The three steps to take when getting solar panels

From reusable coffee cups to metal straws, many Aussies across the country have embraced a more sustainable lifestyle.

But while you can’t go wrong with a glass mug, failing to do your research on solar panels, the latest sustainable household accessory, is a little different.

Research from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has found it’s likely that 1 in 30 installed solar panels were ‘“unsafe” with 1 in 6 classified as “substandard.”

So if you’re thinking of installing solar panels, here are a few steps to take that can help you do it the right way:

Step One - Talk to a solar panel installer

One of the most important things you should check before having panels installed is to determine whether your home is suitable for solar panels. Things like your location and the size of your home and roof and whether there are trees or buildings blocking the sun from hitting your home all make a difference. If this is the case for your home, you can still support renewable energy by opting for a plan or retailer that generates electricity from renewable resources.

However if your home is suitable for solar panels, you’ll need to find a panel supplier that’s been approved by the Clean Energy Council. This accreditation means that the supplier has demonstrated a commitment to industry best practise and has signed the Solar Retailer Code of Conduct. Once you’ve found the right supplier and you’ve signed your contract, your PV supplier will then organise a time to install your new panels.

Step Two - Contact your energy retailer

Your next step is to get in touch with your energy retailer to inform them you’ll be having panels installed and enquire about the type of of solar plans and tariff rates they provide. It might even be worth switching to a more solar focused retailer as they often provide better value plans and generous tariff rates to solar users.

Step Three - Consider installing a battery

One of the easiest ways to make the most out of your solar panels is to install a battery. Most households use the majority of their electricity during the night when your solar panels can no longer generate electricity from the sun's rays. A solar battery, for example the sonnenBatterie from sonnen, which recently launched a fixed monthly energy plan called sonnenFlat for customers in Victoria, can store the electricity generated by your panels during the day, which can then power your home during the night, or on cloudy days.

In the morning, when electricity production is low but energy needs are high, the battery will use electricity generated from the night before. During the day when electricity needs are low but generation is high, the battery will store the electricity for the night where electricity needs are high, but generation is low.

You can also choose a battery set up with different options on how and when to use your renewable energy. Pairing your solar battery with a home energy management system like those from Reposit Power allows you to use the electricity generated from your solar panels to power your home, store it effectively for regular use and even sell excess electricity to the grid to help out other households and make some extra cash.

If you’d like more information on solar usage or battery systems for your household, you can check out our range of energy guides.

Or if you’d like to start comparing solar plans available in your area, head to our energy comparison tool.


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