It’s no secret that solar panels are a big investment. And when it comes to such an important purchase, it’s only natural to want to save money where you can.
You’ll find a lot of results (and ads) popping up if you search for ‘cheap solar panels’ on Google. But is it really worth it to go for the cheap option?
If you’re considering cheap solar, beware! You could be risking your safety, your home and your money. Cheap solar deals may seem too good to be true, and that’s because they usually are. Do your research, ask around and get multiple quotes before making a decision – it could save you a lot of heartache (and money) in the long run.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the risks involved in using cheap solar panels. We’ll also discuss the benefits of investing in quality solar panels from a reputable company. While the cost of solar panels can be a barrier, there are plenty of affordable options that will stand the test of time.
So if you’re considering purchasing solar panels, make sure to read this blog post first!
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Is there Any Difference in the Quality of Solar Panels?
It’s important to understand that there is a big difference in the quality of solar panels on the market today. Cheap solar panels are often made with lower-quality materials, which means they’re not as durable or efficient as more expensive options.
In addition, cheap solar panels may not have undergone the same level of safety testing as more expensive models. This means they could be more likely to break or catch fire.
Investing in quality solar panels from a reputable company is always a better option than buying cheap panels from an unknown manufacturer. Not only will you get a product that’s more reliable and efficient, but you’ll also have the peace of mind knowing that your solar panels have been thoroughly tested for safety.
If you’re considering installing solar panels on your home, it’s important to choose a quality product that will last. Unfortunately, there are many cheap solar panels on the market that may not meet your expectations. Later in this blog post, we’ll recommend some reputable solar panel brands that offer budget-friendly products without compromising on quality.
Keep reading to learn more about the catch behind cheap solar panel deals.
What Are the Cheapest Solar Panels in Australia?
If you search for cheap solar systems online, you’ll see some companies offering solar for less than $3,000. However, if you want to avoid dodgy products or poor installation, you’ll need to spend at least $5,000 to $9000 for a quality 6.6kW solar PV system.
Any price lower than this is a major red flag that the solar retailer is engaging in unsavoury practices.
When you get a solar installation quote from a reliable installer, the truth is that you’ll usually be able to find a cheaper solar price online. That’s because cheap solar companies engage in a lot of questionable practices to get that rock-bottom price. You may not end up with the solar panels and hardware you expect, or you may receive a PV system that’s wrongly sized.
You can read more about how companies achieve these cheap prices below – and all of them are bad news for customers.
Are Cheap Solar Panels Worth It?
No, cheap solar panels are not worth it. In fact, they can be downright dangerous. Cheap solar panels may seem like a good deal, but they can be dangerous to your home. They’re also likely to be unreliable and fail prematurely, before you’ve gotten enough value from your solar PV system.
Customers can be attracted by cheap solar prices, unaware of the low quality solar panels and hardware they’re receiving. There are a few things you should keep in mind before making your decision.
Cheap solar panels may not be as durable as their more expensive counterparts, meaning they may need to be replaced more often. When buying cheap solar panels, the best case scenario is that cheap solar will need replacing in a few years, the worst case scenario is that it may only last a few months.
Additionally, cheap solar panels may not be as efficient, meaning they won’t produce as much power and may not save you as much money in the long run. Given that cheap solar panels don’t last, you may never hit the ‘payback’ threshold before things need replacing.
Another thing to consider is safety. Solar panels are made up of many delicate parts, and if they’re not installed or tested properly, they could pose a serious safety hazard. Solar panels that are inexpensive are frequently constructed with lower-quality materials. This makes them more likely to break or catch fire. In addition, cheap solar panels may not have gone through the same level of testing as more costly models.
So if you’re considering installing solar panels on your home, it’s important to choose a quality product from a reputable company. You’ll get a product that’s more reliable and efficient, and you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that your solar panels have been thoroughly tested for safety.
In short, cheap solar panels are not worth the risk. It’s always better to invest in quality solar panels from a reputable brand and installer.
What Are the Risks of Buying Cheap Solar Panels?
There are a few ways cheap solar companies manage to offer such low prices. Any one of these practices can end up costing you more money in the long run. That’s because you’ll either have to replace your solar system sooner than expected, or you’ll have to pay more for repairs and maintenance.
Here are some of the most common practices that put customers at risk:
1. Poor quality solar panels that don’t last
One of the top ways dodgy solar installers pull off cut-throat prices is by using the cheapest solar panels on the market. A good quality solar panel should last 25 years, and have both longevity and efficiency guarantees. Cheap solar panels may need replacing after just a few years, or drastically decline in efficiency within months.
2. Warranties aren’t honoured if problems occur
When cheap solar panels fail, dodgy installers typically refuse to pay out on warranties, claiming damage was caused by the customers. In fact, cheap solar panels just don’t last under the Aussie sun, and can suffer severe damage and loss of performance in a short time frame.
3. Getting a dodgy or undersized inverter
Solar inverters are critical to your system’s performance, but cheap solar installers will cut costs by using poor quality inverters and claiming they’re top-of-the-line. Similar to solar panels, these can fail within years, and ‘grid spikes’ can be used as an excuse not to replace broken inverters under warranty.
4. Brands and models are switched before installation
Cheap solar companies will advertise premium and high-quality solar panels and inverters, but the catch is in the fine print. The terms and conditions state that they can swap out the products you paid for with ‘equivalents’ – and they install low-quality panels or inverters instead.
5. Your solar PV system isn’t right for your home
When you see a cheap solar deal advertised, you can be certain it isn’t designed for your roof and your family’s needs. Salespeople will be pushing a standardised set-up and not one appropriately sized, with the right panels and inverter for your priorities. This will drastically affect the efficiency and output of your solar PV system, and therefore the value you get out of it.
6. The company will always upsell you later
Ads for cheap solar will often leave out the critical information on what brands and models of hardware are included. They may even leave out the size of the system altogether. Once customers are drawn in by the cheap deals, they’re upsold on a more expensive system, meaning no one really gets the advertised price.
7. Dodgy installation by unqualified workers
Installation is where cheap solar companies usually cut corners. Rather than have a qualified technician install your solar panels, dodgy companies will use cheap labour, including backpackers with an ABN but no electrical licence. You can even find job postings for these roles on Gumtree!
8. Rushed and unsafe installation
Cheap solar companies will also cut corners on safety when it comes to installation – all to get the job done faster and save a few dollars. However, high voltage DC current can be very dangerous if not handled by qualified technicians. This can even lead to devastating house fires and property damage.
9. Unethical and aggressive sales tactics
Dodgy will use commission-only salespeople to push their cheap solar panel deals, enforcing strict quotas. This incentivises salespeople to bend the truth and engage in unethical sales tactics to get their commission – including overselling the benefits, skimming over details and doing whatever it takes to close a deal.
10. Fake reviews and testimonials are used
Cheap solar companies have been caught writing fake reviews praising their poor-quality installation or cheap products. They may even set up fake testimonials on their websites, or use real customer reviews out of context to make it seem like they offer a great service. Be very wary of any online review you read, and do your own research using independent sources before making a decision.
Cheap Solar Panel Warning Signs
There are a few warning signs that a solar company is cheap and unreliable. Here are some things to watch out for:
- Unusually low prices: If a company’s prices are much lower than its competitors, that’s a red flag.
- High-pressure sales tactics: Reputable solar companies will give you time to make a decision. If a company is pressuring you to sign on the dotted line right away, that’s a warning sign.
- Lack of licensing and certification: Solar installers need to be licensed and insured. If a company can’t show you proof of its licences and insurance, that’s a red flag.
- Unprofessional website: A cheap solar company may have a poorly designed and out-of-date website full of errors, or may not have a website at all. This is a good indicator that the company is not reputable or trustworthy.
If you see any of these warning signs, it’s best to steer clear of the company in question.
If you’re thinking of buying solar panels for your home, it’s important to do your research first. However, it’s important to make sure your research doesn’t lead you in the wrong direction!
Rather than focusing on those ‘cheap solar panels’ ads, be sure to check client reviews of the solar panels and solar installer you’re considering.
As an example, you can check out our reviews: JFK Electrical Solar and Air
Best Budget Solar Panel Brands in Australia
If you’re looking for quality solar panels without breaking the bank, there are multiple brands offering budget-friendly solar panels in Australia.
SolarQuotes holds an annual Installers’ Choice Awards to find out which brand they’d choose for their own homes, with nominations in two categories:
- What brand would you install if money was no object?
- What brand would you install if money was tight and every dollar counts?
Here are the top affordable solar panel brands in 2022:
- Canadian Solar
These brands offer budget-friendly solar panels that are high quality and reliable. Plus, they’re all backed by strong warranties, so you can be sure your investment is protected. To learn more about these solar panel brands, see our article on the best solar panels in Australia.
How Can I Save Money on Solar Panels?
If you’re interested in installing solar panels but want to save money, there are a few things you can do:
- Compare quotes from multiple solar installers. This will help you get the best price on your installation. However, be sure you’re choosing reliable installers so you’re not comparing apples and oranges.
- Look for government solar incentives. Most Australian states and territories offer solar rebates that can help offset the cost of your installation.
- Finance your system. There are several solar panel finance options available, so you can spread the cost over time.
Installing solar panels is a big investment, but it doesn’t have to be out of reach. By shopping around and taking advantage of rebates and incentives, you can get quality solar panels installed on your home without breaking the bank.
The good news is that if you choose a reliable solar installer, you can still get great savings on quality hardware that will really pay off in the long run. Solar prices in Australia are very competitive at the moment, so it’s important to look for the best value deal in the long run, and not just the lowest installation cost.
Are More Expensive Solar Panels Worth it?
When it comes to solar panels, you often get what you pay for. More expensive solar panels will usually be of a higher quality and will be more efficient. This means that they will produce more electricity and will last longer.
However, solar panels are a big investment, so you’ll need to weigh up the initial cost against the long-term savings. If you can afford to invest in higher quality solar panels, it’s worth considering. However, if you’re on a tight budget, there are still plenty of budget options available that will provide you with quality solar power.
Installing solar panels is a great way to save money on your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint. However, it’s important to do your research before making a purchase. There are a lot of cheap solar panels on the market, but they often come with a host of problems.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to buy cheap solar panels is up to you. But remember, when it comes to such a big investment, it’s important to weigh all your options carefully before making a decision. Cheap solar panels may seem like a good deal at first, but in the long run, they may not be worth the risk.
By choosing a reputable solar panel brand and installer, you can be sure you’re getting quality products that will save you money in the long run.
What is the cheapest solar panel type?
Polycrystalline panels are slightly less efficient than monocrystalline panels, but they are also less expensive. Monocrystalline panels are currently the most efficient type of solar panel, but they are also the most expensive.
Are cheap solar panels any good?
Cheap solar panels can often be of poor quality and may not last as long as more expensive panels. Additionally, cheap solar panels may not be as efficient as more expensive panels, meaning they’ll produce less electricity. Ultimately, cheap solar panels are not worth the risk.
This article is published in good faith and for general informational purposes only. JFK Electrical does not make any warranties about the ongoing completeness and reliability of this information. Always seek personalised advice on solar energy to ensure any recommendations suit your property and scenario.
John Lyons, the owner of JFK Electrical Solar & Air, started his career in the electrical industry in 1997. With years of experience gained in the industry across multiple continents, he relocated to Australia and decided to specialise in solar and air conditioning. After deciding he wanted to be closer to his family, John began his own local electrical business in Mandurah, using his extensive knowledge and training in the industry. At JFK, John’s number one goal is to provide tailored solutions to his customers. And thanks to his experience and commitment to his customers, JFK Electrical is now one of the most trusted local businesses in Mandurah for solar and electrical services.