The lowdown on Huglo’s solar panel installation alternatives
Congratulations on your decision to install solar panels!
You’ll not only save yourself a stack of cash on your electricity bills, but also play an important part in helping Australia build a sustainable energy future.
The easy part was deciding to go solar. The slightly trickier part is now choosing the right system for your needs. But we’ve got your back on that one.
As your energy mate, our Huglo team have done the hard yards for you and put together a range of solar panel alternatives to suit a variety of budgets and requirements.
Here, we explain each level, alongside giving you more information about the high-quality panels we use.
Before getting to our package levels, let’s cover some solar basics. If you’re already up to speed on this, feel free to skip ahead to our packages.
A solar system includes two components:
1. Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels
2. A solar inverter
Note: As an optional extra, you can add on a battery to capture and store even more power.
How do solar panels work? It’s a fairly straightforward process.
Installed directly on your roof, your solar panels capture sunlight and convert it into direct current electricity (DC). Your solar inverter then converts this DC power to alternating current (AC), the type of electricity we use in our homes.
During the day, you can use this power so you don’t need to draw down from the main electricity main grid (and save a heap of money in the process!).
Your system will produce more power than you need. This automatically feeds back to the main electricity grid and your retailer will buy this electricity from you. It’s known as your solar feed in tariff (FiT).
If you choose to add on a battery (right now, it’s quite an exxy option), you can store your excess power and use it when demand is high (usually in the evenings), or when you have a power outage. You probably won’t need to draw down from the main grid anymore, so you can say goodbye to those big power bills!
How to choose a reputable retailer and solar panel brand
Unfortunately, the solar panel industry is rife with dodgy installers using even dodgier solar panels. Both the Clean Energy Council and the Australian government have launched initiatives to deal with this issue, and help ensure everyday Aussies don’t get stung by unscrupulous solar installers.
There are two things you can do to check your installer and solar panels are genuine:
1. Clean Energy Council approved list
All reputable solar installers are listed with the Clean Energy Council’s approved list (to save you a click, Huglo is definitely on there!). These installers have demonstrated their commitment to responsible selling and marketing activities, and engage in solar industry best practices.
2. Solar panel validation
When it comes to picking solar panels, it’s all about quality. The Australian Government and the Australian solar industry launched the Solar Panel Validation initiative with the aim of protecting you from purchasing non-genuine solar panels.
All panels on their list (yep, we’re on there again!) are backed by manufacturer warranties, meet Australian standards for quality and performance, and are eligible for small-scale technology certificates (a discount you receive on solar installation).
Huglo’s solar panel package levels
Now you have a better understanding of how solar works, what it includes and how best to choose the right installer, let’s dig a bit deeper into the panels and packages we offer.
Note: This article only covers our solar panel packages. Our inverter packages will be highlighted in a separate piece.
We have three solar panel package levels:
The main differences between each one are budget, solar technology, the warranty period and the degradation level (i.e. on day one of your solar installation, you’ll be at 100% capacity. But as the years go on, they degrade slightly). You can read about the difference between product and performance warranties here.
No matter which package you choose, you have quality panels that have been carefully vetted and chosen for their high-quality production standards, their overall performance and their affordability. To put it simply - we don’t deal in the cheap end of the market!
It’s also worth understanding that you can mix and match your solar and inverter packages. For instance, if you’re on a tighter budget, you might want to go for an 'Ultimate' solar package and a 'Quality' inverter package. The features Huglo Solar believe that are most important are warranty, support and track record of performance in Australia's harsh climate.
On average, most households purchase around 18 solar panels, but this varies greatly according to your roof orientation, your household numbers and how much energy you want to save.
Here’s a breakdown of what you get in each solar panel package:
1. Quality package options
Founded in 2000, LONGi is a Chinese company focused on manufacturing high-quality PV modules for industrial and residential applications with a mission to fulfill a goal of reducing the carbon emissions worldwide. LONGi Solar is the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer and only manufactures monosilicon panels.
Why choose these solar panels? A great bang for your buck purchase. Performance warranties are at the mid level, but product warranties are shorter than the other brands Huglo Solar stocks. LONGI Solar are one of the more popular brands in Australia and the have locally based support.
Founded in 1997, Trina Solar is one of the world leaders in in solar technology innovation and manufacturing (they’ve set 20 world records for silicon solar cell efficiency and solar module power output). Trina Solar is one of the largest solar module manufacturers having sold over 83GW in modules and having installed over 5.5GW in grid-tied installations worldwide.
Why choose these solar panels? A great bang for your buck purchase. Performance warranties are at the mid level, and longer product warranties than LONGi but shorter than the other brands Huglo Solar stocks. Trina Solar are one of the more popular brands in Australia and the have locally based support.
2. Premium package options
Hyundai solar panels are competitively priced, tier 1 modules manufactured by South Korea's Hyundai Green Energy. The company kicked off its solar activities in 2004, set up its first cell and panel production line in 2007 and entered the Australian market in 2009. Hyundai solar panels are salt mist corrosion resistant, so are suitable for installation anywhere in Australia.
Why choose these solar panels? These solar panels look great and are backed by the major South Korean brand Hyundai. The performance warranties are equal to their counterparts and they have 25 year product warranties, longer than the Quality range. Hyundai solar panels are becoming more popular in Australia and the have locally based support. We like these panels given their price point and the length and quality of the product warranty.
Hanwha Q CELLS is a major manufacturer of solar panels. In Australia and elsewhere, the company is now usually just referred to as QCells. QCells produces panels in Malaysia, China, and South Korea. QCells describes their panels as “Engineered in Germany”. While they no longer manufacture panels in that country, their headquarters for research and development are in Germany.
Why choose these solar panels? QCells provide a great option that are aesthetically pleasing with a high-quality product warranty supported in Australia.
3. Ultimate package options
REC is short for Renewable Energy Corporation. The company was founded in Norway but now carries out all production in Singapore. REC is medium sized producer of solar panels. They shipped 1.34 gigawatts of panels in 2017, which was more than what was installed in all of Australia that year. In 2021 the company announced it had shipped 11 gigawatts of REC solar panels, which is equivalent to 40 million modules.
Why choose these solar panels? REC solar panels look great, have above average perfromance and are backed by a high-quality manufactuer. The price point of these panels is higher, hence in the 'Ultimate' range, but the quality of panels matches this and comes with a great warranty.
SunPower is an American firm that provides high quality, tier one solar panels; with some models being produced through its spinoff Maxeon Solar Technologies. The company's products are widely considered among the best available. Sunpower Maxeon solar panels have the highest efficiency currently on the market, are likely to be the best at tolerating partial shade, and they have a 40 year replacement product warranty in Australia.
Why choose these solar panels? Sunpower is a top of the range product and they have options that include an Enphase microinverter built in. The panels also look great and have an industry leading warranty of up to 40 years. The cost of these panels will be higher, but you can purchase with greater peace of mind of quality.
It's your choice
Phew, you’ve make it to the end our solar panel comparison. It's a commendable effort!
If you're still on the fence about which package to choose, we do have a few general recommendations:
• If you want the best bang for your buck, go for LONGi Solar or Trina Solar modules
• If aesthetics are important, go for Sunpower, QCells, Hyundai, or REC modules
• If you want the best power output, pick the Sunpower or REC modules
• If you want the least amount of power degradation, high performance and optimal power yield no matter the climate, the REC Alpha Pure or Sunpower is our top choice
At the end of the day, every customer has unique electricity needs. That's why we focus on customising our packages to suit your individual circumstances. Please get in touch with us to discuss your solar panel design requirements, as we'd love to help.
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Huglo also wishes to acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the traditional custodians of Australia. Huglo's offices are based on the land of the Gadigal and Ngunnawal People of the Eora Nation, and we wish to pay our respects to elders past, present and future.