14 questions you must ask your solar installer

September 5, 2023

When it comes to choosing a solar installer there are a few things you need to keep in mind and look out for.

No one wants to be left with a system that’s half finished, doesn’t work, clunky and without support. Who helps prevent all these things? The installer!

So, what are some things to ask a potential installer to make sure you’re paying the right kind of company?

1. Do you quote over the phone?

Phone call quotes have gotten a bad rap, and we can understand why. Inexperienced teams can provide standard quotes over the phone that don't necessarily account for any of your home's unique requirements.

There's no such thing as a "standard" install when it comes to solar. Each roof line and its construction material will be different which means no two solar system quotes will be the same. If your provider provides quotes over the phone, it's important to ensure that they're accurate and thorough to account for everything. If you want that extra peace of mind, check that they offer on-site visits.

At NRG Solar, we run through a fully-comprehensive checklist for any phone quote, and also offer on-site inspections on request, so you're never caught off guard by an unexpected cost at the end of your installation. Our approach allows us to accurately tailor a solar system quote and install to meet your unique needs., even when an on-site visit isn't feasible.

Your return on your solar investment is important to us. Your journey to clean, green energy with NRG Solar might start on the phone, as an on-site visit, or even via our showroom where you can speak to our team face-to-face about your questions or reservations.

Visit us at our showroom here

2. Are you a CEC accredited installer?

If you’re looking to apply for any government schemes or rebates for your solar installation, this question is a must. There should always be at least one Clean Energy Council (CEC) installer assigned to your installation., ensuring it meets local codes and regulations.

At NRG Solar, our team is made up of CEC accredited installers. You can rest easy knowing your install will be seamless and without fault.

Two men on a roof laying down a solar panel

3. Do you use subcontractors?

When it comes to installation, it’s important you have visibility over how this process is handled.. Some less reputable, fly by night solar companies might provide a quote for installation, then outsource the work to a third-party you’ve never spoken to and leave you in the dark to this fact.

With demand for solar on the up and up, it’s becoming increasingly common for even reliable, certified solar companies to hire subcontractors to help out with installations. Some of the best in the business use a mix of in-house and subcontracted installers, while some rely entirely on their in-house teams. Subcontractors aren't lower quality by nature, and a reputable company will have a thorough vetting system to ensure only high-quality work is completed in their name.

When discussing installation with your chosen solar company, ask them to clarify their approach to subcontracting and how they ensure quality control and accountability.  Reputable companies will be transparent about their processes and will readily provide information to assure you that your installation will be handled by experienced professionals who adhere to the company's standards of excellence.

Here at NRG Solar, we rely on our expert solar consultants and a dedicated team of solar installers. 

4. Do you have a proven track record of quality service?

Assessing the track record of a solar company is crucial to determine if they are the right fit for your needs. While the size of a company's track record may vary, the quality of their service should never be overlooked. 

Check out their awards and accolades, as well as reviews on Google and social media. You could even ask your friends and family if they’ve had any experiences with a solar company in the past.

With a Best Residential Solar Installation in Australia 2019 award from the Solar Cutter Awards under our belt and hundreds of 5 star reviews across the web, we’re confident in the quality of our service. Word of mouth is the most powerful form of track record a business could have, and 60% of our referrals just from this!

5. How are you calculating what size system will be best for me?

There’s more to determining the correct sized solar system than a simple calculation. Don’t be fooled by a solar company that immediately preaches a certain sized system before they’ve even investigated your consumption or bills first too!

Our experienced solar consultants can walk you through how they have decided on the size of your system. They will look through your bills, your energy consumption and the electrical set-up of your home, so then you can be sure that you are receiving the best possible system for your home.

6. What kind of warranty do the solar systems have?

Quality solar installers will always be able to guarantee warranties on whatever panels they provide you with. The warranty for your solar panels will depend on the manufacturer, but will typically range from 25 to 30 years. A reputable company will tell you how often you need your system serviced to maintain your warranty, and even provide a maintenance schedule to ensure the longevity of your system.

Beyond this, you also need to ask how warranty claims are handled ongoing. If your panels break or become damaged, get in contact with your installer first. They will, or should, have your record on file and be able to handle the entire process of getting you a replacement panel, removing the damaged panel and replacing it.

Sometimes damage isn’t clear just by looking at the panels and will show signs via your monitoring app instead. Your installer should be able to check these out during a service. If there are faults found during this service, you should be able to claim these under your warranty.

Our  workmanship warranty is five years, which is longer than the industry standard. This commitment to our customers is because we know the quality of our products are designed and built to last in any condition in Australia.

Did you know that there's a separate warranty for the panel mounting system? Most supplier warranties mounting systems are shorter than the warranty for the panels themselves! NRG Solar installs use mounting systems with the same 25-30 year warranty, so you can rest assured your whole system is insured for the long-term.

7. What evidence is there that these panels and inverters are any good?

Choosing reliable panels and inverters is crucial for the performance and longevity of your solar system. An experienced solar installer will know the ins and outs of the system they’re installing for you, and leave you feeling confident in the quality of the product selected.

Don’t just take their word for it though. Check out customer reviews and testimonials from your chosen installer and even the product manufacturer of the solar system they’ve proposed. Online forums and product review videos will give you even more insight into the product. 

If any questions or concerns come up during your research, take them to your installer. A good installer will be able to answer them with ease, or even explain how the concern you have isn’t applicable to your installation.

Working with a reputable installer, like NRG Solar, they should also have strong relationships with the brands of products they offer. We have a Fronius Partner Plus relationship, so you can trust the quality of our Fronius installations and even enjoy some extra perks along with it.

8. How long have you been installing this specific product or supplier?

When a solar company has worked with a product or supplier for a number of years, you can be more confident in the quality of their their installations. More experience with a product means they’ll be able to identify and solve problems if and when they arise during and after installation.

Not all systems are built the same, and some can require specialist knowledge to install. A reputable solar company will acknowledge this and have the specialist capabilities required, or have industry connections to those who do.

Here at NRG Solar, we have a longstanding relationship with a number of reputable brands, including Enphase, Fronius, Tesla, BYD, REC and Trina to name a few. Having installed these systems for years, we’re well versed in their intricacies and experienced in maximising their performance.

Solar technology is rapidly evolving, however, and while a reputable company might not have years of experience installing a system, their commitment to staying at the forefront of industry advancements is crucial. With a steadfast commitment to continuous learning and development, we remain at the forefront of the industry's latest technologies. This dedication enables us to deliver high-quality installations that fully harness the potential of emerging solar technologies.

9. What rebates do I qualify for?

You may be eligible for various rebates and incentives that can reduce the cost of your solar system. A quality installer will have your best interests in mind and know what rebates you qualify for. The specific rebates relevant to you will depend on a few factors such as your location and the type or size of system you install.

A popular rebate is the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), which provides Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs) for eligible installers, like NRG Solar! It’s important to find out if the installer you are choosing qualifies for these, as STCs can be traded and sold to offset the upfront cost of your system. If the installer is not eligible, then you cannot obtain the rebate.

The number of STCs you receive depends on the size of your system and the region in which the installation is being done in. We can help walk you through this rebate scheme in more detail, if need be, as should any quality and eligible installer.

In addition to federal STCs, some state governments offer their own rebates and incentives. These can vary so it is best to check with your local government or relevant agency for the current up-to-date information.

Remember, rebate programs can and do change overtime, and the available rebates for 2023 may differ from previous years, and they’ll be subject to change again in the future.

10. Do you offer payment plans?

Investing in solar is not only a sustainable choice but also a smart financial decision. Most installers know that the upfront cost of a system can be steep and best brought to you with a choice of payment plans.

At NRG Solar, we provide our customers with a Solar now, pay later plan. Our payment plans are designed to suit you, with no deposit and flexible terms up to 120 months. The best part? Your system will essentially pay itself off with the money you save on power bills, so there's little to no money coming out of your pocket! We believe in making solar accessible for everyone.

Payment plans are the norm now, and all quality installers should be able to provide you with one. If your potential installer cannot provide any loan options or payment plans, then it may be best to choose a solar installer who can.

11. Are there any additional costs from the base installation?

When in the process of getting a solar installation, it’s important to understand that there may be additional costs beyond the base installation cost. These costs can vary depending on many factors such as system size, structure of the home, roofing material, installation requirements, additional parts or even the need for additional labour.

This is where the importance of an on-site visit can be critical in determining an accurate quote, to account for the unique aspects of your installation that can’t be captured over the phone.

While additional costs may arise, investing in a professional and quality site inspection from your installer provides you with a more accurate quote that will ensure a smooth installation process. At NRG Solar we can quote over the phone, but also provide free on-site quotation for your peace of mind.

12. Is the quote fixed?

Before you agree to go ahead with a quote, be sure to ask about the nature of it. Is it a fixed quote, where you won’t be surprised by any nasty additions at the end? Or is it subject to change?

Every company will have their own policy, but it’s common for quotes to be subject to some conditions. 

In many cases, quotes provided by installers are estimates based on the information they have at the time. Any future or additional information could be grounds to the quote changing or increasing. 

At NRG Solar, we offer professional consultation to understand your solar needs, and our quotes are fixed so there are no hidden surprises.

13. What after-sales care do you offer?

After-sales care is one of the most important factors of getting solar and something you should consider when choosing a provider. While specific offerings may vary, there are some general aspects that you should expect from any reputable solar company. These include:

  • Ongoing services post-installation
  • Performance checks
  • Cleaning
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Removal and relocation
  • Upgrades
  • Investigation and troubleshooting

Many of these may overlap with product warranty, however ensuring your installer honours these on your behalf is a key indicator of their after-sales care. It's also important that your provider has responsive customer service to address any questions or concerns you have throughout your solar journey.

NRG Solar is proud to offer all the above after-care solutions for our customers.

14. Can I expand my system in the future?

The potential to expand your system in the future should always be kept in mind, even if it isn't at the forefront when deciding to get a solar system. Discussing these plans with your installer will allow them to design a system which can accommodate additional panels or components, allowing your system to evolve and grow with you as your energy needs change.

A knowledgeable installer can assess the potential and feasibility of expanding your system, providing you with a list of determining or limiting factors. This should also outline any regulations or grid connections that may require attention, or anything else to be aware of.

Some limiting factors to expanding your solar could include:

  • Age of your current system
  • Available roof space
  • Any system complexities
  • Inverter capacity

The sales consultants of NRG Solar will always ask you about your future plans, even if you don’t yet know them. Their aim is to provide you with the best solar system possible which is future proofed for whatever your needs may be!

Ready to make the smart choice for your energy future? Contact NRG Solar today to get started on your solar journey. We offer CEC accredited installations, expert advice on system sizing, transparent pricing with fixed quotes, flexible payment plans and a commitment to after-sales care. Let's power your home with clean, green energy that pays for itself.

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