i am your guide to solar finance

Next steps: Get a quote and find a retailer

Find a retailer

Many solar retailers are specialist solar companies but most major energy retailers also sell solar systems.

When choosing a retailer it’s important to check that they have the relevant skills and experience to install household solar. The Clean Energy Council recommends selecting a retailer who has signed the industry code of conduct.

Compare quotes and contract details

The pros and cons of different quotes, payment options and contract details will depend on your individual circumstances. Ask solar retailers or financiers to give you the information that’s important to you.

Bill savings, costs, performance obligations and other important terms and conditions can vary significantly between quotes. Make sure you check quotes and contract details to confirm you are getting the features you need.

To make it easier to compare quotes use our Request for Quote template. This will help you get the same information from different providers. Use it as a guide or ask your financier to complete it.

When comparing quotes, here are some key issues to consider:

  • Financier – Who is the financier and do they have an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence or an Australian Credit Licence (ACL)?
  • Total finance costs – Have you compared the total costs of finance and the comparison interest rate under each payment option?
  • Total solar system costs – Sometimes not all costs are covered by finance, and will have to be paid up front. Have you considered the cost of new inverters, which will likely need to be replaced after 7 to 10 years?
  • Electricity tariff – Have you compared the unit cost of electricity under each payment option with your current electricity tariff?
  • Maintenance – Do you understand who is responsible for the monitoring, performance and maintenance of the system, and the associated costs?
  • Repayments – Do you know your expected quarterly energy bill savings and annual repayment costs? Can you afford the repayments costs?
  • Variations – Have you taken into account any changes over time (e.g. increased energy prices under a PPA, increasing loan repayment schedules or varying interest rates)?
  • Exit fees – Are there are any payments at the end of the contract?
  • Ownership – Do you know who will own the system at the end of the contract? Do you need to give notice or pay to take ownership?

Your rights as a consumer

In Australia, all consumer credit providers are governed by the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009. By law, the credit provider has to take some steps to decide whether the credit contract you want is 'not unsuitable' for you. Financial services businesses must also belong to an external dispute resolution scheme This is important if you have a complaint.

If you are sourcing finance through a solar PV retailer, a separate company may be providing the credit. Check whether the company is a credit provider as defined by consumer credit law. If it isn't, you may not have the same consumer protection or access to dispute resolution services.

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Page last updated: 18 December 2015