesn’t - unless you also install a battery system.. See - Should I get battery storage?

“The government will send you a cheque for the power you will produce” Or "There is a government subsidy for installing batteries" This and some similar claims are not true, however there are some great incentives you can take advantage of. See - Are Government incentives still available?

“You will get a big system (e.g. 4kw or 5kw) for this advertised price” . In some cases you only get an inverter that size but a much smaller amount of panels (e.g. 1.5kw). Your system's production comes from the solar panels so you really end up with a small system regardless of inverter size. See - How does a solar system work?

How to avoid this trap

  • Firstly, double check (do research on) promises that don’t seem right or seem too good to be true. Asking for them in writing is a good idea.

  • Deal with someone you can trust. Dealing directly with a local business owner (like The Solar Power Pro), who is concerned with his reputation, is much more of a safeguard than dealing with a salesman on commission.

  • Deal directly with an accredited solar designer and installer (like The Solar Power Pro) who has signed up to the CEC code of conduct and is answerable to the accrediting authority.

TRAP 2 - Being sold a system that won’t work properly

Some solar systems have been installed in a way that gets very poor results. This can be due to the site not being suitable for solar power (large amounts of shading etc) or other flaws in the design process – see Is my roof suitable for solar panels?

How to avoid this trap

  • Make sure you get proper on site assessment before going ahead with your installation.

  • You can ask for a site specific performance estimate for the proposed system. As this is normally given in Kilowatt hours produced - which doesn’t always mean a lot to many customers - ask also for the estimated percentage of possible output expected. (Most of us understand that 90% is pretty good and 60% is pretty average).

TRAP 3 – Poor quality / unsafe workmanship

This is a real danger. Unfortunately, there are still some cowboys out there. Poor quality workmanship can result in low production, reduced life of the system, problems with roof leaks and safety hazards.

How to avoid this trap

  • Make sure you’re dealing with an accredited installer. Every accredited installer is issued with a photo ID. Ask to see it when you are given the quote. (I always carry mine, and am happy to show it to you – even though it’s a terrible pic!)

  • Be very wary of really cheaply priced systems. Not only does this often mean cheap components, but it usually means that sub contract installers have been screwed down in price. When that’s the case there is the temptation to cut corners or compromise on quality of workmanship - and that's what often happens!

  • Remember, the sweetness of a cheap price is soon replaced by the bitterness of poor quality!

TRAP 4 - Not getting what you paid for

Customers can be told “You are getting the best quality solar panels and inverter” but in fact budget quality panels and/or inverter is what ends up being installed.

How to avoid this trap

  • Ask for the actual brand of panel and inverter and check (research) that they are quality items.

  • Beware of fine print that says that other brands can be substituted if original not available. (With us, if there is an issue with supply we will let you know and get your approval of any change before going ahead with the installation).

  • On the day of install, physically check that the brand of inverter and solar panels was the one you were promised.

Our top tip for avoiding these and other traps

Call The Solar Power Pro! - contact Guy directly, see - Contact or see six reasons to deal with The Solar Power Pro listed on our Home page