We asked North Queenslanders that have already installed solar about the biggest mistakes they had made when purchasing their solar system.
These were their top 5 responses:
1) I just kept putting it off
The most common mistake that we see people make is that they delay their decision.
Out of the people surveyed, almost 80% reflected that they wished they hadn’t taken so long to make their decision. Citing reasons such as “I was going to see if the price came down” or “I wanted to see if I could get a better deal” as the main reasons they kept putting it off. When asked how they felt about their purchase, almost 80% stated that if they had gone with their initial instinct that it was a good decision and just done it from the outset, they would be thousands of dollars better off by now (the average residential system delivers $1500 – $2000 in savings per year whilst the average business saves $5000 – $15,000 per year). Of the almost 80% who stated they regretted not acting sooner, 50% of these said they had procrastinated for over a year.
2) I thought I’d missed out
Although this is a similar sentiment to number 1 a lot of people fall into the trap of feeling that they may have missed the chance and it’s now too late. In reality, this is not at all the case. Although there could have been a time when there were better subsidies, grants or incentives available, it still does not detract from the fact that solar is the greatest performing investment in the marketplace over the past 10 years in North QLD. Household returns on solar are generally upwards of 25% while Business returns can be greater than 40%. Even though there may have been a time when there was a greater incentive to purchase solar through higher feed in tariffs or better government funding, there has never been a greater return on solar than right now. The average super fund for example performs at around 10% and then there are fees that further reduce this rate, while solar performs at 3 times this level.
3) I was waiting for batteries prices to fall
Solar will always remain a great investment. Energy storage however is a completely different investment scenario and should be considered separately. Obsessing over eliminating an entire bill with the installation of battery storage and making a decision based purely on this is generally not a logical process. Large projects are best broken into smaller chunks. Similar to laying good foundations for a house, the base building block for getting rid of a power bill is solar generation and solar assets. The second stage is the ability to see what size battery asset will provide full independence. The final and most crucial stage is to be well informed. This stage is also the least time sensitive. The more time spent monitoring your asset the better informed your final decision or stage will be. We would say that it’s not a rush to full independence but there is certainly a logical and sensible process that will enable you to make a fantastic first investment as well as an informed ongoing decision process.
NB. All of the above information is based on cost vs return on investment. If you are looking at batteries to secure poor power and outage protection then batteries can be an instant success.
4) I didn’t do enough research on my installer
Around 25% of those surveyed admitted that they had had problems with their system that their solar retailer had not or would not assist them with. These issues ranged widely and were anything from unmet savings expectations through to hard system faults. Some of these issues had resulted in having to employ the services of another installer to rectify the issues and subsequently, had added extra cost to their initial investment. Of those that reported issues, they all agreed that they had done plenty of research on the products they were buying, but not as much on the retailer and/or installer they were dealing with. The only thing shonky installers hate more than an ACCC investigation is a customer who actually knows their stuff! With knowledge comes power, and if a shonky installer realises that you know solar, then their ability to rip you off just took a nose dive (and don’t they know it!). Always, always, always independently verify information, wherever possible. These days there are numerous resources available to help you verify what a solar consultant has told you (the Whirlpool forums are one of my favourite sources of such information). If however you can’t find the answers to your questions easily on Google, we can help.
A few key questions to ask are:
5) I thought putting off making the decision was logical
Fear is a great driver of decision making. It is far easier to do nothing at all than to venture into something new. This is an emotional decision and emotions are so easy to justify. Logic doesn’t even come into it. We always recommend keeping focused on your key goals and whether or not you are making a logical decision. A general rule of thunb – if you will remain in the property for 5 + years then there is very little risk of making a poor decision if you are investing in a reputable organisation that will work WITH you to ensure the goals and deliver on the investment.
There you go.
The top 5 mistakes based on feedback from those who have already purchased solar in Northern QLD.