In-Home or Phone Solar Assessment – Which Is Better?

Energy production by small-scale solar power systems accounted for 23.5% of clean energy production in Australia. It also produced 6.5% of the total electricity in the country in 2020.

The trend is increasing so much that today almost one in every four households has a solar power system installed in their house. That means, around 300 million households are enjoying the benefits of solar energy. One of the most notable benefits is reduced electricity bills after an in-home assessment.

With the cost of solar power going down, the trend is expected to increase in the coming years. Today the cost of installing a solar power system in a home is much lower than it was a few years ago. The return on investment has also increased a lot.

Is your home ready to join the ranks of solar-powered homes?

Read on, as we provide a detailed guide on how you can conduct a self-assessment of your home. This will help you be more knowledgeable when consulting a supplier for installing solar power. We’ll also provide an outline of the in-home assessment by a residential solar energy company and how it may vary from a phone assessment.

Installing a solar system; Getting ready for in-home solar assessment

So you’re considering installing a solar PV system in your home and have never gone through the experience before. In that case, the task of switching to solar energy may seem complicated and overwhelming.

Installing a solar system is indeed a detailed process. So, you must consider all the factors and gather as much information as possible before deciding which system will best suit your home’s electricity needs.

If you do not have the experience of having a solar power system in your home, you may find collecting quotes from various suppliers a long and challenging task.

The good news is, we have listed down a few handy tips that may help you in preparing for your home assessment. Taking account of your home and gathering the relevant information may help you answer the questions of the solar supplier in a better way. You’ll find that your quotation process will become a lot simpler and more stress-free.

A DIY home energy audit to assess if your house is suitable for installing a solar energy system will also give you time during the consultation to ask questions and have a detailed discussion with the supplier about the solar energy system.

Roof and area suitability

Almost all houses in Australia have a suitable roof for installing solar energy panels. Some factors may interfere with their performance and not let them work well. It may also lead to increased installation costs. Let’s look at a few factors that you must consider.

The roof material must be suitable for panel installation. Most roof materials are suitable, but if the roof of your house is made of slate, it may be a problem as slate is very fragile and may not be able to bear the weight of the panels.

Similarly, since solar panels have quite some weight, the house’s roof needs to be in good condition. If you are not sure about this, you can also ask the solar installer to check the roof for you. Also, if you find any problem areas in your roof, you must get them fixed before installing the panels.

The next factor is roof space. Usually, a 5kW solar energy system is sufficient for residences. It consists of 15 to 20 panels, and each solar panel is appropriately 1.6m tall x 1m wide. So, the solar panels would require a roof with a space of at least 25 to 32m.  If the roof on your house is smaller than this, you may have to go for a smaller solar energy system.

Scan the area around your roof to see if it’s getting a lot of shade. Lot’s of things can cause issues with shade such as:

  • Trees
  • Chimneys
  • Antennas
  • Buildings

All these elements may be casting a shade on your roof and affecting the energy produced by interfering with the sunlight. 

Sunlight is vital for your solar energy system to work well. If there is too much shade on your roof and you can’t do anything about it, you may need to reconsider investing in solar panels

Finally, the slope of the roof must support the panels. If it is too steep or too flat, the installation will be more expensive.

Assessing energy consumption in the house

Collect your past bills and assess them to get an idea about the average cost of electricity in your house. This is an essential element of a house assessment as it will give an idea about the number of kWh consumed. 

If you look at your past bills, you can analyse your energy consumption patterns. It will also indicate the average cost of electricity in your area. If you can’t figure it your from your bill, you can use this tool to figure out the average energy consumption for your area. 

If you are able to identify your electricity usage pattern, you can provide that information to the solar installer. We will then use it to determine the size of your system and how much energy it needs to produce to meet your electricity requirements.

It may also help the supplier to find out if your house can rely on self-consumption. It is the perfect scenario for residences as they may not have to use the electricity from the grid in peak times.

As you know, solar systems divert the excess energy to the grid. So, they require a bi-directional meter to measure the power sent back to the grid. You can take a picture of your meter to provide it to the supplier to have a look at it. They will assess it to decide if your meter needs an upgrade or not.

Man sits at table looking at his ipad with solar monitoring displayed on screen

Do your research

One of the most important aspects of getting a solar energy system is considering who you are getting it from.

Make sure to research the suppliers you are getting quotes from. They must be accredited and have proof of their credentials on their website.

Make Time for Assessment

Installing solar is a significant investment. So, it’s important to do your research and discuss it with your family. 

An in-home assessment may take up to 1-2 hours at the most.

You will not have to spare a lot of time from your busy schedule. But make sure that the decision-makers in your family are present at the time of the assessment so that they can ask questions while the installer is available on-site and clear any confusion they might have.

If you can’t make time during the week, you can request to schedule an appointment on the weekend or sometime in the evening when you can easily be available.

Process for an in-home assessment

Solar companies can provide prospective customers with personalised solar assessments and educate them about their electricity bills.

If you are interested in getting a personalised solar assessment done, many companies provide initial services online. All you need to do is fill out a simple survey online and provide a few details about your home.

Once you have filled out the form, a company representative may contact you on the phone to go over your assessment and answer any questions you may have.

Once that is out of the way, and you are willing to move forward, the company representatives may assist you in scheduling an in-house assessment.

What the solar company needs

Here is what we will require to give you an accurate evaluation and determine if you qualify for any financial incentives or rebates.

We may request your recent electricity bill to determine the best solution for your home according to your budget and usage pattern.

We request that homeowners be present at the time of the assessment so that they understand how the solar system will work and how the family can gain maximum financial benefits from the investment.

What we will do for you

We will sit down with you to evaluate if your home is feasible for installing solar energy.  We will assess your energy usage and consumption pattern, and habits. Also, we will look at your roof to check if it is suitable for solar panel installation.

We may also teach you about how to read your electricity bills. It will help you understand how the power companies charge you so you can interpret the calculations done by us and how these calculations can provide you with a solution that will benefit you financially.

We may also discuss future plans for home improvement, which can be considered when designing the solar system for your house.

Our staff may also explain the feed-in tariff system to you in addition to the incentives provided by the government in the form of STCs (Small-scale technology certificates) plus any local state-based rebates. So, you will get a full picture and understand how the solar system can positively affect your budget.

At the end of your appointment for the in-house assessment, we may provide you with all the details mentioned above in the form of a document. You can go through it in your own time and discuss it with your family members.

Most solar energy companies give you time to think and deliberate after the in-house assessment session without any financial impact. This gives homeowners time to think if they are ready for a solar energy system or not.

Phone assessment

Social distancing during the pandemic has been a primary concern. So, if you are concerned about keeping a distance or are stuck at home and want to use this time to discuss if you are ready to go ahead with a solar energy at your house, solar companies like us provide online solutions for that.

We use online solar assessment and communication via phone to provide you with a full solar evaluation and the overall financial impact of the investment, so you can understand how this will benefit you.

Here is how a phone assessment may work:

Our solar consultant will have a detailed phone call or online session with you so they can learn about your home and what are you expecting from the solar system.

They will need your utility bills to understand the consumption patterns and the energy costs in your area.

Once they have gathered the required information, they will draft a detailed proposal. If you are willing to go forward, they will provide you with information about installation and how the system will work, after which we can carry out the installation.

Conduct an audit for solar installation

If you want to get your house ready for a solar system and gain maximum benefit from it, you can carry out an energy audit in your home.

It will help you identify appliances that are consuming too much electricity. You may also identify the high-usage devices that need an upgrade. In this way, you can reduce your electricity consumption and make your living space more compatible with solar.

A small solar PV system can be a valuable addition to your home as it will provide you with clean and reliable electricity. It will also help you reduce your electricity bills and save a lot of money over the years, making solar panels an excellent long-term investment.

If you want to know exactly what the value of an investment is in a solar energy system, you can get your in-home assessment done to find out. So what are you waiting for?

Next Steps…

Interested in solar? By clicking below you can use our smart solar calculator to find out just how much you could save with solar, what rebate you are eligible for, and the impact you will have on the environment.

Don’t wait until next quarter’s bloated bill, and get started today!

Click here to calculate your solar savings!

Join over 20,000 homeowners who have made the switch with Instyle Solar, or the 1000+ positive reviewers who have been more than happy with their solar install.

Otherwise, you can always contact us on 1300 133 556, or email if you prefer at [email protected].

Solar savings calculator banner.