Top tips when considering solar

There’s little arguing the fact that adding solar to your home can be one of the smartest things you do. Firstly, you are doing your bit for the environment and our future generations. Secondly, you are reducing your future household expenses and potentially setting yourself up for grid independence (if you add in a battery).


What else can you add to your home that actually pays you money?


Recently feed-in tariffs have been significantly reduced, so adding solar and expecting the significant financial returns of the years past just simply won’t happen at the same level. However, you can still usually get paid something to send your excess solar generation back into the grid (depending on your electricity distributor and their approvals process). A well-designed solar system will still undoubtedly save you money on your ongoing electricity expenses – let’s face it, we are always going to be using lights and power, heating and hot water.


If you’ve ever started investigating your solar options or had a conversation with a friend, you may have been put off from going through with an installation. Unfortunately, despite layers upon layers of regulation, there are still sharks in the solar industry that do their best to line their own pockets with minimal thought about the customer. And if you have a friend that says, ‘I paid for solar and it hasn’t saved me a cent, don’t waste your money’, there’s every chance that they have fallen victim to one of these sharks. And let’s face it, it can be tricky searching for a truly trustworthy Geelong solar installer.


Fortunately, there are some very ethical and honest professionals in the solar industry. If you commence your solar journey with a company that is focused on providing a unique and tailored, long term solution for you and your home, then putting in a high quality solar system will safeguard you against rising electricity prices and grid uncertainty.


So how can you make sure you find one of these solar professionals who will have your interests at the top of their agenda? Here are my top 9 tips when considering solar:


  1. Use a local and reputable solar installer. Make sure they do not subcontract their work. You want to be sure that whoever is selling the system is also responsible for the installation of it. That way if there are any issues down the track no one is going to handball their responsibilities. Referrals here are key. Be sure they live locally so that they can quickly sort out any system issues if required. Make sure they have also been around for a while. Be wary of sites that offer to source ‘3 quotes’ as quite often these companies are not truly local to the area. These companies also often pay to source these leads.
  2. Be sure that they conduct a site visit. Any solar company should not even be quoting unless you have met them, and they have conducted a site visit. A site visit means they can assess your home fully and design a system that takes everything into consideration and will work. Then at install, there should not be any surprises or change required to the system design. During the site visit they should discuss location for the panels and inverter, any switchboard work required and battery locations if applicable.
  3. Ask the salesperson if they are accredited. The other benefit of a site visit is to ensure whoever is preparing a quote, understands how YOU use power in your home and what your future electrical needs may be. Be sure that the person is accredited in either system design and/or installation (ask if they are CEC Accredited) and not simply a salesperson. They should be asking you questions around your electricity usage, and if you plan to make any changes to your home or your lifestyle pattern. All of these things will impact on your electricity consumption both now and in the future.
  4. Make sure they don’t just talk solar. To make sure the company you are talking to isn’t just trying to make a quick dollar from a solar install, they really need to assess your complete home set up. This should involve discussion around battery options, heating and cooling, hot water and your future vehicle choices. Many homeowners will currently also be using gas for many of these options. What will happen though when your gas hot water system needs replacing or the old heating system suddenly gives up the ghost? While you might not necessarily replace all of these straight away, being mindful of what you may replace these with in the future will ensure that you put in an appropriate solar system to cater for these now.
  5. Cheapest isn’t best, but don’t be ripped off either. Solar can be really confusing and the quality of both components (like panels, inverters and batteries) can differ enormously, as does the quality of installation. Believe me, all solar installations are not created equal. Deals that seem too good to be true often are. And there are also companies that promise the world at an inflated price and then fail to deliver, both in terms of the customer experience and the installation. Again, seek referrals from people you know and be sure to get at least 2 quotes so you can compare. A reputable company should be encouraging you to compare options. Afterall, this is a significant and long-term investment for your home.
  6. Find out if you are eligible for rebates. There are 2 main rebates for residential solar. The first is the federal rebate (STCs). Everyone will be eligible for this, it decreases every year, and is dependent on the size of your system. The second rebate is the Solar Victoria Solar Homes program which offers various rebates including for panels, batteries, hot water, heating and cooling, businesses and rental properties. There are various eligibility criteria to access these rebates. Make sure whoever you are dealing with is confident in guiding you in what rebates apply, and if they are trying to do something a bit dodgy here be concerned – you don’t want those practises to flow through into your system installation.
  7. Ask questions. Solar can be an absolute minefield of information and super confusing. Whoever you are dealing with should be able to clearly explain their proposed solution to you without causing even more confusion. Have a think about what is important to you and ask those questions. For example, are you looking for products with long warranties, highest performance, or that simply look nice on your roof?
  8. Find out about the process and timeframes. How will the solar installer work with you? Will they assist with rebate applications if you have questions? How long will it take to install? What happens after install, will they come back and show you again how it works? Who sorts out the paperwork? You want to make sure that the entire process is as easy as it can be for you.
  9. Trust your gut. Ultimately you will know if something doesn’t feel right. Trust your intuition and if something doesn’t feel quite right then either do some more research or get another opinion.About the author: Sophie Wright is CEC Accredited in Grid Connect and Battery Design of photovoltaic power systems. She is also the Sales Manager at Vortex Electrical based in Geelong, a member of the Solar Victoria Industry and Consumer Reference Group and founding member of Australian Women in Solar Energy (AWISE). She is passionate about demystifying solar for consumers and ensuring that the industry continually strives for higher ethical and moral standards in providing the best solutions for everyone.

The Step by Step Guide to Installing Solar Panel Systems in Geelong

The Step by Step Guide to Installing Solar Panel Systems in Geelong

Commercial & Residential Solar panel installations are not a good investment; I think it’s too expensive, I’d rather continue using the traditional means of generating electricity for my business or home…

If that’s something you would say, then it’s time to transition from the analog way of life and embrace technology and sustainable living as it evolves.

Sticking with the traditional means of generating power for your business or home is outdated,  is not a crime, even though it is way more expensive when compared to solar energy.

The question now is,

Why have you not made the switch to move away from your comfort zone even though it’s burning a hole in your pocket?

Commercial & Residential solar panel installations are going to help you save money in the long term, and help the environment.

Why Geelong, Surf Coast & Bellarine Residential and business property owners are switching over & Installing solar panels..

Australia is gradually moving away from the costly, high-carbon, traditional way of generating power such as fossil fuels, oil, gas and coal to a clean renewable source of electricity called Solar energy technology.

As far as solar energy is concerned, you’re either using solar for your commercial needs or personal residential needs.

Both help the environment, and cut costs for you.

The commercial setup is used in offices, industries, factories and other related venues while the residential setup is for households.

When considering solar, it’s important to understand how solar panels work.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

geelong solar panel installations

For a commercial or residential solar panel installation to work perfectly, three requirements must be met and they are.

  • Sufficient space to install solar panels (Rooftop preferably)
  • Solar Inverter
  • Solar battery
  1. The sunlight lights up the panel to activate Direct electrical current (DC) which is then sent to the solar inverter.  The DC electricity that is produced by solar panels cannot light up your business environment, on the contrary, alternating electricity (AC) is what is needed which is where solar inverter comes into play.
  2.  The solar inverter in turn converts the DC electricity into alternating electricity which is used to provide electricity that is used to run your business effectively.
  3. The purpose of the solar battery is for storing energy generated by the solar panel so you can use it later.

Now that you have understood how commercial solar panel systems work, we’ll look at how to get a commercial solar panel installation done.

Step by Step Guide to Buy Solar Panel Systems for Your Geelong Home Or Business 

There are 3 steps involved in the purchase of commercial solar panel systems and we will take a look at them.

1. Find a trustworthy solar panel company and make an Inquiry:

At this point you need to find a trustworthy solar power company that is accreditated and local.

An experienced solar installation company like Vortex Electrical will be able to answer any questions that you have in regards to:

  • What the best solar panel brands are
  • What size solar system you need
  • What rebates exist in your local Geelong, Surf Coast and Bellarine area

The team at Vortex will ask you a few questions, then organise a site inspection.

2. Site Inspection Organised 

A professional solar panel installation company such as Vortex Electrical will then organise a site visit in order to see how much space exists on your roof and to make sure the system will fit as designed. This also helps to avoid any extra charges on the day of install.

3. Get a Quote: Ask About Costs, Rebates & Guarantees

At this point, the selected solar panel company will educate you on on the various solar panel brands that exist, which ones are reliable and have the best reputation in the industry.

You will also be brought up to date in regards to batteries, how they work, as well as what type of “Inverters” are  available for you to choose from.

If you solar system soaks in a lot of the suns energy during the day, you can either sell it back to the grid or save the energy and use it at night, that’s the benefit of having batteries.

4. Contracts, Professionalism & Start Dates

At the end of the consultation if you like what you hear and you’re ready to go green and start saving month after month, simply advise your solar consultant and get ready to sign on the dotted line.

They’ll have a contract for you to sign which protects both parties and clearly explains what type of solar panel system your investing in, as well as installation dates, guarantees and any other details related to your installation.

Installation of Solar system:

Vortex Electrical will come with their accredited solar installation team to get the panel, inverter, and battery installed so you can begin to save money on all your future electricity bills and contribute towards a more sustainable way of life.

Ready to Inquire about Installing Solar?

If you’re looking to invest in commercial or residential solar power in Geelong, Surf Coast and Bellarine, right now is the best time.

How much longer will you continue to pay for consistently rising electricity bills?

Make the switch and install solar.

Get your FREE solar installation quote right now, simply visit Vortex Electrical and start the obligation free process now.

Find out how much you could be saving and join the sustainable living tribe.

Alternatively, click on the form on the right hand side of this page to get started

Much love,

The Vortex Solar Team


Very professional and helpful people. They respond to my questions and emails very promptly.It has helped me get my dental office better organized.