Uptake of renewable energy in Australia is on the rise, and there’s a mind-boggling range of solar providers ready and willing to sell new customers their solar solutions. The amount of providers, technology, pricing and information available can be enough to overload the most prudent solar researcher. In this article we’re outlining a few things to help you on your quest to choose the best solar provider for your needs.
So, what should you pay attention to when researching solar options?
How to trust your solar provider
One of the questions that trips up many solar investigators is how to trust a solar company. After all there are so many options, it can be difficult to tell the difference. One good indicator is structure - how is the company structured? You’re looking for evidence the company is well supported, with high quality drivers at the helm. Plico is partnered equally with Swiss private fund manager SUSI Partners, an investment manager specialising in sustainable energy infrastructure investments.
Additionally, do they have financial backing to ensure they’re going to stick around? When you join Plico, you have the reassurance of the backing from our investment partner SUSI Partners, who have committed to financing the rollout of Plico systems in the coming years. The fund’s evergreen structure is perfectly suited to provide permanent capital and an ideal support for a long-term rollout strategy at significant scale. This backing demonstrates to our current and future customers that Plico is a quality solar and battery provider, with global backing they can trust to give them a powerful solution to their energy needs.
Pricing and payment options
Pricing will no doubt be one of your key considerations when making a decision about which solar provider to choose. After all, many people only choose to move ahead with solar when they’re likely to save on energy bills.
Don’t be tempted to simply choose the cheapest option. Value is important, but not at the expense of good quality technology and service. If you choose cheap now, you may well pay more in the long run, through costly repairs and servicing. Solar technology is an investment that will support your household (or business) every day for years to come - it’s worth ensuring you’re getting good quality. Be sure to balance value with quality.
Furthermore, consider payment plans on offer. From once-off payments to regular payments, consider the needs of your family before committing. Plico’s weekly subscription model offers payments over 10 years, covering everything from installation, through technology and support, future-proofing via our planned Virtual Power Plant, to our servicing and maintenance across the 10 years (available to all customers). This is in addition to our option to purchase the system outright, at any point post installation.
Clear timeframes and expectations
From the outset of your conversations, you’ll want to be informed about what’s involved in the process and how long it’s likely to take. You can typically expect an initial phone conversation, followed by a site visit for a technician to evaluate your rooftop and panel requirements for your household’s energy usage, then forms to fill out, energy provider approvals and installation to be scheduled. Additionally, COVID-19 has impacted many industries, including solar, resulting in technology delays and disruption to personnel availability. Your solar provider should be upfront about what to expect throughout the process.
If at any time you sense they’re being less than upfront or unable to answer your questions, that’s your cue to ask more! ! Of course, you’re also entitled to back away at any time.
After sale support
We all like to believe things will run smoothly after installation, but this isn’t always the case. If you have questions about your system, or there’s an issue and you need to speak to someone, does the solar provider have an Australian office and phone number? Is local support available?
When you join Plico, not only can you speak to our support team here in WA, Australia, but you also receive servicing and maintenance of your system whenever it is required. This is how we ensure you - and your solar solution - are provided the best possible service and support, and stay on top of any potential problems. Ensuring your system works at its best at all times is how you’ll get the best from it – and ultimately how you’ll save even more on your energy bills. We’ll also proactively tweak your system to make sure you’re getting the best possible results.
In addition, what power do you have to monitor your usage and keep on top of how your system is performing? Look for providers who offer some capability to stay across your system’s output. Plico’s offering includes an easy-to-use app, which allows you to log in from anywhere and see how your system is performing and your energy use in real time.
Other things to look for
When you’re ready to get into the details, expect a professional quote that includes details of exactly what you'll receive, what the agreement entails and how long it lasts. In this way, you can compare quotes when you have like-for-like proposals. Our quotes also provide an estimate of the savings you’ll enjoy across the lifetime of your system, which provides some peace of mind when it comes to moving forward.
Be sure to check out the details of the warranty as well. Typically, you can expect two categories - power warranty (expect 25 years) and product warranty (expect at least 10 years).
Investing in a solar solution for your home or business is a big decision. There are lots of factors to consider, and the complexity of the Australian industry can cause confusion. At Plico, we’re on a mission to make solar + battery as accessible as possible to as many Aussies as we can. If you’d like to talk it through, give one of our switched-on people a call on 1300 175 426 or check out our Savings Calculator for an estimate of what you can expect to save.