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Why Cheap Solar could end up costing you in the long run.

We are all guilty of it.  We start researching a product or project and then finding ourselves typing into Google the inevitable – “Best Cheap Solar”.  That one little word “cheap” can steer you on a path of throwing good money out the window before you know it.

The 7.30 report on the ABC reported last year that Australians obsession with cheap solar was derailing the market and, as electricians committed to quality work, service and offering the best quality products, we would have to agree.

You see, at the moment, Australia’s need for “cheap” is creating a demand on subpar products that not only aren’t lasting their expected lifespan but are also creating safety issues that are potentially life threatening.

Recent statistics on imports  show that approx. 60 % of panels coming into Australia are not Tier 1 which is a great cause for concern, because when these low end panels start to fail, consumers can find themselves having an uphill battle getting low-cost solar companies to honour the panel warranty because they never read or understood the fine print.

Here is a great checklist to consider when comparing solar panel warranties

  1. Check the “Product Warranty period”
  2. How long has the Company been manufacturing solar panels?
  3. Ask about their manufacturing production volume which will give an indication of size of the manufacturer. Bigger manufacturers are generally higher quality and less likely to go broke and may back their warranty with an insurance company.  This gives you added peace of mind should something unforeseen happen with the company.
  4. Understand warranty terms and their warranty periods
    • Installation warranty – usually 1 or 2 years and can be up to 10 years in some cases (this should be provided by the installer)
    • Inverter warranty – usually 5 years (may have a  10+ year optional upgrade depending on manufacturer)
    • Panel performance warranty – 25 years (Industry standard)
    • Panel product warranty – generally 5 or 10 years.

So, how do you know what to look for when finding the best value for your money? At Power Up Solar, we believe that if we wouldn’t install it in our own home, then we won’t install it in yours.  We see all too often how things can go seriously south when you buy a cheap solar system and that’s why we are giving you some insider information that may help you make your decision a whole lot easier.  This information is based on our 20+ years of installing solar systems so we have seen it all!

  1. Be careful of that fine print with the ever crafty “lure and switch” trickery. Companies advertising genuine Tier 1 solar panels and inverters may have written that they reserve their right to swap out the components for components that are “equivalent” and right before your eyes you go from a brand you can trust to an unknown brand that is guaranteed for nothing but headaches.
  2. Check your installers qualifications and ensure they are backed by industry regulators.  Low cost installation rates can result in low quality installations.  As expert electricians we know that High Voltage DC is completely safe if installed correctly but it can be disastrous when it’s not, so make sure your installer is qualified and is given adequate time to install your solar system correctly.
  3. Look for quality inverters because the cheap ones don’t last!  With a cheap one, you may be lucky to get 3 years out of it and although they can be easier to replace than panels under warranty, some manufacturers can blame the fault on other issues such as grid spikes.  With our grid voltage all over the shop, you really need to choose a quality inverter that can cope with the Australian environment including our grid system.
  4. Talk to someone in the know and preferably an electrician.  Purchasing solar from a sales rep is one sure fire way to no power.  With no technical qualifications and generally on a commission only structure, they just might not have your best interest at heart.
  5. Look for a product and business that will be around in the future, a brand that has a proven track record and will be there to support you as you want to grow or should things fail.  

Purchasing solar can be a head scratcher with so much to consider, so spend time really understanding the terms of your warranty which should give you valuable insights into how the company operate and don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions!

We hope that gives you some valuable information to get you on track to choosing the right product to suit your needs.