Solar - A bit of info from my sourcing event

So around two months back, I started looking at expanding my solar system. Chatting with my neighbour, he said he was keen to get a new system too so I did a letter drop around the neighbours and found another two willing participants. The deal was that, as I am a buyer, I would go out to the market and try to source a deal for all of us to get the biggest systems we could, install on the same day and see what we could get in the way of a group discount.

Below is a summary of what I found. I initially went to the market to get an idea of products but in the end, went to each supplier stipulating what I wanted thus could compare apples for apples.

Rating wise, 1 = great. 10 = crap

True Value Solar: They installed the system I had on my roof already that I have to scrap as it was a cheap system with cheap parts. Inverter wasn't supported any longer and I was unable to expand. When asked to quote a specific product they didn't respond so were not interested in installing quality. Rated 10th out of 10

Synergy: They are after margin not market share so their price was high. 9th out of 10.

Solar Gain: Good Product, Good customer service through charge a premium for the premium products they sell.
8th out of 10

Euro Solar: Happy to sell me crap at a good price but when it came down to it, their 10% price beat guarantee will give you a great price (I didn't share the best price I had), but it will be on cheap crap. Very forceful "YOU MUST ACCEPT THIS NOW". Further, they have been told to shut up shop by the Tax man for not paying tax, and are known for closing entities when the shit hits the fan. Rated 7 out of 10. Prices were un-inspiring, fast to respond but very forceful to make a decision NOW

Future Solar: Mark was extremely helpful and was in the box seat to get the job until the federal government cut the rebate thus adding 1000 onto the cost of each system. Customer Service was exceptional but priced 6th out of 10 on the final hurdle.

Regen: Took three attempts to get a quote for what I wanted. it really seemed too hard. Rated 5 out of 10 on price but their customer service was shit. I complained to fair trading about them they were so bad....well he challenged me to do it so I did.

All Spark Solutions: Good Small shop. Again, happy to sell cheap stuff at a low price though they were 4th out of 10 price wise.

Green Wiring: Initially contacted this mob as they added panels to an existing system with my neighbour. Their price was 3rd out of 10. Answered the questions I asked.

A Womans Spark: Very helpful and they came to me with a 5kw package for less than 3 grand installed, but I wanted quality this time. Rated 2nd out of 10

Technaus: The only company to actually come to site and meet me, and measure the houses. They have won the job and will be installing in a couple of weeks.

Alinta: Now I excluded these guys from the running straight up as the price was ridiculous (28k for all) but I thought I would share.

I must add further to this that Mark, site sponsor, was very helpful. He would have narrowly won the work but we took too long and he had to apply a genuine price rise (search Solar STC rebate reduction). I encourage you to make contact with him should you have any queries.

Finally, some companies quote rubbish. I note that Euro Solar have a package out now called a Bill buster which is a 5kw cheap shitty inverter with 16x 270W panels...now 16 x 270 = 4.32kw of generation. Why would you go less than the inverter can handle, particularly when you can go as high as 6.48kw? Generate the maximum as often as you can...Inverters are almost the disposable part of the package, particular when Batteries become more common in a few years.

If anyone has any questions or wants a contact name, hit me up via PM.


pelagicyachts's picture

Posts: 640

Date Joined: 23/02/11

great write up Swompa - I

Tue, 2017-08-22 14:26

great write up Swompa - I have had contact with a few of the names above with varying degrees of success - look forward to hearing about the before and after (post installation)

quest's picture

Posts: 196

Date Joined: 03/08/15

Agree

Tue, 2017-08-22 15:05

Agree 

Great write up

Posts: 4290

Date Joined: 17/06/10

Much apprectiated write up

Tue, 2017-08-22 16:33

Thank you for a very good write up. Very keen to see how you fair after installation

Posts: 269

Date Joined: 13/12/12

 Great info - cheers. 

Tue, 2017-08-22 20:18

 Great info - cheers.

 

Posts: 1

Date Joined: 15/01/15

solar

Tue, 2017-08-22 20:54

 Hi all -first post  for me ,but  its in a field I was involved in in a recent past life.

 

Its great when you can get info such as Swompa has provided  -saves a lot of time and hurt with some of the products ( and business's) which are out there and salesmen trying to make a living

I purchased a new property at the end of last year in WA and went looking for a quality system. The install was 110 k from Perth and I was chasing a 5KW inverter with 6+Kw of panels ( the extra panels maximise your output with good STC returns )

I found a small company which gave me  what I wanted, ,  Q cells panels ( which we had  used in large scale Solar farm installations over east and are well proven to me )   with Fronius  (3 phase )inverter ,with a first rate install . The company was  Clean Technology services  . The price was very fair( I know how much these companies have to pay for products)  and the service and install ,first rate . 

 

I just add this post  for another company to consider ,for anyone else who is looking for quality.

 

Cheers

Swompa's picture

Posts: 1986

Date Joined: 14/10/12

Well the panels got installed

Fri, 2017-09-15 15:11

Well the panels got installed on Monday in a process that took two guys around 8 and a bit hours. Please see my below thoughts which may be considered tough but ultimately, I am extremely happy that we made the jump.

The good: The blokes were extremely friendly, polite and by all accounts, worked extremely hard.
The good: The install is neat, they actually did a tidier job than the system that they replaced.
The good: Before 0900 this morning, my new system had produced more than my old system had produced in two sunny winter days of the week prior
The good: Vanessa, the sales rep, was extremely helpful and quick to reply to emails

The Mediocre: Install was booked to go ahead within a fortnight (WOW!) but the day before, it got pushed back a week. No Biggy
The Mediocre: The fellas were late. We were told 8 but they arrived at 9. No Biggy
The Mediocre: A fuse on the Western Power side of the meter box blew mid-afternoon. We thought it was just the guys turning the power off but they weren’t aware of an issue until after 5 where we had to call Western Power to get them to fix. Romantic candle lit dinner and washing two little people under lantern.
The Mediocre: Due to the above, the sparky had to come back the next day to sign off on the install.
The Mediocre: The guys installing didn’t have a layout map and they needed a copy from me. They couldn’t layout as per the map so had to make it work. It works but still, I would have thought that they would know where the gear is meant to go and for them to have accurate dimensions.

The Bad: The Fronius inverter setup (so you can see the performance details online) has been a pain in the arse. The cheat sheet provided gave different instructions to what the system was telling me. The pain in the arse thing is that you can only do it when the sun is up and the inverter is getting power so that gives me an hour after work. Three days later, it is mostly working thanks to Youtube. The installer said “that is not our system so you need to go to YouTube and the manufacturers webpage if its not working” I kind of get that but they are installing a system and I would have thought setting up the whole back package would have been part of the handover.

The Ugly: I got a call from the installer once the Techs had left to see if I was happy with the install. I explained that the power was out and we were eating under candle light though it didn’t stop him asking when I was going to pay the bill as it was due that day….After the pause, I reminded him that it was currently dark in our house and I didn’t even know if the system was working or not. We agreed to talk the next day.

Ultimately, I am very happy with the products that we have had installed. I thoroughly recommend that if you are going to invest in Solar, to become a product expert for a few days and get competitive prices on the product that you stipulate rather than the latest crap that Euro Solar has imported from a Chinese backyard. Don’t get conned by the “BUY IT NOW” crap. A cheap system will still be a cheap system after the installer and their warranty has gone to the administrators.

Since our system was switched on as of Tuesday, we have produced 80.4 KW of energy which is around 20KW a day. Our consumption is around 16 units a day and conveniently, the last Synergy bill had a period ending on the install date so we will be able to easily compare. Our last bill was around $320.

I kind of look forward to our next bill