What to look for in a solar quote

This article will help you understand what to look for in a quote so you can make an informed decision when buying rooftop solar for your home.

Only authorised retailers, installers and approved solar products are eligible under the Solar Homes and Solar for Business programs. This ensures you receive a quality product, installed safely by a qualified professional. Authorised retailers must fulfil our program requirements, including being a signatory to the Clean Energy Council’s Retailer Code of Conduct.

We recommend seeking at least three quotes from authorised solar retailers for a similar size system and reading product reviews online before deciding on a retailer. You'll then be able to compare price, quality, warranties and customer reviews in multiple quotes.

But how do you know which quote is the best one? Here are a few things to look for when comparing quotes from different solar panel installers:

Size and type of panels

Make sure the quote includes the size and type of solar panels that will be installed. You'll want to compare the efficiency and durability of the panels between quotes to make sure you're getting the best value for money. It is also common for quotes to include a satellite photo or 3-D representation of your roof showing the proposed panel layout.

The inverter

The inverter is a key component of any solar panel system. It converts the direct current (DC) electricity produced by the panels into alternating current (AC) electricity, which is what your home uses. Make sure the quote includes the type and size of inverter that will be installed.

Product warranties

A quality solar system will come with an extensive warranty, typically around 25 years for solar panels and 10 years for inverters. The solar retailer should provide you with clear information about warranties, including details and warranties of the different solar power system components.

Find out more information about panel and installation warranties.

Installation process

Make sure the quote includes details about the installation process, such as how long it will take and who will be responsible for obtaining any necessary permits. Your retailer should also provide you with an installation warranty.

This is different to product warranties and covers any problems with the installation. It’s worth checking how they process warranty claims and whether the manufacturers have a contact number in Australia in case any problems arise.

Transparent pricing

It’s important to ask your solar retailer to provide an estimate of the expected performance of the system they recommend, along with an estimate of the financial benefits it will bring you over time. This should include an estimate of the expected electricity production in kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year.

The quote should also cover any additional charges, for example, electrical switchboard upgrades or additional costs to install panels on a double-story home. The quoted amount should also include any discounts from Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs) and the Solar Homes Program rebate (or Solar for Business Program rebate) if applicable.

Onsite vs online inspections

Solar retailers can generate a quote either through onsite-inspection or by using satellite imagery. You can be more confident in a solar retailer if they undertake a detailed generation analysis onsite as part of a free 'no-obligation' quote. This is essentially an assessment of your property to see if your roof is large enough for panels and which direction the panels should face for optimal sunlight.

However, many credible retailers quote without site inspections. They do this by remotely inspecting the roof of your property using satellite imagery. We recommend organising at least one onsite inspection so you can be assured your home is suitable for solar.

Signing a contract and paying for your system

Once you have reviewed some quotes and are happy to proceed with your chosen solar retailer, you will be asked to sign a purchase contract. An authorised solar retailer is required to

  • give you a contract that is clearly written and not full of technical language
  • explain the contract to you and point out any specifics you should be aware of
  • outline details of the payment process and what happens if the contract needs to be ended. For example, whether your entire deposit will be refunded or only part of it
  • explain what happens on the rare occasion that an unexpected issue is discovered during installation which should also be detailed in your contract

Your responsibilities

Australian Consumer Law gives you rights and protections when buying products. These are called consumer guarantees and are applied regardless of the product warranties that come with your solar power system components.

One of the consumer guarantees is that a product is 'fit for purpose'. If you have any specific requirements for your solar power system (for example, that it produces enough electricity to supply your usual daytime usage), you should let the solar retailer know when asking for a quote.

After comparing quotes from other solar retailers, you'll feel more assured that you have found the offer that best suits your needs. You may find prices are similar, so you may have to base your decision on other factors such as online reviews, length of warranty and the installer's experience in the industry.

It's important to remember that a 'free, no-obligation' quote should be exactly that – no obligation. Ask as many questions as needed and take your time deciding which retailer to purchase from.

Seeking multiple quotes from authorised solar retailers is great way to make sure you select the right solar system for your needs. When you’re confident that you’ve found the right retailer and product for you, you can use their quote to begin applying for a rebate.


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