Do It Once, Do It Right – Why Cheap Solar Will Cost You More

The cheapest deal is not always the best deal, and this is especially true when it comes to solar systems and installations.

When looking for a solar PV system for your home or business, it is recommended that you not only stay away from the cheapest systems in the market as much as you can, but go for high quality components made by trusted manufacturers from reliable installers. Yes, these systems can be expensive, but there are good reasons for this.

Firstly, solar panels are basically electrical devices that will be exposed to long hours of harsh climate and extreme elements on the roof. These panels will need to withstand the relentless Aussie sunshine, go through cold and hot temperatures, hold up against strong winds, and take on rain, hail and more.

Good quality solar panels are designed to last through these conditions, and at the same time deliver year after year performance, for a long period of time. For example, LG solar systems have a 25-year expected lifespan, and the LG Solar NeON 2 modules even come with a 25-year product warranty to back their promise.

With cheap solar systems flooding the market, we are unfortunately also seeing more customer complaints of being stuck with unreliable systems that fail after just a short time on the roof. And, more often than not, these installers offer no support or post-installation assistance, leaving the customer in a rut.

Here are some reasons why you should think twice before taking up the ‘6.6kW solar system for $500’ deal:

Problem #1: Bad quality panels
A lot of cheap solar systems are cheap because they use low quality, non-branded solar panels. These panels deteriorate quickly, and are easily damaged. Some of the common issues include yellowing panels, corroding panels, delamination, and hotspots.

All of these can negatively affect output, but hotspots especially can be a dangerous problem, as they can cause cell damage or even total system destruction.

Problem #2: Unreliable inverters
A good inverter is measured by its efficiency in conversion, proven brand performance and both product and brand longevity. And, because the inverter is one of the most important parts of the solar system and any faults need to be able to be fixed quickly, reliable support is crucial.

Cheap solar systems often use cheap and low-quality inverters. These inverters may cost little upfront, but they tend to die quickly and cannot be fixed.

Good quality inverters, such as those by Fronius, SolarEdge and Enphase, may cost two to three times more than the cheaper alternatives, but you get high efficiency ratings, high performance, and highly reliable customer service.

Problem #3: Limited warranty
Be aware that low end solar systems may come with a warranty at the time the products are sold to you, however, when something goes wrong all of a sudden the installer does not exist and the panel or inverter manufacturer is no longer operating in Australia. Who will warrant the faulty goods for you then?

For branded solar panels, the warranty will only be of value if the products are supplied through official distributors, in the event that the manufacturer has no representation in the country. Even if they came with warranty, you need to check to see if the warranty is provided by the manufacturer or the importer, and if both companies are financially strong enough to remain in business long term.

The current industry standard is a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty, and cheaper panels usually do not cover transport and replacement labour. LG, however, offers a 25-year parts and labour warranty, which includes the cost of shipping as well as labour for uninstalling and reinstalling panels due to problems caused by materials defect.

Problem #4: Terrible installation and support
Some companies offer branded solar systems such as LG Solar, but at an extremely low price. How do they do that? More often than not, they end up cutting corners when it comes to the actual solar installation.

We have seen all kinds of installation issues, including terrible positioning of the inverter in direct north or westerly sun, bad or exposed cabling, cable run across gutters, ugly panel positioning, poor panel positioning with significant overshadowing issues, broken tiles, and more. These poor practices, which are not in line with Australian standards, will not only result in ugly panel installations, but will also lead to problems and damage later on.

Post-installation support is also non-existent, with some companies and contractors disappearing altogether, leaving the customers no choice but to try to reach out to the manufacturers directly.

Problem #5: Safety risk
As we’ve mentioned earlier, solar systems are essentially electrical devices. If you go for the cheapest solar system available, there is a high chance that you are paying for low quality and unreliable electrical components, which can cause various problems, including fire.

Companies that offer cheap solar systems also tend to have a reputation for poor quality installations. As solar systems generate high voltage DC electricity, it is important that they are installed according to Australian standards. When installed well, solar systems are very safe. But if they are not installed properly, they can present a high fire risk, putting you, your family and even your neighbors, in danger.

High quality solar is worth the investment
You may be able to save some money upfront by purchasing cheap solar systems, but in the long run, you would end up paying more for repairs or replacements. Invest in a good quality solar system today, and enjoy peace of mind plus good returns for the next 25 years.

Remember that bigger is not always better. It is often a better investment to choose a smaller quality solar system over a larger low-quality solar system for long-term performance and peace of mind.

At Total Solar Solutions, we believe in providing only the best products to ensure our customers get to enjoy the most out of their solar system. We install premium quality LG solar panels, as well as reliable high end inverters such as Fronius, Enphase and SolarEdge inverters.

Besides being a Clean Energy Council approved solar retailer, Total Solar Solutions was also recently appointed as LG’s Platinum Authorised Energy Partner, after demonstrating excellent work ethic as well as high level of customer service and installation quality.

If you are looking for the best, premium quality solar PV system for your home or business, get in touch with our team today and we will be happy to assist you.