What Changes to Solar Subsidies Means For You
The solar industry is set for some changes in 2018, as the government withdraws support from solar panel replacements, via its STC subsidies.
Now, more than ever, understanding the quality and warranty support behind your installation, will become an important factor in ensuring you will get the best returns from your solar system.
The change to solar panel subsidies
From 31st January 2018, replacement solar panels will not be eligible to receive any form of Government subsidies, aka STC’s (small-scale technology certificates).
This will also affect solar panels currently under warranty, including panels approved for STCs on new installations.
While this change does not directly affect new installations, it does put the full responsibility of warranty on the companies supplying and/or installing your system. Later in this article, we’ll give you a few tips on how to ensure you are adequately protected by the warranty being provided with your installation.
Why The Subsidy Is Being Removed
Up to now, the STC subsidies available on a new solar installation, also applied to any replacement panels.
This meant that some installation companies have been using low quality equipment, relying on the STC subsidies to reduce their warranty risk. In extreme cases, some installers were even using extremely cheap and low-quality panels, so they could make a profit on replacement panels.
The worst example of this, is in the reports that some companies were even using door knockers to persuade home owners to replace good panels, with low cost panels, allowing the company to claim the STCs on the cheap replacements.
Consequently, the STCs are being removed from panel replacements, and from February 2018, will only be available for new installations.
The benefit for you
As a homeowner, the last thing you want, is a system that’s the by-product of an installer’s greed, and so the removal of this subsidy, should help a few of these installers either go out of business, or be forced to massively change their practises.
So, while the removal of this subsidy could adversely affect those with low quality panels already installed, it does apply positive pressure to installers using an appropriately supported, quality panel in future installations.
In the short term however, a few less reputable suppliers could be caught out with low quality stock they want to clear. So, there could be some cheap panels going extra cheap… perhaps it worth remembering, “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is”.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to deal with established, reputable installers, who utilise well-supported panels and inverters in your solar installation.
What to look for when choosing a solar power system
A reputable solar installer, will happily guide you through this process and only recommend quality products, that are locally supported.
However, upon receiving recommendations from your installer, an important question is,
“How do you know if the panels and inverters being recommended, are not only right for you, but carry suitable warranty support?”
Here are a few keys factors to consider, when deciding on the right solar system for you:
#1 Does The Manufacturer Have an Australian Office and Local Support
Many cheaper or unsupported panels are imported directly, to reduce costs.
To ensure your panels have appropriate warranty support, the manufacturer should have an Australian office, with local support staff.
If buying through a larger installer, it’s worth checking too that they haven’t ‘direct imported’ their panels. Because, if so, the manufacturer may not be liable to honour the product warranties, leaving it up to the integrity and viability of the installer to carry the responsibility for the warranty.
#2 Have I Got The Written Warranty Information
It’s worth requesting the warranty information before you sign… if there’s any hesitation in supplying this, you should probably question why.
#3 Can Local Performance Data Be Supplied
Many of the better brands have verifiable, local testing data, which proves that the performance of the panels in Australian conditions.
Sadly, not everything in a brochure is true. As a result, independent testing, makes for a much better product comparison.
#4 Is It A Good Deal or A Cheap Product
We all like saving money and getting a good deal, but sometimes the most expensive choice is a cheap product.
Our Australian sun is great for producing solar power, but equally great at exposing weaknesses in poorly made panels.
#5 Does This System Take Into Account The Installation Location
A big part of the reason GCR prefers to provide in-home assessments for your solar power system, is that the right system for you, will be influenced by your specific location.
If you live near the coast, your panels should be salt and ammonia resistant. Again, you want this to be independently tested, and included in your warranty.
Also, if there are large trees on your property, you’ll want to ensure your panels use quality, low-iron, tempered glass, with a minimum thickness of 3.2mm. In the event of sticks or branches falling on your panels, you don’t want an insurance excess gobbling up the savings on your power bill.
Get the right system and the right advice
Selecting your solar power solution is an important decision. Done correctly, and you’ll enjoy great savings on your power bills for many years to come.
To help you achieve this, GCR Electrical Systems, offers a free, in-home energy assessment, to home and business owners in Hervey Bay and surrounding areas.
This assessment, is designed to provide you with the very best options, for your budget and requirements, with some of the best warranties and local support available.
Especially with upcoming changes to solar rebates, we want you to enjoy a quality system, with the peace of mind that your investment is protected for many years to come.
From 31st January 2018, replacement solar panels will not be eligible to receive any subsidies from STCs.
While this provides a major disincentive to suppliers using low quality panels, homeowners also need to be aware of what to look for in purchasing their system, to ensure they are adequately protected in the event of needing to make a warranty claim.
To help ensure that you have the best options available to you, GCR offers a free in-home energy assessment to residents of Hervey Bay and surrounding areas. Should you wish to take advantage of this, you can call us on 0422 405 628 or enquire via the form below.