How to Choose a Solar Energy Provider: Key Factors to Consider

Wondering how to choose a solar provider? Our guide dives into the key factors you need to consider, from reputation and financing to equipment quality and after-sales service. Make an informed decision and switch to solar energy with confidence!

With abundant sunshine, Australia is a prime location for harnessing solar energy. Switching to solar panels can significantly reduce your electricity bills, lessen your environmental impact, and potentially increase your property value. But with many solar providers in the market, selecting the right one can feel daunting. This guide will equip you with the key factors to consider when choosing a solar energy provider in Australia, ensuring you make an informed and beneficial decision.

Understanding Australian solar power providers: Manufacturers, retailers, installers and electricity providers

Solar manufacturers: The building blocks

  • Who they are: These companies design and manufacture solar panels, inverters, batteries, and electric vehicle (EV) chargers. They are the backbone of the industry, constantly innovating to improve efficiency and affordability.
  • What they do: They don’t directly interact with consumers. They sell their solar equipment to wholesalers or distributors, who supply retailers and installers.
  • What to consider: While brand recognition exists, homeowners or business owners should also focus on the quality and efficiency of the solar equipment offered by the retailer or installer.

Solar retailers: Your one-stop shop (sometimes)

  • Who they are: These companies are middlemen between you and the solar electricity service providers. They design your system based on your needs and often handle the paperwork and approvals.
  • What they do: Some retailers also employ accredited installers in-house, offering a single point of contact for the entire project. However, other retailers may subcontract the installation to a separate company.
  • What to consider: Shop around and compare quotes from different retailers. Look for Solar Accreditation Australia (SAA) accredited retailers who offer plans, warranties, and transparent pricing.

Solar installers: The technicians

  • Who they are: These licensed professionals physically mount the solar panel systems on your roof and connect them to your electrical system.
  • What they do: Installers ensure a safe and efficient solar system installation, following all regulations and best practices. They may also handle maintenance and repairs in the future.
  • What to consider: Always choose a SAA-accredited installer with a proven track record and good customer reviews. Ensure they offer a warranty on their workmanship.

Solar electricity service providers

  • Who they are: These companies deliver electricity to your home or business. They may offer solar panel buy-back programs or bundled solar and electricity plans.
  • What they do: They provide electricity and manage your meter. Some may offer financial incentives for installing solar panels, but their core business isn’t selling or installing solar systems.
  • What to consider: While some electricity providers offer solar options, it is important to compare their plans with those of independent solar retailers to ensure you get the best deal. 

Switching to a better plan? You may already have an energy plan but want more power or to shop for a better deal.

Energy Matters‘ “Free Energy Bill Comparator” is a cutting-edge tool for comparing your area’s most competitive retail offers. We collect data from a wide range of trusted retailers, allowing you to decide on a switching plan and find the best deal for your needs.

If your goal is to get more electricity and minimise the cost of your gas and electricity bills, switch to a better plan now!


  • Think of it like building a house: Manufacturers are the brickmakers, retailers are the architects and project managers, installers are the builders, and electricity providers are the utility companies.
  • Do your research: Compare quotes from multiple retailers, understand the panel types and warranties manufacturers offer, and ensure your chosen installer is SAA-accredited.

Choosing the right solar provider for you depends on your needs and priorities

Before exploring specific providers, assess your energy consumption. Analyse your past electricity bills to understand your average monthly or yearly usage. This will help determine the size and capacity of the solar system you require. Consider your future energy needs as well. Are you planning on expanding your household or adding electric vehicles? Factoring this in will ensure your chosen system meets your growing demands.

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By carefully considering the following key factors, you can select a solar energy provider in Australia that meets your specific needs and budget.

1. Look for relevant accreditation

  • Solar Accreditation Australia (SAA): Ensure your chosen provider holds a  Solar Accreditation Australia (SAA). The Clean Energy Regulator has announced installers and designers must be accredited by Solar Accreditation Australia (SAA) as of February 29, 2024.

  • New Energy Tech Consumer Code (NETCC): To further solidify their commitment to responsible solar selling and marketing practices, many solar installer companies may advertise that they are a NETCC-approved seller. A NETCC-approved seller commits to a high-quality standard for product quotations, customer service, warranties, and more.

  • Certifications and awards: Recognitions from reputable bodies like the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) or industry awards for excellence can further solidify a provider’s credibility.

2. System design and quality

  • Understanding your needs: A reputable provider will thoroughly assess your electricity usage, roof size and orientation, and any potential shading concerns. This personalised approach ensures the recommended system size aligns with your energy demands and maximises efficiency.
  • Quality equipment:  While cost is a consideration, prioritise quality over rock-bottom prices. Look for providers that use Tier 1 solar panels from reputable manufacturers. Tier 1 panels generally offer better efficiency, performance warranties, and durability.
  • System monitoring and support:  Inquire about system monitoring options. Real-time monitoring lets you track your energy production and promptly identify potential issues. Choose a provider that offers ongoing support, including after-sales service and warranty assistance.
  • Brands and manufacturers: Evaluate the quality of the provider’s solar panels, inverters, and other equipment. Reputable providers typically work with established brands known for their performance and durability. Research these brands’ efficiency ratings, warranty terms, and after-sales support.

3. Check the installer’s financing options

  • Understand the financials: Look beyond the upfront cost. Consider the payback period (the time it takes for your energy savings to offset the initial investment) and the return on investment (ROI) over the system’s lifespan.
  • Financing options: Many providers offer financing plans, including solar loans or leases. Explore these options and choose the best suits your budget and financial goals. Be sure to understand the interest rates, repayment terms, and associated fees of these financing options.

4. Government incentives and feed-in tariffs

  • Financial incentives: Research the financial incentives available in your state or territory. These can include rebates on the system’s upfront cost, accelerated depreciation for tax purposes, and net metering programs.
  • Feed-in tariffs: electricity retailers offer feed-in tariffs and determine the rate at which they credit you for the excess solar energy you generate. Understanding the feed-in tariff offered by your chosen retailer can help you calculate your potential return on investment.

5. Evaluate the brands and manufacturers they work with

A reputable solar provider collaborates with trusted brands and manufacturers. Research the solar panels, batteries and inverters they offer. Look for high-quality, reliable products with good warranties. Investigate the equipment’s efficiency ratings and durability. A knowledgeable installer will guide you toward the best options based on your energy needs and budget.

Experience and track record: Look for established companies with a proven history of successful installations. Research online reviews and ask for recommendations from friends, family, or neighbours who have transitioned to solar power. A company with a long track record demonstrates expertise and is more likely to handle unforeseen issues efficiently.

6. Compare solar installation quotes

Don’t settle for the first quote you receive. Obtain quotes from multiple solar providers. Compare the total cost and the breakdown of expenses, including installation, equipment, and any additional services. Be wary of overly cheap quotes, as they may compromise quality. A transparent quote should outline all costs and provide a clear understanding of what you’re paying for.  Ensure the solar quotes detail all inclusions –  equipment, installation costs, monitoring setup, connection fees, and ongoing maintenance charges.

Are you looking to save money on your electricity bills and reduce your carbon footprint? Solar energy is the perfect solution! Energy Matters can help you get up to 3 FREE solar quotes from pre-qualified and vetted solar firms in your area.

Energy Matters has been a leader in the renewable energy industry since 2005 and has helped over 40,000 Australian households in their journey to energy independence. With Energy Matters, you can be sure you’re getting the best possible deal on solar energy. We only work with reputable solar firms with a proven track record of delivering high-quality solar systems.

7. Additional considerations

  • Warranties:  Pay close attention to the warranties offered on the solar panels, inverter, and installation work. Standard warranties for panels typically range from 10 to 12 years, with some manufacturers offering 25-year performance warranties.
  • Safety: Ensure the provider prioritises safety protocols during installation. Inquire about their safety record and whether they hold the necessary insurance (public liability and worker’s compensation) to protect yourself and the installers.
  • Customer service: Responsive and transparent communication is paramount. Choose a provider that readily answers your questions, addresses concerns promptly, and provides clear explanations throughout the process.

Making an informed decision

Choosing a solar energy provider is an investment in your home or business and your future. By prioritising these key factors and conducting thorough research, you’ll be well-equipped to select a provider who delivers a high-quality solar system that meets your energy needs and budget. 

Remember, the most affordable option isn’t always the best. Look for a provider who offers a balance of quality, affordability, and exceptional service to ensure a successful and rewarding solar experience.

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With our 3 free solar quotes, you can compare plans from pre-qualified and vetted installers in your area and find the perfect solution for your home and business. Harness the sun’s power and save money on electricity bills while reducing environmental impact. Let Energy Matters guide you towards a brighter, more sustainable future.

Energy Matters will feature stunning homes installed with the latest solar technology every Saturday at 3.30 pm on Renovate or Rebuild on Channel 9. Be sure to watch this show; you don’t want to miss it!

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