The Complete Checklist for Buying a Solar Power System

By August 13, 2021October 21st, 2021No Comments

The decision to purchase a solar power system quickly turns into an intimidating labyrinth of complex considerations for most home or business owners.

There are a myriad of factors to keep in mind and ignoring any one of them can result in short or long term loss. Often, subtle aspects of my home or neighborhood can end up causing trouble, while in other cases, glaring issues are overlooked or given the workaround which only leads to an unsatisfactory experience.

At bidmysolar™, we can help you navigate through these complexities and get you a quality solar outcome that works for you saving you hours that you will need to spend on research. Get in touch with us today and experience the difference.

However, if you would rather do this research yourself, we’ve put together a checklist with a list of questions to ask yourself, and your chosen solar installer. If some installers do not wish to provide the information than that should be the end of the discussion you have with them.

Is My House Solar Compatible

  • Can the roof accommodate solar panels i.e., structurally sound?
  • What is the roof’s angle/pitch facing the right direction and if not what can be done from a design perspective to accommodate? (For more on this, refer to our article on how roof orientation affects solar panels.)
  • Are there trees, obstacles, or other buildings whish may shadow on my roof?
  • How much sunlight falls on my roof average?
  • Is my area prone to storms/hail storms/high wind/bushfires or salt mist?
  • Does my property have a one, two or a three-phase electrical system?

Calculating Energy Requirements

  • How many KWh of electricity does my property use every day? You can use this calculator to get the figure.
  • What is my average monthly/quarterly electricity bill?
  • By what amount does my electricity price escalate each year?
  • What time of day do I consume most electricity?
  • How does my power provider calculate usage?
  • Have I completed a power audit and where can I save up on bills by optimising my energy usage?

Selecting a Solar Installer

  • Are they CEC Retailers or CEC Installers;
  • Do they have a web presence? This needn’t be a website, as good installers will sometimes only have a profile on a business page or social media account;
  • Do they list their physical address;
  • Do they have a landline or just a mobile number listed;
  • Are they CEC accredited? Use this page for a list of CEC accredited installers throughout Australia.
  • How many years has the installer been in business?
  • Do they hold an electrical contractors license number and is this listed on their website?
  • Does the installer have online reviews and do these appear balanced?
  • Has anyone you know or someone in my neighborhood used the installer’s services in the last 5 years? If yes, then how was their experience?
  • Do they offer details of solar panels, inverters and batteries on their website? Are the products from reputed manufacturers? Do they lead with excessive marketing hype i.e. free holidays or Frequent Flyer Airline points? If they need to offer unrelated solar incentives be very cautious;
  • Do they offer maintenance and monitoring services and if so, have them explain precisely how this is done. Inverter Apps are not a monitoring service?
  • Do they offer a detailed solar proposal covering wiring, racking, AC isolators and clear workmanship warranties? A good solar proposal contains:
    • Solar panel options, segregated by manufacturer, model and rated wattage
    • Number of solar panels required
    • No swap out clause
    • Type of inverter
    • How much electricity the solar panel will produce
    • The grade of wiring
    • The brand of racking and railing
    • Total cost out of pocket both before and after incentives
    • Well documented expected annual savings in present day value
    • The discount rate used to arrive at present day values
    • Your payback period
    • Finance options (beware fairyland interest free finance)
    • Penalties for early payout
    • The interest rate (beware fairyland interest free finance)
    • Terms and conditions of warranty of each component
  • Will the installer manage the legal requirements and paperwork required to have my solar power system design passed by regulatory authorities?
  • Who is responsible for the workmanship warranty, if the installer, than what is his financial standing to honour those warranties should your roof develop a leak.

Legal Requirements

Finding the Right Solar Panels

  • Are the solar panels CEC approved? Here’s a list of modules approved by the CEC.
  • How many modules will be required based on my roof area, and power requirements?
  • Which solar panels does my chosen installer(s) offer?
  • How do I check to confirm the panels I purchased are installed on my roof, have these been swapped out with a cheaper brand?
  • How long is the guarantee on the solar panel? Focus on the construction warranty and not the performance warranty (at time of writing the worst performing solar panel has a 25 year performance warranty).
  • How efficient are the solar panels? Typical rated efficiency is usually around 19%-23%.
  • What is the degradation factor how quickly will the panels last before they start to fail?
  • Close to salt water? Are they rated for these conditions?
  • What is the price per watt of the solar panel? Are they budget panels, quality entry level, quality mid-range or premium solar?
  • Is the manufacturer rated as Tier 1? Do I understand what Tier 1 really means?
  • Does the deal sound too good or excessive?
  • How long has the manufacturer been in business? Are they boiler plate panels with little R&D?
  • Are the solar panels used in commercial and/or industrial applications?
  • What do the reviews say about the panels?

Questions to Ask About the Inverter

  • Is the inverter CEC approved? Here’s a list of approved inverters from the CEC.
  • Is the inverter offered with input specifications that match the output of my solar power system? Here’s an article on how to find the right inverter size.
  • Is the inverter string, central or micro?
  • Can the inverter accommodate batteries? This isn’t required, but maybe optional if you intend to add battery backup.
  • How long has the manufacturer been in business?
  • Do they have an Australian Head Office presence?
  • What do the reviews say about my chosen models?
  • How many phases can the inverter accommodate?

Let Us Help You Out


Yes, there is a lot to take in when it comes to solar and be very suspicious of anyone trying to convince you it’s an easy process and that you will never have a problem. FACT: Solar is an imperfect solution and problems can and do occur, less using reputable equipment and quality retailers. Take your time and make an informed buying decision and the chances of a good outcome are greatly enhanced.

bidmysolar™ is the safe, reliable and rewarding path to solar.

Get in touch with us or call us at 1300 004 600 if you have any questions.