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 Solar power systems,which use panels to generate electricity from the sun,are proving popular in South Australia because of our climate and a general desire to live more sustainably.However,as this fact sheet explains,it is important if you are considering one of these systems to understand what you are buying and not be misguided by unsupported environmental claims.

Household use of solar photovoltaic panel systems has grown significantly as awareness of climate change grows and the cost of systems reduces. Consumers should do their homework before installing solar PV systems and thoroughly examine the power and money saving claims made by retailers.

If you intend to get solar panels ,as a minimum do the following research before agreeing to purchase:

Check that the supplier is accredited

Get several quotes for the total cost to compare value

Check the terms and conditions and ensure what was offered verbally has been included

Ensure there is a clear start and completion date in the contract

Get a receipt for any deposit paid

Check with your insures as your home insurance may need to be extended to cover the system.

Obtaining a quote

Being an informed consumer is always important and never more so than in new areas of technology, including PV systems. Make sure you do your research as there can be big differences in the power generated by the different panel systems,the position they occupy on your roof and the associated inverter. Ask friends or family about the technology if they have already purchased a system; or refer to your list of some credible experts and websites at the end of this fact sheet.

Understanding the costs involved can go a long way towards making the right decision.

Obtain quotes and compare prices and services before committing to anything,The Australian. Consumer law requires all businesses installing solar PV systems to provide adequate information so a quote with the following information should be seen as a minimum:

Photovoltaic module or panel and mounting frame costs

Relevant specifications,location on the property and any relevant building approvals

Costs or associated fees, equipment requirements and electricity or meter connection costs

Any associated requirements to connect the system to the electricity supplier or grid

User manual and maintenance instructions

Proposed installation start and completion dates

When sourcing quotes,consumers should contact accredited installers who use licensed electricians and supply products that meet Australian standards

A full list can be found at the Clean Energy Council

Understanding contracts

Under the ACL, any term or condition of a standard form contract which is found to be unfair can be declared void in the courts, if you find terms within a contract that you do not understand,ask questions or seek independent advise

If the contract is less than $12000 there is no lawful requirement for the provider to enter into a building work contract with you, or for them to take out a policy of indemnity insurance

This is because the work is deemed to be minor domestic building work. If the work is valued at more than $12000 your provider must enter into a domestic building contract with you

Where the contract amount is less that $12000 you should not have to pay any more than $1000 as deposit. If in doubt,seek advise before making any payments

Suppliers using unsolicited sales practices such as telemarketing or door to door trading are obliged to provide a mandatory 10-day termination or cooling off period.Under the ACL . It is an offence for any money to be paid or goods of services to be provided before this cooling off period expires

An electrical certificate of compliance must be given to you within thirty days of the solar system being connected

If you do not receive an electrical certificate of compliance this could jeopardise your insurance if an electrical-related incident subsequently causes fire or  damage to the property.

What happens about connecting to the electricity grid

Feed-in tariffs are a long-term incentive mechanism that was designed to encourage the uptake of renewable energy systems please now that solar customers must have received approval to connect to the grid by 30 September 2011 in order to take advantage of South Australia’s 44c/kWh feed-in tariff.

Regardless of the tariff scheme closing, a solar PV system can still provide benefit to householders in that energy generated by the system will reduce your electricity consumption costs

When your solar PV system is installed you may need to have a new meter(with a spinning disk) this will need to be replaced with an interval meter or smart meter

If your property had a system installed that qualified for a feed-in tariff in South Australia,the contract for the tariff is with the property. The new owner will have the benefit of the feed-in tariff. If the property is rented out, benefits will most likely flow to the tenant.

As the owner you may elect to retain some benefit from the feed-in tariff, however you should get specific advice on how to manage this as you will also become responsible for the tenant’s electricity account. It will be important to make this clear in the tenancy agreement.

Be warned that system owners may forfeit their right to remain eligible to receive the feed-in tariff if the inverter size or capacity is increased or upgraded without permission from the energy retailer. It is recommended that before you increase the size of your system. You seek and gain the appropriate approval from the energy retailer.

Warranties and guarantees

Solar PV panels generally come with a performance warranty that can last up to 25 years and a guarantee lasting five to ten years. Additionally, panel material

Warranties and workmanship guarantees generally span 5-10 years. So manufacturers and retailers are really telling us that these are fairly robust and fault free products

You will be protected by these written warrantees and the Australian Consumer Law provisions on Consumer Guarantees

A system manual that provides operation,maintenance and safety information should be provided by your installer. This manual should also include a system energy output estimate.It is important to ensure you obtain written confirmation of statements made by your installer,including performance claims,guarantees and warranties. Documentation will be essential if you need to make warrranty or insurance claims.

Should you sell your property during the period that your system is covered by the statutory guarantee, it is important that information on the system is passed to the new owner so that should they need to,they have the information to make a claim.

Sino green is the solar panel company We provide you with high quality solar panel products ,including the solar panel kit.


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