Households across the country are reeling from yet another electricity price hike, with the average household set to hand over an extra $600 of hard earned cash to their electricity retailers this year.
With no end in sight anytime soon, how long can you endure being a slave to your electricity bill. Short of washing your clothes in the river, and dining by candlelight each night, how can you break the cycle?
As energy prices rise, so too, do feed in tariffs, so it’s not all doom and gloom. Right now, the feed in tariffs are running anywhere from 10cent to 15cents, depending on your retailer, that’s as much as an 82% increase.
Suddenly solar energy makes more sense than ever before. With rapid advancement in technology, and falling prices on solar systems, households stand to see a return on their investment in clean affordable energy much quicker than ever before.
So now you’re on board with solar (it’s a no brainer), the next step is just to find yourself a reputable solar company that can give you the solution that suits your lifestyle. With so many new entrants into the solar market, how can you rest easy knowing you’ve chosen the right solar partner for you, and let’s face it, it is a partnership. Investing in solar energy is a long-term investment in your energy security for many years to come.
To help you spot the energy warriors from the salesmen, we’ve put together a couple of key points to help you navigate your way to a sound decision.
- How long have they been in business? Choose a company who will be around long enough to honour the warranties they offer. A company that deals exclusively in solar is also one to be weary of, with government policies changing so often, solar can plummet overnight and leave companies floundering, especially if their cash flow comes from one source. Find a company that has a number of different income sources, so you know you can call on them in five to ten years’ time. At SAE Group, we are a local energy company, established in 2009, and have more than 15 years’ experience in the industry. Did you know we are also responsible for large scale design and installation of underground and overhead services among other things, yep we are busy futureproofing your community as well.
- Playing the long game don’t be lured in by just a competitive price, technology is moving fast and it’s an exciting time to make the move the renewable energy. While you may not be ready for battery storage just yet, make sure the system you choose is battery ready, and if you’re serious about investing in your energy security, look for a provider who has experience in off-grid solutions as well, you will stand to benefit from their experience and knowledge.
- The goods There are literally hundreds of brands to choose from and few of them have an identifiable brand you may have heard of, so short of calling Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, how can you make an informed choice to make sure your getting a quality product that will serve you well in to the future.
Panels. Panel manufacturers are graded to help you though this process, look for tier one products. These manufacturers are vertically integrated which essentially means they sell what they make and are willing to put their name behind it. Tier One manufacturers also invest heavily an R&D, and use advanced robotic processes which means mush less room for error in the construction process, oh and to qualify for this rating they must have been manufacturing for a minimum of five years. It does get tricky however, this does not necessarily mean it’s the best products on the market, but it does give you an indication of the financial viability of the company. Inverters. The inverter takes DC goodness from your roof top and converts to AC to power your home so reliability is key. The last thing you want is to find out your inverter has failed when you get a hefty electricity bill and with so many cheap inverters flooding the Australian market at the moment this happens more than you think. It pays to work with a partner who has a solid history selling quality inverters for a good period of time. They won’t keep selling them if they are failing. At SAE our directors, who also happen to be qualified electrical contractors, have undertaken a stringent quality assurance process by personally visiting the factories of the products they stand behind.
Cabling And here is the game changer, SAE personally grade and select all cabling and wiring to ensure your system will continue to work at its optimum capacity at all times. If the cabling is too long, or thin, resistance occurs and your system output suffers. Because SAE install your system first hand (not a contractor in sight) we pride ourselves on delivering best practise installation and quality cabling as our standard.
- Installation when an industry grows exponentially in a short space of time, problems can often arise (we all remember the home insulation program). Ask the question, who is installing your solar system? Are they accredited electrical contractors? Should it come to pass you need to use your warranty, where does the buck stop? With the subcontracted installer? The answer is NO. At SAE, we don’t subcontract our work, we only employ accredited electricians which means the buck stops with us, and we stand by our workmanship on every job we do. If you have a fault occur you can call us for both your products (panels, and inverters, cabling) and installation warranty.
- Warranty just what does that mean in the solar industry? Let’s just say it’s not a fun experience trying to track down your manufacturer for product support in a foreign country. Then there’s the question of just what your warranty covers. At SAE we don’t pass the buck, we have a door for you to knock on, and we
- Read between the lines…If it looks too good to be true, then it usually is. Look for the gaps in the information you’re provided, there are plenty of deals out there promoting a well-known battery brand or inverter packaged in with generic panels or vice versa such as generic panels and inverters. Closely check your warranty, just what are you covered for and who can you turn to if your system fails.
- Customer reviews Do your homework, we live in a world now where you don’t need to take the sales persons word for it. You can quickly and easily get a holistic view of a company’s behaviour and interaction with their customers, this way you’ll get a feel for the entire experience from sales through to installation and beyond. Check out review sites such as Google reviews, and Australian solar quotes
Power to the People! Over and out.