Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Cheap Solar Energy System

While it may seem like a great idea initially, the truth is those who purchase cheap solar energy systems are often stung by much higher costs in the long run, or they are left with a system that doesn’t generate anywhere near as much as they expected.

To find out why purchasing the lowest priced system on the market may not be your best option, read on.

Your System’s Components Will be Low-End

Cheap solar energy systems are usually cheap in components, as well as price. If the 5kW solar system you’re considering is well below the market average, we encourage you to look closely at the products being offered.

solar energy system Warranties

Ensuring the solar components you’ve selected have sufficient warranties in place is vital. However, there are many companies on the market that, at face-value, can seem like a decent, reputable company. However, when you dig a little deeper, you discover they use several dodgy tactics to avoid covering their warranties.

For example, there are some solar energy companies on the market that require you to regularly service and clean your solar panels, and inform customers that without adhering to these conditions, their warranties become void. This is both unnecessary and a reflection of an untrustworthy company. This can be an extremely costly exercise, and essentially takes away from the financial benefits of having a solar energy system.

You will often find that the cheaper systems are accompanied by dodgy tactics like this, as this is the companies way of reducing their liability and reducing costs.


Solar Panels

Your home is one of the most valuable assets you’ll ever own, so when selecting a panel to install on your roof, you want to ensure you’re choosing a high-quality, reliable panel that is designed to last for decades to come.

When selecting a reputable solar panel, you should focus on the warranties being offered, and the length of time the manufacturer has been in the market. Longevity of a manufacturer provides an indication that the company can last through the ups and downs of the solar industry, reducing the risk that they could go bankrupt and leave you with a worthless warranty.

It also gives an indication the manufacturer has been able to keep up with technological advancements within the industry, ensuring you’re getting an optimum panel designed to produce long-term savings.

Solar Inverters

The solar inverter lies at the heart of your system. This sophisticated piece of electrical equipment is responsible for the conversion of DC electricity to AC electricity; controlling the voltage of the system to extract the maximum power available; and reporting on the solar system’s performance. As a result, inverters are where the most faults in a solar PV system occur.

We see several inverter brands on the market that are considered low-quality and unreliable, continuing to make their way into peoples homes due to their low-price offering. However, these inverters usually fail after just five years, putting your whole investment at risk, with replacements costing thousands of dollars.

On top of this, there have been countless inverter manufacturers who have claimed their product is top-notch, only to disappear after a few years as they struggle to keep up with the ongoing warranty claims they receive.

Purchasing the Cheapest System May Impact Your Returns

In addition to reducing carbon emissions, most homeowners purchase a solar energy system to save on their electricity bills. Because payback periods for solar energy systems can be anywhere between 2-7 years, it might end up being a few years before you’re able to directly pocket any savings.

Therefore, your solar energy system will essentially only save you money if it continues to perform after the payback period. While purchasing a good quality system may cost you more initially, you have the peace of mind that it will continue to perform and save you money long into the future. It’s also important to note that most older systems can be repaired due to the components no longer available. Therefore, it will not be an inexpensive repair but a full replacement, completely nullifying any savings you may have made in the short-term.

Your System’s Cheap Price May Be Compensated by Dodgy T&Cs

If a price seems much too low compared to what other providers are offering, it’s a good idea to take a look at the solar provider’s Terms and Conditions.

T&C’s can be a minefield of dodgy Clauses, where solar providers make up for the money they’re not getting selling their systems.

In some cases, installers resort to a ‘bait and switch’ scheme, where they talk you into purchasing a supposedly high-quality panel for a low price but will install cheaper substitutes instead. This is where ensuring you read your quote’s T&Cs in-depth becomes very important.

Some other conditions we’ve seen in the past include having your system installed by roofing contractors, and signed off by an electrician. This is extremely unsafe and puts you and your home at risk. It also is likely that the system won’t be installed to correct standards, which can greatly inhibit the performance of your system.

Companies can also include in their T&C’s that the contractor they’ve assigned to your installation is liable for any damage or defect in the installation of your system.

Essentially, your solar provider is passing all liability onto the contracted installer. This means if something goes wrong with your installation, your solar provider is absolved of all wrongdoing and is not required to offer you any assistance or reimbursement. You’ll have to take on the contractor (if you can find out who they are) by yourself.

Solar Companies That Go Bankrupt

We see a large number of solar companies fail before they reach the 5-year mark. This can be for a variety of reasons, but often most commonly because they have opted to sell cheap, low-quality equipment that begins to fail in as little as 3-5 years and they are financially unable to deal with it.

As terrible as it sounds, some businesses do this intentionally. When they get a surge of warranty claims that the business cannot support, they close their doors and leave hundreds of systems “orphaned”.

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How to Choose the Right Solar Energy System

Like any major purchase, don’t let price be your one and only deciding factor when investing in a solar energy system. Take the time to research your solar provider, including how long they’ve been in business, if they’re qualily Approved, their T&Cs and be aware of any high-pressure sales tactics. Quality of components, level of customer support and extra’s such as Whole of System warranties also need to be considered.

Trilect Solar receives numerous phone calls from people whose initially cheap system simply does not work. At the time of purchase, they thought they had a safe warranty; however, their provider has since gone out of business or due to a loophole in their T&C’s, refused to honour any warranty.

Purchasing a solar PV system is more complicated than simply buying whitegoods, such as a fridge. It’s more like buying the components of whitegoods, making a decision as to who assembles and warrants the construction, and ensuring that all of the internal components are correct. Ultimately, a solar system is a power station attached to one of your most valuable assets – your home, so the quality of a good panel or inverter is something only money can buy.


Trilect Solar is a division of Trilect Services, New Zealand’s master electrician since 1997.

We are members of the Sustainable Energy Association of New Zealand (SEANZ) which offers additional peace of mind to our customers.

Trilect Electrical Services is a large electrical service company which is a member of the Master Electricians & Mastercraft network with 40 employees and a 20+ years history of customer satisfaction.

We do not use sub-contractors. All of the installations will be carried out by our experienced team.

Trilect Solar offers a customised energy plan that works for your home/ business.

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