If you are interested in buying a solar photovoltaic (PV) system for your home or business, there are a few things to consider. Here's a buyer's checklist to get you started.
Do your research Things to think about are size of your roof, shade on your roof, how much electricity you use, what your budget is, and the Government schemes available in your area. Find your latest electricity bill and see how many kilowatt hours (kWh) you use on average each day. Also think about when you use the most electricity, during the day or at night?
Contact your electricity retailer Find out how going solar will affect your current electricity rates and what solar feed-in tariff1 they offer. Carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages and the impact on your electricity bills.
Find a solar PV system retailer It’s a good idea to shop around and get several quotes from reputable solar retailers. The price of solar PV systems can vary quite a lot2 so ensure you know the important questions to ask. The Clean Energy Council (CEC) website has advice on finding an approved solar retailer, and these will also use accredited solar installers.
Apply for connection and sign the contract Your solar retailer or installer will provide you with a contract based on your accepted quote. They will usually also submit the application form to us to get your new system connected to the grid. If you prefer, you can submit a form via Customer Self Service. Even if you aren’t planning to export your solar power to the grid, a connection application form must still be submitted to us. We will complete a technical assessment (if necessary) and, depending on the outcome, we will make you a connection offer. You will have the opportunity to accept or decline our connection offer.
Please note: If you are asked to sign the solar retailer/installer contract before you have received our connection offer, make sure your contract can be changed or cancelled just in case you have to consider a different PV system.
Install your solar PV system Once you have accepted the connection offer from us, you are ready to arrange installation. Your system must be installed by a CEC accredited installer. Ask to see your installer’s accreditation card or ensure they are listed on the CEC’s find an accredited installer webpage.
Connect your system to the electricity grid Your solar retailer, installer or electrical contractor will work with us to finalise your solar PV system connection to the grid. We will inspect your system and if necessary replace your electricity meter with a new bi-directional one3. Your electricity retailer will then ensure that your next power bill shows the relevant tariff changes.
Check and maintain your system Your solar installer should provide you with a maintenance schedule. It’s usually as simple as keeping the panels free of dust and debris and having the wiring checked by an electrical contractor periodically. For further tips, see the CEC guide on what to do once your system is installed.
Ensure safety during bad weather Your solar PV system can be damaged during a storm, cyclone or flood and become unsafe. It’s very important to know what to do to ensure your safety, so please read our Solar power safety webpage. It’s also a good idea to check with your insurer if your solar PV system is covered by your current insurance policy.
A feed-in-tariff is the amount an electricity distributor or electricity retailer will pay you for the unused solar power you export back to the grid. You may be eligible to receive the current government-mandated feed-in tariff in regional Queensland. Contact your electricity retailer to find out.