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Advice for your home

How to choose solar

More than two million Australian homes now have solar panels on their roof. That’s people generating electricity for their needs and ours, saving lots on energy bills. 

This is how solar works when it’s on our roofs:

  • During the day, our solar panels produce energy, and we use it to power our own building, electric car and/or solar battery.
  • The energy that we don’t use, we automatically sell to the grid. That’s extra money in our pockets.
  • At night, solar panels go to sleep with us. The electricity we use comes from the grid and we pay a fee for this. 
  • Meanwhile, our smart meters track everything. We can always know how much energy we’re producing and money we’re saving.

No solar installation is the same but there are key steps everyone can take to do solar correctly.

Step 1: Choose a solar provider

It’s extremely important to choose a good solar installer to get a good service.

Remember, you should always:

  • Make sure that the solar provider you choose is Tier 1 approved. 
  • Look at the Clean Energy Council’s approved solar retailers and installers: see accredited installer scheme and approved retailer scheme.  
  • Check that your solar installer has been in operation for at least 5 years.
  • Check that the solar installer provides a 5-year installation warranty and servicing in Australia. 

Step 2: Determine the solar panels that are right for you

Once you’ve chosen a solar installer, it’s time to think about what solar panel setup you’ll need. 

Make sure to chat with your solar installer about whether you’ll need micro-inverters or optimisers. These maximise power generation but you might not need them if your roof is fully exposed to the sun and unshaded.

Step 3: Double-check your quote

To make sure your solar installation goes smoothly, check that your quote:

  • Is not too cheap compared to general market price.
  • Is not hand-written.
  • Names your installer.
  • Includes the price with GST for all labour and parts. 
  • Specifies components (such as solar panels, inverter, battery) by quantity, brand and model number (otherwise they may be swapped for cheaper parts).
  • Includes small-scale technology certificates (STCs).
  • Lists additional costs. Retailers must make clear that additional costs which arise at or after installation will not be borne by them. These costs could include a meter exchange or the reconfiguration and upgrade of a meter box.
  • Lists business terms including payment method, deposits and how long the quote will be valid for.

You should also expect:

  • An estimate of the system’s performance included with the system design.
  • A timetable for supplying and installing the solar system.
  • Warranties including a product warranty for the inverter and solar panels, an installation warranty, and the standard 25-year performance warranty on the solar panels.
  • Information on post-sale servicing, maintenance schedule, and a number to call if there’s an issue.

Step 4: Know your rebates

Now’s the best time to install solar panels because of the rebates on offer. They include:

  • Small-scale technology certificates (STCs), a rebate offered by the Federal Government, which should be automatically included in your quote. You get this money from energy retailers who, to meet their renewable energy obligations, buy certificates from you. This rebate should give you a couple hundred dollars every year for the next decade.
  • For eligible households, as of July 2022, a rebate of up to $1,400 and an equivalent value no-interest loan repaid over four years, from the Victorian State Government’s Solar Homes Program. Check your eligibility for this solar rebate.

There’s a bit of work to do to get solar power set up, but the benefits are huge. Now that you know more about solar, it’s easy to get started.