While the process of buying a solar PV system can be daunting, it doesn’t have to be, especially if you have equipped yourself with the right questions to ask and know what to look out for. There are many things to consider however, we have listed below three topics that we consider to be imperative when looking to buy a solar PV system.
Solar Equipment & Standards
Firstly, what is the solar equipment and secondly, how to find out if the solar equipment complies with the Australian and International standards and compliance requirements.
The solar equipment is the PV modules (Solar Panels), inverters and the B.O.S (Balance Of System), which is all of the other materials required to make the PV system function. There area few things to consider when it comes to the PV modules :
- Panel type – There are three main panel types on the market; Monocrystalline Silicon, Multicrystalline (or Polycrystalline) Silicon and Thin-film. For your easy reference, below is a brief description of each panel:
- a. Monocrystalline Silicon – This is the most efficient in converting sunlight into electricity. They are suitable for installation areas that have limited space available. However, they can be expensive.
- b. Multicrystalline (or Polycrystalline) Silicon – This type of panel is slightly less efficient than the monocrystalline. This panel type is most commonly used in the market when there are no limitations on the installation area.
- c. Thin-Film – The efficiency of the thin film has the lowest conversion rate of the three, and is best used for mass production.
- Panel Efficiency – It’s important to understand the conversion efficiency and the cost implications that will apply when selecting solar panels. As mentioned earlier, Monocrystalline panels are the most effective in converting sunlight into electricity however, the panels are more difficult to produce and as a result have a higher cost to power ratio. Although multicrystalline panels may have a lower efficiency rating, the multicrystalline panels are easier to produce and therefore have a lower cost to power ratio.
- Standards and compliances – When purchasing solar panels it is essential that you are aware of the standards and compliances. The solar retailer you are purchasing the system from has the responsibility of ensuring that the panels comply with the AS/NZS 5033:2014 and the relevant international electrotechnical commission (IEC) standards.
You can also find all the approved products here on the solar Victoria website. (URL: https://www.solar.vic.gov.au/approved-products)
Is the solar retail company using CEC accredited installers?
It is important to know what the Clean Energy Council stands for when it comes to Australian Solar installers and installations.
Approved solar retailers continue to prove their commitment to producing exceptional services, from correct and true marketing practices to the actual installation themselves. Following an extensive list of guidelines, best practices, consumer protection agreements, using CEC approved panels and inverters, and strictly following current Laws in place, so that the Customer is guaranteed to be in the best hands.
When it comes to warranties on products used in installations or workmanship, CEC retailers are required to have an easy process to ensure you are completely looked after.
You can find out more on Clean Energy Council website https://www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/consumers