Buying new solar panels can be tricky if you have no idea what you’re looking for. That’s why we compiled a list of the most common mistakes people make when purchasing solar panels, so you can avoid them when you go out and buy your own system. Of course, it’s understandable that buying solar panels can be a pretty big deal since there are so many variables that need to be examined prior to installation. These variables can include but are not limited to factors related to roofing requirements, type of solar panels needed and/or desired, location and obstruction analysis, weather variations, financing options, and cost/benefit calculations.

As overwhelming as it seems, you definitely don’t want to rush into any purchase without doing your homework. The point of a solar system purchase is to be able to enjoy the benefits rather than taking a loss or committing to a dissatisfying investment.

Although there are several factors to be aware of during the research process of buying a solar panel system, there are five top mistakes that you can avoid to make sure that not only your investment is beneficial all around, the experience is also pleasant.

  1. Bigger is not always better

If you are not using the power as it’s produced, the excess flows to the grid and you loose two thirds of its value. To size a system correctly it is important that we review your power bills for a complete year and consider your day time usage when designing your system. Technology doesn’t stand still; every year new and improved products reach the market. The solar industry isn’t any different. Everywhere around the world, scientists are continuously trying to develop more efficient, thinner, and less expensive solar cells. Waiting for the latest technology to buy solar panels will most likely mean that you’ll never end up buying them at all. At this stage, solar cells are quite efficient already, so a solar investment is well worth your money at any time.

  1. Do your research!

Check reviews and testimonials. It’s easy, just Google the company (eg. Clean NRG review, for example.  It is very important to check their credentials and quality of the products they offer.  Are they a Clean Energy Council accredited Retailer? Buying solar panels without knowing what you’re looking for will make your search that much harder. The first question you need to ask yourself is ‘How much solar power do I need?’. If you don’t know the answer to this question, you may end up buying a solar panel that is too small, or one that is too big for the appliances you want to run on solar power. This means you could either run out of power, or you could have saved yourself some more dollars buying a smaller sized panel. You’ll also need to consider what type of panel you prefer: mounted or portable solar panels? Do you want monocrystalline or multi-crystalline solar cells? Have you thought about purchasing solar batteries as part of your solar setup? We suggest doing a little research beforehand, so you can feel more confident with your purchase

  1. Buy Local, stay local

Choose a company based in Perth, WA. Its very difficult to control the quality of the install. Remember it’s the install / wiring configuration that can make all the difference. Some interstate companies often pull up stumps and leave the state which can make it very difficult for any after sales service. There are a lot of components to a full Solar system so you never know when you might need prompt local help, here in Perth. In this day and age, you can practically buy and sell anything online. Companies don’t really need experience in the products they’re selling. Although this is easy, buying solar panels from an organisation without any solar knowledge (e.g. drop shippers) means that you can’t ask any questions, it’s more difficult to claim warranty, and you’ll have to install your mounted solar panels yourself. Being able to contact solar experts at any given time is a major benefit!

  1. You get what you pay for

Being tempted by a cheap price and not considering the quality of the goods or the hidden extras can be dangerous. Always check the quality of the products, warranty and after sales service.

We all know that solar panels can be expensive and usually require a fair investment. With general living expenses rising steadily, it is understandable that you may want to save money on your solar purchase. However, placing the quality of your solar panels in the shadow of lower price tags may eventually cost you more. When it comes to buying solar panels, it is good to remember that ‘you get what you pay for’. There is a reason why those panels are cheaper. Cheaper solar panels usually reveal a lower performance, are constructed with less sturdy and non-weather resistant components, and show power loss because of thin cabling. This means that while you may have bought a panel of 120W, it may only operate at 90W and not give you enough power. Saving money on your solar panels by neglecting their quality is not the way to go!

  1. Beware of ‘Off the shelf’ Packaged Solar systems

Every home and business is different and uses power differently. Customised systems will always save you money in the long term.

Solar panels need to be able to withstand the harsh Australian weather and as such it is important for them to be constructed with high quality components. Check that the cabling is thicker than 3mm; thin cabling results in voltage loss which means that your panels will be less efficient. Make sure that your new panel is constructed with an aluminium frame and sturdy legs, so your panel stands steady on the ground. Finally, ensure your panel has solar cells with a proven performance rather than the cheaper, unknown cells. This guarantees your panel will go the distance.

Solar panels need to be able to withstand the harsh Australian weather and as such it is important for them to be constructed with high quality components. Check that the cabling is thicker than 3mm; thin cabling results in voltage loss which means that your panels will be less efficient. Make sure that your new panel is constructed with an aluminium frame and sturdy legs, so your panel stands steady on the ground. Finally, ensure your panel has solar cells with a proven performance rather than the cheaper, unknown cells. This guarantees your panel will go the distance.

About Craig Donohue

Established in 2010, Craig Donohue is the founder of Clean NRG Perth. He has always had a passion for sustainability. From an early age Craig has had a desire to reduce his carbon footprint and his electricity bills. The opportunity came up to start a Solar energy business and Craig has never looked back. With 30+ years experience in retail and B2B, he has an excellent understanding of the importance of superior customer service and has an excellent reputation in the industry. Craig has been employed by some of the world’s largest companies including Sanyo and Toshiba. He prides himself on an open door policy and is always available to meet with clients be it face to face or over the phone.

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