Why do solar energy quotes vary so much between providers?

Why do solar energy quotes vary so much between providers?

difference between solar energy quotes GEM Energy

When choosing a solar system for your home, the market is notoriously difficult to navigate. Any average punter knows that the best bet is to get multiple solar energy quotes. But with prices varying by more than 200% in some cases – it really is a jungle out there.

Look, we could all be forgiven for naturally gravitating toward the cheaper option in instances like these.

But when it comes to your energy bills, and an investment as large as solar is – it really pays to know WHY your quotes can vary so much and what are you getting or not getting for the quoted price.

And that, we imagine, is why you are here reading this right now. You DO want to be informed and make the best decision for your home and for your family.

So let’s get stuck in, savvy solar buyer.

Let’s start with the basics – price.

We’ve broken down three of the most popular system sizes for residential solar installations:  

System Size 3kW System 6kW System 10 kW System
Number of Panels 10 panels 20-25 panels 31-40 panels
Price Range $3,500-5,600 $5,000-10,000 $9,990-15,000
Units of Electricity per Day 13.2 units 22 units 44 units

If you are quoted prices much lower than the ones stated in the table above – it is highly likely that the company is sacrificing the quality of installation, the quality of the products themselves or even the level of customer service and warranties attached to your system. Even though they may initially seem to operate similarly, a higher quality (and slightly more expensive) systems offer lower degradation rates of the panels, better warranties that you can feel more confident will be honoured, higher quality components and even perform better with varying levels of shading etc. If reassurance and performance are important to you – then it would be wise to choose a higher quality system.


“Okay, thanks GEM Energy!” you think to yourself. You’re welcome.

But what about these Tier 1 panels I’ve been hearing all about?


Beware of your everyday solar retailers and installers who claim that their solar panels are Tier 1 standard. Tier 1 is important, but it more so speaks to the manufacturing process of the panels – not of their performance or longevity, which should be your primary concerns! Some companies may gain your trust, spruiking the Tier 1 line, but in reality they are going to stick you with a low quality investment all the same.


So how do I get the best solar energy system?

Well, of course, you should get multiple quotes. While we personally think we offer the best products in partnership with the best in-house engineering and installation in Australia – you should still get a few quotes to compare the options you have.

It’s really important, however, that you make sure you get like-for-like quote. You simply cannot compare two totally different sizes on price, for example a 3kW and a 6.5kW, nor can you compare a Sunpower panel with a no namer panel.

Helpful hint: if they’re not on the below chart – don’t bother!

Solar Panel Brands Ranked GEM Energy

Credit: SolarQuotes


When receiving quotes for your solar energy system, be sure to ask yourself one simple question:

Has the system being created just for me, with my bill and my home and my usage in mind – or is it just a stock standard package advertised on a website?


If you’ve been asked the right questions and had the condition, type, aspect and tilt of your roof taken into account – you can feel more confident that the system has been designed for you. But if it’s just a package being advertised online in an ad or on a website, with a standard size and a standard price. Watch out! You need to make sure you fully understand the quality of the system you are being quoted on, and the implications that may result from choosing a system that was advertised these ways.


Okay, but what happens if I do decide that I’d like to save some money and get the cheaper option?

Well, you should be prepared for potential issues, such as:

The classic bait and switch. Some installers use quality components as the bait, advertising genuine Tier 1 solar panels and a top end inverter. They put in their conditions of sale that they reserve the right to swap out the inverter and panels for ‘equivalents’. Then, they install a really cheap inverter and panels instead.

Your provider may also cut corners in the install, and do it too quickly or use cheap, unlicensed labour! Some companies have reputations for paying the lowest install rates in the industry. Guess what – they also have a reputation for really poor installations. Think of it this way – most solar power systems operate at high voltage DC. If installed well, high voltage DC is safe. If it is not installed well, it is very dangerous. Can you guess what happens next?

Using a poor quality inverter can cost you as well. A really cheap inverter will be unlikely to last 3 years. Inverters are easier to replace under warranty than panels, but still some manufacturers will blame the failure on ‘grid spikes’ and you’ll either have to fight, or pay $1500+ for a new inverter.

And the worst part. The people that are selling these poor quality systems are making money from their customers 2-3 times over. There is a loophole in the solar rebate, where an installer can replace all the panels on someone’s roof and claim the rebate all over again! The rebate is worth over $600 per kW installed, while a really cheap panel can be bought for under $500 per kW. That’s some tidy profit right there.


And what do you recommend I do GEM Energy?


It’s simple – choose quality!


Avoid shifty providers and find a solar power system that is well designed for your roof and consumption patterns. Choose a company that anticipates the addition of panels and batteries in the future while designing your initial system. These are the kind of companies you can count on to use good quality panels, inverters, racking, wires and isolators. With a trained electrician (or team of electricians like our dedicated residential teams at GEM Energy) who is given the time to install your system properly, you will receive a high quality solar energy system that will perform as specified for decades to come and continue to return your investment well into the future. Keep your wits about you when obtaining solar energy quotes, and be wary of the ‘too good to be true’ offers online, in the papers and on TV.

As always, we will be here to help! GEM Energy is one of Australia’s leading installers, backed by an award-winning engineering team that works on each and every job we install. Call us today to get a quote on a high quality solar system, installed by the best and backed by industry leading warranties, or visit our dedicated get a quote page.

The Top Countries Moving Towards Renewable Energy

The Top Countries Moving Towards Renewable Energy

A bird’s eye view of a large solar energy farm with solar panels covering many of the hills

With non-renewable fossil fuel supplies running out and the world’s energy needs increasing, many countries are looking at alternative ways to produce sustainable energy. One of the top contenders for renewable energy is solar power, which is available all over the planet.

Currently, solar power plants use two types of technology to harness the sun’s energy:

  • Photovoltaic – uses the solar panels and is the cheapest and most popular method.
  • Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) – uses solar thermal energy from large mirrors or lenses to make steam, which is then converted to electricity using a turbine.

Photovoltaic (PV) Systems

The photovoltaic system has gone from a niche market of small-scale applications in 1992 to the cheapest and most-often used technology for generating solar energy. China, the United States, and India were the top three installers of PV systems, while Honduras has the capacity to produce 12.5% of its electricity needs using PV systems.

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)

Spain and the United States are the biggest users of Concentrated Solar Power, with the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility in California being the biggest facility in the world. However, the technology can’t compete with the reduced operating costs and huge growth of photovoltaic systems in recent years.


With its huge population and recent increased need for energy, it’s not surprising that China is the biggest installer of photovoltaic and CSP systems. Solar power is one of the largest industries in China with three of the top four PV power stations, and the world’s biggest in Tengger Desert Solar Park.

United States

The United States has some of the world’s largest solar power stations, as well a high number of rooftop solar panel installations. The industry has seen rapid growth in recent years with the decreasing costs of installations and components. At the end of 2017, the U.S had over 50 GW of installed solar capacity and was in the top four countries for the most solar PV installed.


In 2017, India added 9,255 MW of solar power to its solar program, with another 9,627 MW of solar projects under development, making them the third largest solar power producer in the world. The Indian government’s goal is to reach 100 GW of installed solar capacity by 2022. Several of India’s large grid-scale solar parks are among the world’s largest.


Japan is the world’s biggest manufacturer of solar panels, and is the second on the list of countries with the most solar PV installed. It currently produces 2.5% of its electricity needs using solar power.


Here in Australia, we’re in the top ten for solar PV installations and CSP capacities. We have over 7,803 megawatts (MW) of installed photovoltaic (PV) solar power, with the largest solar power station being Nyngan Solar Plant, which was also the largest in the southern hemisphere when completed. Our rooftop solar panel industry is also growing rapidly.


Since there is no oil in Israel, finding an alternative source of energy is a national priority. This quest, and Israel’s plentiful sunshine, has advanced their solar technology to be almost cost-competitive with non-renewable fossil fuels, and they’re working with the rest of the world to move solar technology forward.

Leading the Way in Solar Power Solutions

GEM Energy is Australia’s leading provider of turn-key renewable energy solutions. Call us on 1300 969 471 or enquire online about switching to clean, free solar power.

VIC Govt Solar Homes Scheme: New Policy Set To Save Victorians Up To 50% On A New Solar Energy System

VIC Govt Solar Homes Scheme: New Policy Set To Save Victorians Up To 50% On A New Solar Energy System

Victoria Solar Energy Rebate

Victorian Government Solar Homes Scheme – It’s Here

VIC Govt Solar Homes Scheme: New Policy Set To Save Victorians Up To 50% On A New Solar Energy System

Victorians – you have just hit the solar jackpot! The Victoria Government ‘Solar Homes’ Scheme, a new policy set to save your household up to $2,225 on a 4kW solar energy system, has now been released following an exciting media release from the Victorian Government just a few days ago. The aim of the scheme is to put solar panels on 650,000 rooves over 10 years, which is an estimated renewable energy investment of $1.24 billion. Consequently, there will be a tremendous rush for solar installation in Victoria as citizens look to claim on this incredible incentive. The document claims that an average 4kW system could save around $890 a year on energy costs which will represent an incredible easement of the energy costs for Victorian households. At an average cost of $4,450 (after STCs) for a 4kW solar system, the payback period (the time it takes for your savings on electricity to pay off the cost of your system) is just 3 years. Though the rebate equals a 50% copayment for a 4kW system, that certainly won’t (and shouldn’t!) stop you from getting a bigger system. From our experience installing hundreds of systems across Victoria, most families benefit more from a 6.5kW system. For a larger system under the VIC Govt Solar Homes Scheme, you would still receive the full $2,225 Solar Homes subsidy, keeping your total power bill lower AND only increasing your payback period minutely.

Adding In The Federal Rebate And Reduced Solar Cost Even Further!

Currently in Australia, the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES – widely known as ‘The Solar Rebate‘) provides Small-scale Technology Certificates (or STCs), which lowers the total cost of a rooftop solar installation for your home. At the moment in Melbourne, this reduces the cost of solar by around $560 per kilowatt of solar panels. The figure from the Victorian Government of $4,450 for a 4-kilowatt system, is after STCs have reduced the system price. This means the Government have essentially paid TWO-THIRDS of your solar system and installation for you (1/3 from the Federal Government and 1/3 from the Victorian Government).

Read more about rebates

Victorian Solar Energy Savings Rebate Graph

System cost after STCs and the VIC Govt Solar Homes Scheme Rebate (Credit: Solar Quotes)

And the best news yet – many of you will be eligible RIGHT NOW

Victorian households are eligible to receive a Solar Homes Scheme rebate if the applicant:

  • has a combined household income of less than $180,000 per annum before tax (the based on the most recent tax assessment notices for the home owners will suffice)
  • is an owner-occupier of a home valued at under $3,000,000 (a copy of a recent Council rates notice will be required)
  • the household does not already have a solar panel system installed
  • chooses a Clean Energy Council (CEC) Approved Product (for solar panels) and uses a CEC Accredited Installer
  • chooses a product that is on the Clean Energy Regulator’s “Register of approved solar hot water heaters” (for Solar hot water)
  • has had an eligible solar panel system installed on or after 19 August 2018, and
  • engages an installer who can provide a statement that they have not received a WorkSafe infringement notice in the past three years.”

A Wise Decision

The Victorian Government policy requires that rebates under the VIC Govt Solar Homes Scheme can only be claimed when the system is installed by accredited solar installers who use approved hardware and have a clean history. In doing this, the Victorian Government is protecting the citizens who are rushing to pick their installer, ensuring that the work is done by professionals and to the highest standards – not the cheapest cost. Here at GEM Energy, we are CEC Approved Retailers AND Installers – with a stellar record for quality and system life. We have a dedicated in-house engineering team, system monitoring expert and Quality Assurance Officer. We have ISO 9001:2015 Certification, which is a voluntary certification that demonstrates our commitment to quality and performance of your system at all times.

Look no further than GEM Energy’s award-winning team for your install under the VIC Govt Solar Homes Scheme and get in quick while this incredible policy is active. Give us a call on 1300 969 471 or click below to get a quote today.


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