Its really confusing with all the different messages on TV and social media about Solar. Not to mention your well intending family member who tells you all about their great deal. Every home and every househould has different needs. A professional solar company will work with you to figure out your home’s power usage and the right sort of solar system to suit both your power needs and the roof space you have available. But here are some other ways to make sure you get the best system.
You should not compare prices for same size systems
Many of the ads for selling solar will have a set size system, eg a 6.6 kw system for a set price point. People then go about thinking that all 6.6 kw systems are the same when there are such big differences in quality, longevity and performance.
It’s a bit like seeing the price for a 4 cylinder car and thinking that all cars with 4 cylinders are the same. A 4 cylinder Mercedes is not comparable to a 4 cylinder Kia, based on quality of parts, performance and durability. That’s why there is a price difference.
So when you see a low price point for a Solar system, the cost reduction is generally due to using panels and inverters that are of a lower quality and do not operate with great efficiency.
It is always better to compare prices for the exact same panels and inverters, not the KW size of the system.
A quality installation can save you money
Another analogy is having a painter come to paint the exterior of your home. You got some quotes and went with the least expensive one. He might paint the house but with an inferior generic paint that doesn’t have great UV resistance . They may use a spray gun and cause a bit of a mess. The more expensive painter would have used a premium paint product, ensured they did 3 coats, an extremely neat job and no need to repaint your home for 20 years.
You need to know if your installation includes premium mounting systems that are suitable for your roof. On a tile roof are they installing the tile brackets correctly to prevent water leaks by grindout out the tile so they sit flush to prevent water leaks.
An inferior installation can be a costly mistake if you’re left with broken roof tiles, a system that does not work properly or causes leaks into your home.
How to choose the right size system for your home?
If a solar system is too small for the needs of your household, it’s not going to be the return on investment you hope for. When choosing the right size solar system for your home, you need to make sure to address these are the questions. It is also important to ask if your system can be expanded to add more panels at a later date and also have a storage battery fitted to it.
String Inverters & Micro Inverters – the two main types of Solar PV you need to know.
The difference between the traditional string inverter and new style micro inverter
A traditional solar PV system is a string inverter that refers to all panels being strung together by cabling to work as one. If one panel is affected by shade or any other issue it affects the performance of the whole system. The system will only work as well as the worst performing panel. String inverters can generally not be added to if your energy needs increase. Some are also not compatible with solar batteries.
A Micro inverter system is where a small inverter is under each individual panel and each panel works as an individual to produce its energy. If 3 panels are in shade for part of the day, they may run slightly lower than the other for a time but all the other panels will continue to run at optimum performance. Micro inverters are more efficient by 15-20% than a string inverter of equal size. They are the systems that you can add more panels to very simply and are also battery ready.
Future proofing your Solar system.
Your solar will be working for you for many years to come, so it’s important to make sure you have the flexibility to add to your system if your future needs change. Being able to add panels onto your existing system is an important consideration for things like
- Adding air conditioning/ducted air
- Adding a swimming pool as pool filters use a lot of electricity
- Renovating to a larger home or having more people live in your home
- In the future having an electric car to charge.
- Working from home more
You need to know if the system you are looking at installing can be added on to with both panels and batteries, otherwise your investment wont be have a potential to grow with you.
Monitor your Homes Solar production on your phone with an app.
Did you know you can use an app on your phone to see your solar production as also your energy consumption? Setting up your solar with a monitoring system is pivotal to your return on investment and understanding how you can save energy. Why would you invest so much money into solar power without being able to see it work in your home?
A quality solar system will come with a monitoring platform inbuilt or some can be added at the time of install. An app lets you monitor not only the electricity your solar system produces but also the amount of energy you use everyday. You can view daily, monthly or even 15min intervals usage.
Being able to see how and when you use electricity can help you make small changes and this a great way to see a quicker payback on your solar investment. A full monitoring platform that comes with a Micro inverter system shows what you are feeding into the grid and this helps with sizing the right battery later down the track.
How to get the perfect system for your home
Its great to read and research Solar power but the best way to ensure you get the best system for your needs is to have a Solar specialist come and do an on site quote at your home. At Solar Partners we make sure our customers have a customised solar solutions to meet not only there current needs but also to ensure it can be added to with panels and a battery in the future.