A recent survey of over 1000 Australians shows that experiences with solar are becoming more and more positive. The survey, conducted by consumer advocate Choice, found that more than 50% of residents were thinking about using battery storage to get off the grid altogether.
This comes as no surprise when electricity bills are up to a phenomenal (and record-breaking) 2.5% of household spending.
At the same time, falling solar prices over the past several years have contributed to the positive outlook on rooftop PV. When most systems take 5 years or less to pay themselves off, people see greater profits sooner. They also have the comfort of knowing they’re taking action to keep their bills under control in this volatile market. Only 1 in 10 respondents reported taking longer than expected to pay off their systems and start turning a profit.
Australia’s favourite installers are independent
The survey has revealed that solar owners have had better experiences with independent installers (like Solaray) than with the bigger power suppliers. Results showed that delays were more than 5 times more likely with the big energy players, and problems with the installations were 2.5 times more likely.
That said, it remains critical to choose your independent installer carefully; almost ⅓ of households said they had had issues with their systems.
This number must have some relation to the 45% of systems that CEC testing found to have cheap substituted parts, the 78% that were underperforming, or the estimated 1 in 3 ‘orphaned’ systems, no longer supported by companies who sold cheap products before going out of business. Solar companies are constantly popping up and disappearing, and when you’re making such a long-term investment, you should be choosing an established company who will be around to honour your system’s warranties.
As better systems have become more accessible, the negative consequences of poor quality systems and imperfect installations have been reducing, and the proportion of customers who report having problems has been shrinking.
The majority of technical issues experienced by survey participants were minimal setbacks, as they were covered under warranty. Inverters were the most common source of technical problems—a fact which makes some sense considering the variety of inverters on the market. Many systems still employ the older String Inverter technology rather than the newer Micro Inverter technology, which is less likely to cause failures.
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Extra Attention = Extra Return on Investment
Product choices aside, the best way you can make your solar system perform well is by keeping an eye on it. The Choice survey found nearly half of solar owners didn’t check the performance of their systems outside of noting the savings on their power bills. Choice doesn’t recommend this strategy, and neither do we at Solaray. Tracking your output means you’ll know if your system isn’t working, and you won’t have to find out from an unexpectedly large electricity bill.
Because it is so key to a system’s performance, every Solaray installation comes with online monitoring at no extra cost. We’ll also be notified if anything unusual happens with a system we’ve installed, so you can be confident you won’t be unwittingly buying from the grid while your solar sits there killing time. Solar owners can also save a lot by understanding their consumption patterns across the day to better match their energy usage to the times when their solar output is highest. Storage solutions like the Enphase Energy Management system or the SolarEdge platform provide even more insight and control over energy use throughout the day and night.
Battery Storage in 2019
Less than 10% of respondents had battery storage installed, which means a lot of people could be saving a lot more money.
The amounts earned on feed-in tariffs for excess energy differ across Australia depending on state and provider, however, these numbers are typically all a lot lower than the price of buying electricity from the grid. Keeping the extra solar power generated during the day and not needing to import power overnight is a very attractive prospect. 55% of those surveyed found it attractive enough to seriously consider.
For more information and personalised pricing, request a quote today for your household or business:
Choice survey: https://www.choice.com.au/home-improvement/energy-saving/solar/articles/solar-power-survey-results