What to look for when buying a home with solar – insights from an expert
Buying a home with solar might seem like a saving, but not all solar and storage systems are created equal, and it’s important to ensure you’re not inheriting a problem. Mick Fell – General Manager at global energy solutions company Qcells – shares his insights on the questions to ask and the red flags to look for when considering buying a new house with solar pre-installed.
Check in on the warranty
All solar panel and battery systems should come with a warranty, so it’s worth asking how long the warranty is valid for the system you’re considering taking on. Consider how much solar technology has improved over the past few years, and if the panels and/ or battery system you’re considering buying is old or past its warranty, it might be worth requesting the current owners have it removed so you can install a better, more reliable system in its place.
Ask about the battery
As with solar panels themselves, battery systems have improved significantly over the past decade, with systems (such as the Q.HOME CORE) now able to offer consistent reliable power from one integrated solar battery system. Ask the homeowners about the capacity of the battery they have in place, and do your own research. You might find that you’re taking on a really high-functioning battery, or conversely that you’re inheriting a battery that’s outdated and in need of a replacement.
Once you’ve established the brand of the solar panels and system you’re potentially taking on, it’s time to find out how other owners have fared. Most brands should have reviews online, so do your research and identify potential issues that you might come across before taking on the system.
Enquire about local VPPs and incentives
Many states and local governments have introduced incentives and virtual power plants (VPPs) for solar owners, so it’s worth looking into this and asking the homeowner (or other solar owners in the area) how these have served them to date.
Upgrade your energy to match lifestyle
If you’re moving into a new house, you might not be looking to have the latest mobile phone or trade in your car for a newer model, as the upgrade might not be much different from what you already have. However, if your new home already has solar, it is likely that you can save even more by upsizing your system – most systems sold in Australia before 2019 were less than 5kW in size but a lot of customers are now looking to install 8, 10 or even 12kW systems. If you have a small solar system, then adding an additional new solar system can make all the difference (a bit like going from a Nokia to an iPhone).