[stextbox id=”alert” bgcolorto=”23db44″]This article is fairly long winded but if you are a potential solar panel user I am sure you might find some of my experiences interesting. Feel free to contact me too if you need to know more…[/stextbox]
Hurrah! Eureka Farm is going solar. We have looked at the costs and have decided there could be no better time to install solar panels. Prices for the panels has dropped enormously as the world enters an over supply situation. Once the decision to go solar was made I became intrigue as to what system I should use. This included the type of panels i.e mono-crystalline or poly-crystalline , are some better than others, what size and then how to put them on the roof landscape or portrait and what sort of mounting would be best for us. Then there was the question of inverters and how to get it into the grid system.
My research led me all over the place but gradually the folklore around installations and the more real answers came to light. It was interesting to talk to suppliers too and hear their take as well. My neighbour Terry Stingle has a 5kw system installed and he too had done his home work well and gave me some good advice.
I eventually settled on 250w panels and ended up with a panel supplied by Diamond Cell. Now you just can’t use any panel but it has to have Australian Accreditation. And yes the panel given in the quote is accredited. I wouldn’t have chosen this one initially ( virtually an unknown brand) as I favoured the Trina Panels which had a reasonably smart specification and were being offered very cheaply.
The things you should look for besides the spec are the warranty. With the TDG-PV 250w solar panel shown above there is a 10 year product warranty and a 30 year linear performance warranty. I don’t place a lot of confidence in these long term warranties for if you have been reading the papers lately you will note that many large and first class manufacturers have given up largely because they cannot compete with China. But the large warranty supplied hopefully will last long enough to see that they go through one summer and one cycle thereby ensuring that most of the performance criteria is met.
It would seem that there are many businesses out there flogging their systems. Usually they seem to have a relationship with certain module manufacturers and are less particular about which inverter to use. It is very hard to distinguish the real costs of parts and installation and the Government rebates offered with many of these suppliers. Often you think you are getting a good price but are inclined to forget this price includes the SPC credits (Government rebates) which are returned to the user or his nominated supplier.
I must admit I began to suspect that there was a lot of fat built in these prices and was very interested to see what the actual wholesale prices would be for these materials. In our case at Eureka Farm we were looking at a 20kw system or 80x 250w panels.. It was large enough that certain wholesale suppliers were interested in quoting. As an example one wholesale quote for a 20kw wholesale price delivered to me including panels, 3 traditional composite string inverters and mounting came to $28000. Add the cost of installing the system and take away the credits this comes to about $20000 to $23000 including GST. This compares with having a package supplied by a solar installer of at least $31000 on the same basis a difference of up to $10000. This settled the course of action plan for me.