From the Messenger Trades & Services (Stephanie Timotheou):

MORE than a million homes and businesses across Australia use solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to generate clean and reliable electricity.

With government funding still available to those who install them, Solar Power Direct director Paul Maiolo says now is the time to consider whether a solar system might benefit your household.

Before obtaining a minimum of three quotes, there are a range of steps a homeowner must take when deciding if solar power is for them. These include noting the household’s current electricity use, checking for any shade issues (which can impact the efficiency of a system), and determining how much roof space there is.

“An average system requires 18-to-30sq m in the roof so it’s important to find out if there is enough space to install the system,” Mr Maiolo says. He says it is also important to consider the types of solar products available and to do your research, looking for solar installers who can carry out the job to a high standard.

“Make sure you get Clean Energy Council-approved products installed by a reputable company,” he says. “Find out how many installations they have done, how long they have been in business and check online business reviews.” While solar-system prices start from $1650, Mr Maiolo says a homeowner could save between $304 and $1687 each year, depending on their power usage.

“A solar system provides great electricity-cost savings and reduces our carbon footprint,” he says. “It also provides the comfort of using power during colder months and not having to be concerned about hiking electricity prices.” For homeowners who have already switched to solar, an annual service maintenance check should be carried out by an electrician to ensure all aspects of the system are performing to full capacity.

“Alternatively a homeowner can clean the panels themselves every 12 months, however there are a number of panels on the market that are selfcleaning,” Mr Maiolo said. He says a solar system should last 25 years if installed correctly and maintained every year.

  • Shop around and get a few quotes before committing to anything
  • Ensure you compare apples with apples. There are several solar products on the market, so when comparing, ensure you are comparing systems for quality, as well as terms and conditions with the installers
  • Ask about the workmanship warranty and who carries out the installation. Warrantee times vary from company to company
  • Do your research on the products and the solar installers to ensure quality, value for money and peace of mind that the company will be around to offer after-sales service
  • Ensure your solar installer is Clean Energy Accredited and reputable in the industry.