We shop around for mortgages, we shop around for cars, we shop around for building quotes, we shop around for white goods, and why, well, you generally always get a better deal, price, quality, and warranties.
In a recent US study, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that people interested in purchasing solar “benefit from obtaining multiple comparable quotes before making a decision.”
Note comparable quotes. In the past it has been difficult because you needed to talk to multiple solar salespeople and in most cases, they push one solution and price. Further it is common to have vastly different prices for precisely the same system. That is simply confusing.
In general, smart buyers do comparison shopping before they buy cars, plane tickets, and home loans. One should NEVER decide without shopping around, especially with a large investment like the best rooftop solar panels and installation. There are simply too many variables.
The US study found that savings may not come from where you would expect.
Here is what they found.
1. Big Solar Sales Companies Might Not Be the Best for Your Wallet
Larger solar companies, companies that install 2,000 or more systems every year, might not give the cheaper quote. This is counter to what we see in most industries, where bigger companies can offer lower prices. They typically do this by buying product in bulk and selling it for less, while still making a profit.
However, it’s different with solar companies.
- Larger solar sales companies may have more market power, so they don’t have to be as price competitive. Plus, they have a significant marketing budget. People may go with a heavily marketed name fronted by a known celebrity or sports personality.
- Larger solar sales companies may push the low end of the market product and outsource installation and warranties and guarantees and thus improve margins using inferior product.
- Larger installers generally have larger overhead costs such as client acquisition and marketing.
- Smaller/ local installers, who rely on word-of-mouth and customer referrals and can provide sharp pricing with quality installations. Many are long running family owned businesses not fully focused on solar. Here there are advantages.
Going local solar can be (not always) less expensive than going with that shiny, well-branded solar company.
The US study found that large companies on average are more expensive.
2. Solar Panel Installation Cost Might Not Be the Bottom Line
So why not go with the cheapest option?
- Larger solar companies “may” offer longer warranties.
- Larger solar companies “may” also make customers feel more secure. However, this can be a false sense of security particularly if the installation work has been subcontracted and the solar company is but a sales business passing off the risk to a small installer.
- A larger company “may” appear less likely to go out of business before any warranties expire. But again, you need to know who is providing the warranties and guarantees.
3. Having Reliable Solar Companies which are Clean Energy Council of Australia Accredited bidding for Your Business is Unquestionably Better for Your Budget
Reliable and fully vetted solar companies bidding for your business creates a competitive and efficient market resulting in better pricing.
You will obtain greater certainty and be able to compare apples with apples (multiple comparable quotes) without the sales pressure that comes when a sales representative is sitting with you in your home.
- You have time to review your options, unrushed and importantly be able to compare.
- Getting multiple comparable quotes and to consider your unique situation is the best way to ensure you’re getting the best solar deal in the market.
- The more you know, the better placed you are to make an informed decision.
4. The Best and most Reliable Solar Companies Make Solar Better for Everyone
The study made an important point which is as relevant in Australia as it is in the US and this was that more price transparency and competition in the solar market is a good way to promote lower prices overall.
“bidmysolar™ connects customers with more reliable solar companies, creates competitive pressure and efficiency for better quality product and at lower prices.”
bidmysolar™ provides homeowners access to over 250 pre-screened solar companies, an ability to obtain and compare multiple prices anonymously, access to Australia’s first power savings guarantee, longer warranties, and many more benefits throughout the life of a solar power system. Plus, every project is managed and monitored from the start to finish by an independent consultant at no cost to the client.
bidmysolar™ does not share your contact information with the solar companies bidding for your project. You remain anonymous throughout the bidding process – only the company you choose is connected to you. We respect your privacy and your ability to make the best decision for your home at your own pace.
Reach out to one of our knowledgeable solar experts today to get started.