Which solar panel for me?

"Which solar panel do you recommend for electricity?"

This question comes up every tour of Sydney's  Sustainable House, and in many conversations I have with those thinking of making their power from the sun's energy.

The best question here, I suggest, is, "Who do you recommend to supply and install my panels?".

No solar panel, no matter it's quality, can rise above the level of quality of its installation.  CHOICE has surveyed Australian solar panel owners and found a high level of poor quality installation. Over 18% of people have a poor experience.

The problem can be either or both poor panels or poor installation.

The solution I recommend is to withhold payment of the balance of the purchase money until you're confident the panels have been correctly installed.  You'll know this if you ask, and have confirmed in writing, what amount of power the panels will deliver.  This will vary depending whether it's sunny, raining or overcast but can be accurately predicted in advance.

You can know the amount of power two ways;  by seeing what the energy meter says, and / or, by seeing what the power is on the computer or phone app for the product. Many solar electricity panels have apps to let you know at any time anywhere what the panels are producing.

If the panels are not giving the promised amount of power get the installers back to fix the problem, and pay when you all agree the system is working according to specifications.

Meanwhile, that terrific Australian renewable energy publication, Renew Magazine, has published a list of solar panels here.

Good luck and may the sun be with you and upon your roof.