How do you know you’re getting value for money with solar

A quick guide to help customers navigate assessing and procuring behind the meter solar for their site.

Solar is becoming common place in our business world. Most businesses have considered adding solar or have been approached about putting solar on their premises. A major issue that stops companies making informed decisions is how do you know you’re getting value for money and not getting sold a dream with the reality proving to be very painful?

In the early days of solar in the Australian market, many ‘fly-by-nighters’ came and went leaving behind the horror stories. This had the effect of muddying the waters around consumers knowledge. Are you getting sound advice or just a sale pitch? Misinformation still lingers for businesses considering solar, often with unnecessary complexity and costs added in. It does not help that the Australian political discourse around renewables is often emotional and not a facts-based conversation.

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Value for money and sound advice are traits all great businesses have, whether you are a supplier or purchaser. And this is where having the technical expertise to see through the jargon and sale pitch, down to the real meat of a solar proposal, matters. As an expert in this field, it is easy to see how people (through no fault of their own) buy into a bad deal without knowing it.

What panels are being used? Are they good or bad panels? Will the degradation of the panels affect your new solar system? What do the various accreditations mean and why do they matter? Are the inverters high-quality or will they constantly fail and limit the solar system performance, ruining the return on investment the business case was built around? Are the installers reputable, they say they are good but is that true? For this purchase, am I offered the best financial options to choose from?

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Without in-depth knowledge of the multitude of components that make up a solar system, it's very easy for less scrupulous installers to put forward a solution that benefits them more than the customer.

This said, the Australian solar industry does have a very high ethical standard, and like most things, it is the minority of organisations in this industry that tarnish an otherwise fantastic group of companies. The businesses most at risk of not getting sound advice, jumping in and getting caught out, are those unfamiliar with this industry.

Advice from an expert, independent from all suppliers, is critical. Beam Solar helps you, the customer, decide what is best for your site, based on your energy load, your future growth plans, your financial requirements, and any other factors that matter to you. We then design a system and give you options around various solar sizes, whether a battery makes sense for your premises and what financial options are best aligned to your desired business outcomes.

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Once we have a design that meets your needs, we offer this system design to the market for pricing based on our minimum requirements that are in addition to Australian Standards and Clean Energy Council guidelines. We notify 20+ solar retailers of your project and invite them to bid on your work. This gives you enormously competitive pricing through our RFP or reverse auction process. Also, because all providers are submitting their information via the beam platform, it removes the possibility for any confusion around equipment specifications and warranties. It allows us to provide a robust de brief with you, a simple ‘apples-for-apples’ comparison of each offer. It's common for us to see a 30% difference between the highest and lowest offer. Beam Solar, its transparency, and our expertise working solely for you, allows us to demystify an industry we are passionate about and find you the best outcome possible.

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