Beware of deals that seem too good to be true, we often make repairs on cheap panels and components not installed by us. Is your solar company still going to be there in 5 years time? At RPC we offer the highest quality in product and service, and have done for 23 years! Is the Cheapest Solar Installation the Best?
Like the Pink Batts industry, the solar industry has been inundated with a lot of new players. While competition has the benefit of keeping prices low, there is no doubt that some companies are 'cutting a lot of corners' which can have longevity and safety questions. There are companies which use call centres or web orders to sign up customers on the cheap.
Some things to consider when choosing a solar company include:
1) How many accredited solar installers & licensed electricians does the company employ? How long have they been in business for? Are they just a call centre or web shop in someone’s back yard? Some companies sub-contract out the work to unemployed builders labourers to install the panels & sub-contract a sparkie to do the final connection.
If your system is all installed by sub-contractors, will there be anyone around in 5 years time if you have a problem?
2) Are the main components tested & approved? Do your homework.
Approved Panels & Inverters
3) How good is the warranty?
We sell top quality Japanese (Kyocera) and Chinese (Trina) brand panels.
Trina Solar is the 2nd largest solar panel manufacturer in China.
A large array of both the Kyocera & Trina panels have been under test for a few years near Alice Springs, at the Desert Knowledge site .
Trina Panels have performed very well to specification, second only to the Kyocera brand.
You should be aware that a Chinese warranty is only as good as the Chinese company and the Australian importer and panel seller. Many small Chinese Manufacturers have recently gone bankrupt.
On the other hand Trina Solar is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (TSL) and posted a profit of US$313M in the fourth quarter of 2009. [Edit: In 2017, Trina was purchased for an estimated total of $1.1 billion and is now part of private company Fortune Solar Holdings Ltd.]
4) What will the quality of your installation be like? Will the installation be done to a high quality if installers are sub-contracted at so many dollars per job? We have seen installations where the panels are attached to flimsy frames that are only attached to the iron on a corrugated iron roof with no screws or bolts into the timber battens!
5) What is the quality of the panel connectors, fusing, cables and circuit breakers? Some panel installations are operating with a DC current of several hundred volts! For an excellent article about sub standard installation accessories by DSKH Pty Ltd see: Safety in PV installations
To conclude, we would suggest that the cheapest installation may not be in your best interests. Choose a company with a proven track record who will be there for you in 5-10 years if you need them!