Switching to Solar: How to Balance Budgets and Quality?
This is a tough choice when we need to take the decision – Budget or quality! For starters, switching to solar is a huge investment. And with every purchase you need to make, the question remains the same. I want the best quality products but what about my budget? Should I just compromise a bit on the quality here to save some bucks, but I’m also afraid of what a disaster it might turn out to be! So, here’s the thing! Although, there is a huge risk involved with not getting the best quality parts, what could be done is, use decent quality products to keep the risk to a bare minimum. Because the cheaper parts might prove to be a huge wastage in the time ahead.
Should I go for custom systems?
One might think that one can cut costs by purchasing custom components. On the contrary, a customized system will cost you more. This is because if you order cheaper custom components, it’s quite possible that the installer may not have them and need to specifically order them. This way components that are bulk ordered will cost you less than your custom order. It is also possible that the installer is unaware of the installing processes of the customized components since they have no experience with it. This might increase the costs further. Another important aspect to look at is the after-sales services. If you get something unusual, they might charge you extra for it since it’s easier to provide services for something that they’re used to. So, it’s not a good idea to go for custom products just to cut costs. Installers might not even agree since they are unsure of the quality of those components.
Is ‘too cheap’ the right option?
If you find a system that’s quoted for a very low price, you can’t guarantee the quality and services of the same. Even if the panel and inverter are of a satisfactory quality, which is highly unlikely, the cost has to pay for many other components like the mounting hardware, cables, DC isolators, fuses and other items, sales costs, operating costs and after-sales services, to say the least.
Buying anything that’s too cheap is riskier. Because if a system is available at such a low price, it means the installer will install it on your roof in the cheapest way possible which might result in unimaginable disasters.
Here’s what you can do to balance budgets and quality the best way
One way to compare costs is to check the cost per watt of the solar panel systems. Larger systems are moderately cheaper per watt than smaller ones.
You can keep the cost per watt low by having the panel capacity as close as possible, to the maximum inverter capacity. With this, you can get the maximum solar rebate possible since the Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) are given on the solar panel capacity.
When you get a quote for your system, get it for the maximum panel capacity you’re considering. This is because if you get a quote for a smaller panel capacity and later get another quote, they might jump the prices unreasonably.
You can look at lower-cost panels from the best brands or tier-one manufacturers. These have a product warranty of 10-12 years.
You should consider Product warranty over performance warranty. Solar panels come with 2 kinds of warranties- a 25-year performance warranty (which is pretty useless) and a 10-12 year product warranty. Product warranty is the warranty that counts as it warrants the product against any manufacturing defect.