Solar Installers

Compare solar installers Solargain, Solahart, Infinite Energy, Origin, Autonomous Energy, Arise Solar and Bradford Solar on their customer service, solar system performance, installation process, durability and set-up cost.

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See our Ratings Methodology.

Solar Installers 2021 award

Most Satisfied Customers | Solargain

Solargain has been ranked best in Canstar Blue’s 2021 review of solar installers in Australia. Solargain earned five stars for its solar system durability, installation process, solar system performance, customer service and overall satisfaction.

Solargain logo

Solargain rated best for solar panel installation

With lower bills and renewable energy on the table, the choice to go solar should be an easy one. What’s probably not so easy, however, is getting over the few hurdles along the road to get there. Will it fit in your budget? Do solar panels work with your roof? Should you purchase a battery? With all of these questions in mind, it’s crucial to be in good hands when it comes to picking an installation specialist. That’s why 76% of customers we surveyed compared quotes from several installers before going with one. It seems that a good majority of us are putting in the yards before settling on one retailer, given there are a range of companies to choose from.

It goes without saying that solar installation isn’t always black & white, with so many installation companies on the market claiming to have the cheapest prices and best service. You will have seen all those Facebook ads targeting you after searching for ‘solar’ in Google that one time?

Especially as a first-timer, it’s not always clear what your best options are. And that’s where we come in. Canstar Blue has taken the work out of choosing a good solar installer, by collecting the opinions of those that have already installed solar across Australia. We’ve asked them to rate their solar installer on variables such as customer service & advice, performance of solar system, installation process, durability and set-up cost, in order to help you find one that suits your needs. So, what did we find? Read on to find out, or go and grab a quote for yourself via the link below.

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Best Solar Panel Installers

Best solar installation

Here are the best solar installers in Australia, as rated by more than 1,400 households in our customer satisfaction survey:

  1. Solargain
  2. Solahart
  3. Infinite Energy
  4. Origin Energy
  5. Autonomous Energy
  6. Arise Solar
  7. Bradford Solar

Solargain was the only provider to be rated five stars for overall satisfaction and performance of solar system. In fact, it achieved five-star ratings across all categories, which also include customer service & advice, installation process, set-up cost and solar panel durability. For Solahart, Infinite Energy, Origin and Autonomous Energy, it was four stars for overall satisfaction. Arise Solar and Bradford Solar scored three stars overall.

It should be noted that, although we conducted a national survey to form these ratings, some of the companies listed may only operate in certain states or regions. Also keep in mind that we only compared solar installers that received the minimum sample size of 30 to be included in the ratings. Many others are available.

Read on for a guide to some of Australia’s most popular solar installation companies and to find out what to expect from them. We also go into detail about solar systems and what questions you should be asking your installer. But first, here is a glance at the solar-specific energy deals on our database:

Solar Plans

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 3900kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4600kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on SA Power network in Adelaide but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Top-Rated Solar Installers

Here’s a glimpse at the seven solar installers in this year’s review. Read these descriptions to help you understand which installer might be the best fit for your household and budget.

Solargain

solar-gain-logo

Australian-owned and operated solar retailer, Solargain, has been around since 2005, with a log of more than 65,000 installations across the country. Specialising in solar panels, solar hot water and battery storage systems, this retailer has a range of pre-established packages, regularly offering discounted deals on certain systems. A Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retailer, Solargain claims outstanding customer service, with its own dedicated after-sales solar service department.

  • This year’s solar installer ratings put Solargain at the top of the table, with a clean sweep of five stars across each research category. This included overall satisfaction, customer service, performance of solar system, durability and set up cost.

Solahart

solahart-logo

While Solahart is probably best known for its solar hot water systems, with operations dating back to 1953, this company also retails solar panels and energy storage solutions. Solahart made its humble beginnings in Western Australia, growing to offer solar installation to more than 70 countries as a major subsidiary of Rheem. The company, a Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retailer, claims it holds its practice to a high standard and according to its website, its “installers are trained to the highest standards to ensure the safety and effectiveness of your system”.

  • Solahart had a mixed bag of ratings in our second-ever solar installer review. It got five stars for customer service, durability and installation process, while it scored four stars for set-up cost, performance of solar system and overall satisfaction.

Infinite Energy

infinite enegy logonew

Infinite Energy is a large solar company, operating nationwide, which also sells power and gas to businesses in Perth and south-west WA. It claims its approach to residential solar packages is ‘honest, informative and no pressure’. Some of Infinite Energy’s lineup includes solar panels, inverters, batteries, heat pump systems and hot water systems. It also sells electric vehicle (EV) charging stations for homes and businesses.

  • Infinite Energy ranked third in this year’s review of solar installers. The company took out four stars for overall satisfaction, durability, installation process and customer service & advice. It got three stars for set-up cost and performance of solar system.

Origin

origin-energy-logo

In what may be news to some, Australia’s biggest energy provider, Origin, is also retailing solar products. It currently offers three main solar panel packs in its range, though also claims to cater to its customers’ individual requirements. Those interested in Origin for solar installation should also note that this retailer only has two battery storage options, the Tesla Powerwall and LG Chem. This solar installer also advertises a two-year interest-free payment plan for those who’d rather pay their big investment off gradually. Origin also provides customers who purchase solar through them to receive a slightly inflated feed-in tariff when signing up to its Solar Boost Plus plan.

  • Origin mainly achieved four-star ratings across the board, including for overall satisfaction and performance of solar system. It did, however, score five stars for set-up cost.

Autonomous Energy

Autonomous Energy logo

Autonomous Energy claims to be leaders in solar PV, energy storage, microgrids and overall energy efficiency. With a background in large-scale solar projects, Autonomous Energy delivers solutions to commercial and industrial businesses across Australia. Founded in 2003, Autonomous Energy is headquartered in Sydney, and has grown to be one of the country’s biggest solar energy solutions companies.

  • Autonomous Energy was rated four stars for overall satisfaction and customer service & advice, while it achieved five stars for set-up cost. It landed on three stars for performance of solar system, durability and installation process.

Arise Solar

Arise Solar logo

Arise Solar states it is a 100 per cent Australian-owned company, delivering solar power systems to homes and businesses far and wide. It packs a lengthy 25-year manufacturer’s warranty on its systems and has flexible payment options available, including zero upfront deposits and interest-free plans. Arise Solar specialises in systems from 6.6kW to 100kW, claiming to analyse customers’ bills to find a system best suited to their circumstances.

  • Arise Solar was rated three stars for overall satisfaction, durability and performance of solar system. It claimed four stars for set-up cost.

Bradford Energy

bradford-energy-logo

Bradford Energy is one of Australia’s oldest and most well-known solar installation specialists, with almost 85 years in the energy market. This retailer was one of the first to receive Clean Energy Council approval, claiming to have a high standard of service. From Bradford you’ll find solar panels, storage systems, inverters and even monitoring tech, with its most popular systems coming in the form of bundles. Customers can choose between variations of the ‘SolarPack’ and ‘ChargePack’, which both include all of the components necessary to begin generating solar power.

  • Bradford Energy scored three stars across all research categories, including overall satisfaction  as well as durability, customer service & advice, performance of solar system, installation process and set-up cost categories.

List of Solar Installers in Australia

Solar Australia

With thousands of solar installers in the Australian market, it’d be impossible to name them all. Instead, we’ve compiled a list of some of the more well-known solar energy installers around the country.

  • Arise Solar
  • Autonomous Energy
  • Bradford Energy
  • Captain Green
  • Cherry Energy Solutions
  • Energy Aware
  • Enervest
  • Epho
  • Evergen
  • GEM Energy Australia
  • Genevo Pty Ltd
  • Infinite Energy
  • ITP Home Energy
  • LECA
  • Nationwide Solar Solutions
  • Off-Grid Energy Australia
  • Origin
  • SAE Group
  • Solahart
  • Solargain
  • SolarHub
  • Springers Solar

Solar Power Systems 101

In order to get the best bang for your buck when it comes to your solar installer, you’ll need to understand what you’re buying. If the words ‘monocrystalline’ or ‘inverter’ sound foreign to you, you’ll want to stick around for this. Without further ado, there are three main elements to a basic household solar set-up:

Solar Panels

The two main panel types you’re likely to find are polycrystalline and monocrystalline, with the latter being the more popular. Monocrystalline panels are often more efficient, though can be pricier than their poly counterparts. Regardless of the panel type, the cost of the panels are typically in line with their quality. For entry level panels you might see brands such as Jinko, Trina, Suntech and Canadian Solar, with brands such as LG, Sunpower and QCells dominating the higher-end range.

Solar Inverter

Solar inverters convert the DC electricity generated by your panels into AC electricity suitable for household use. The two main types are string inverters and micro inverters, which differ in price and effectiveness. Micro inverters are generally more expensive, yet are effective and are more compatible with solar batteries. Some of the best solar inverter brands in Australia include Goodwe, Sungrow and SMA. Fronius and Enphase are also considered to be quite popular in Australia, however, they are slightly more high-end, coming with a bigger price tag.

Rack/Mount

This is an often-overlooked part of a solar system, but nonetheless important to the durability and longevity of your panels. In the entry-level corner sits brands such as Titan solar, Rasol and Clenergy. More generous in price are mounts from retailers like Sunlock and Radiant.

But what about solar batteries?

There is, of course, also the option of installing solar battery storage alongside your panels. In case you’re unfamiliar, battery systems allow you to store energy generated during the day for use at night-time. You’ll still be hooked up to the grid in case what’s in your battery doesn’t cut it, but since your reliance on it is reduced, you’ll more than likely see dramatically reduced power bills.

What’s interesting is that in this year’s solar research, 58% of survey respondents said that they aspire to go off-grid. What this means is that you’re relying solely on your panels and battery to generate your power.

What should I look for in a solar installer?

solar-small-image

When it comes to installing your solar system, there are a few things to keep in consideration. The first and most important lesson is that what system you’ll be able to get will depend strongly on factors such as your roof size and style, household positioning and your personal budget. It’s your solar installer’s job to assess your roof and lay out your options in the form of a quote. And with most solar installers offering different options at different price points, it’s not always crystal clear which installer to go for.

In our ratings report, we’ve identified five factors from which to judge a good solar installer. They are customer service & advice, performance of solar system, installation process, durability and set-up cost. Our ratings are segmented in this way to allow you to sway toward certain features that are more important to you. If, for instance, you’re willing to pay a bit extra to ensure you’ll receive great customer service, you can favour a provider with a high score in that category.

Step-by-step guide to installing solar

Let’s break it down. There’s an abundance of information out there about installing solar, but what are the steps you actually have to take to do so?

  1. Figure out if you should install solar panels: Solar isn’t a good option for everyone and while it’s not your job to assess your roof, it’s probably a good idea to assess your situation. For example, you’ll want to own your property with plans to stay there for the foreseeable future if you’re looking to maximise any buyback from your panels.
  2. Assess your budget: A quality solar system doesn’t come cheap and it’s probably not worth the risk of choosing a dirt-cheap system just for money’s sake. Have a discussion about how much you’d like to spend, keeping in mind that high quality set-ups will last longer.
  3. Do your research: Spend time Googling different brands and installers to understand what you’re paying for. Ask friends and family who have solar to share their experiences with you.
  4. Get multiple quotes: Don’t just commit yourself to the first solar installer to give you a quote. Chances are you’ll be quoted differently for very similar solar systems, so you’re best off looking around to seek out the best bang for your buck.
  5. Trust your installer: It’s your installer’s job to recommend the best possible system for your needs and budget, and if you’ve chosen a retailer with CEC Approval, you will likely be in good hands. Don’t be afraid to ask your installer as many questions you can think of before signing contracts.
  6. Shop around for a good feed-in tariff: Now that you’ve got solar panels, you’ll need to switch to a plan with a good feed-in tariff. This is an amount you’ll get back from your retailer per kWh you export into the grid. Depending on where you live, you could be eligible for a feed-in tariff between 6c and 23c per kWh.

How much should solar installation cost?

There are many factors that go into the cost of your solar system. Everything from your roof’s solar capacity, the solar panel quality and brand, installer demand, your location and more will impact the overall cost of installation. That said, generally speaking, for a standard rooftop solar PV set-up, you’ll pay somewhere between $3,000 and $11,000. The prices below take into account average solar installation costs, as well as the Government’s Small-scale Technology Certificate Scheme applied.

Solar installation price by state

Solar system size National average price* NSW VIC QLD SA TAS NT ACT WA
3kW $4,000 $3,420 $3,800 $3,990 $3,710 $4,770 $5,610 $3,770 $2,910
4kW $4,620 $3,900 $4,120 $4,440 $4,290 $5,380 $6,890 $4,700 $3,250
5kW $5,090 $4,360 $4,540 $4,990 $4,540 $5,910 $7,750 $5,040 $3,570
6kW $5,740 $4,950 $4,840 $5,480 $5,100 $6,600 $8,950 $5,780 $4,230
7kW $6,770 $5,860 $5,880 $6,800 $6,340 $7,160 $10,060 $6,550 $5,520
10kW $9,260 $7,680 $8,240 $9,360 $8,590 $10,570 $12,400 $8,990 $8,210

Information sourced from SolarChoice, June 2021.

*Estimated price for product and installation after Government STC rebate.

Get a quote from a top-rated solar installer

It’s safe to say most of the brands that made it into our ratings have websites, but if you’re more the ‘pick up the phone’ type, we’ve compiled all the numbers we could find to get you started on your solar journey:

  • Solargain: 1300 73 93 55
  • Solahart: 1300 721 984
  • Infinite Energy: 1300 074 669
  • Origin: 1300 791 468
  • Autonomous Energy: 1300 797 652
  • Arise Solar: 1300 274 737
  • Bradford Energy: 1800 332 332

What is Clean Energy Council Approval?

The Clean Energy Council (CEC) is a not-for-profit body that advocates for clean energy and sets guidelines around solar installation in Australia. There are two main levels of Clean Energy Council approval you should be looking for, which are CEC Approval and CEC Accreditation.

  • CEC Accreditation: This applies to individual solar installers. CEC accredited installers have to have specific system installation training and a minimum level of experience to qualify. Aside from the obvious, another benefit of choosing a CEC Accredited installer is that you could be eligible for a Small-scale Technology Certificate which reduces the cost of solar, but is only available to those that installed their system with a CEC accredited technician.
  • CEC Approval: This applies to businesses working with solar. In order to achieve this approval, a company must only use CEC accredited installers and abide to the CEC Solar Retailer Code of Conduct. This code stresses the importance of ethical sales and installation processes and warranty. There are less than 100 CEC Approved businesses in Australia, all of whom pay an annual fee for the label.

Is the business I get a quote from actually installing my solar?

Here’s the thing with solar installation companies – some of them work independently, and others don’t. In other words, some installation companies will hire their own installers, and others will hire contractors to do their job. Larger electricity companies, for instance, tend to have ongoing arrangements with contractors rather than an in-house team dedicated to the job. Both types of business models have their strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to look at a company’s track record before jumping into the deep end. Likewise, if you have a preference for how you’d like to go through the solar installation process, don’t hesitate to ask a company directly how it conducts its business.

Questions to ask your solar installer

Best case scenario, your solar panel installer will provide you with all the information you could possibly need. Though, in some situations, it’s best to have a log of questions prepared to help you pick the right installer for you.

  1. How much experience do you have installing solar systems?
  2. Are your installer’s Clean Energy Council accredited?
  3. Will I be able to claim a government subsidy/rebate and how do I do that?
  4. What size solar system do you recommend I install? Is there room to expand later?
  5. What are the upfront costs for the system? Do you offer payment plans?
  6. Who should I contact if there is a problem with the installation or system?
  7. What panel/inverter/battery brands can you install?
  8. Is the quoted cost all-inclusive or will I have to pay extra fees later?
  9. What does the warranty cover?
  10. In what circumstances would the warranty become void?
  11. How much should I expect to receive from my feed-in tariff?
  12. How often should I be carrying out maintenance on my system? Does your company send reminders/notices?
  13. Will I be able to add battery storage down the track?
  14. How can I track the production of my solar system?
  15. What is the life expectancy of this system?

Solar rebates

money on solar panel

While they don’t come around as often as they used to, solar rebates are sometimes available under certain conditions. The good news is that it’s in your solar installer’s best interest to point you toward any rebates available in your state, as it may help you commit to the investment. In recent years, customers in the ACT, Victoria and South Australia have been offered rebates on panels or battery systems that can stretch to a few thousand dollars. Though again, it’s best to check with your chosen installer what may be available.

And while on a national level there are no rebates that apply to everyone, you may have heard of the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme.

Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme

Put simply, the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme allows customers to sell what’s called ‘Small-Scale Technology Certificates’ (STCs) which eligible customers that install solar PV are entitled to. How it works is that solar customers will receive an amount of certificates that correlates with the expected output of their renewable energy investment to the total of 15 years. Your location will also factor in when determining how many you’ll receive. Online calculators are available to those who’d like to know ahead of time how many STCs they’re likely to earn.

But who do you sell them to? And how much are they worth? Well, electricity retailers are your easiest option given they’re required to purchase a quota of these certificates each year. Your solar installer can help take care of this process for you, but you should expect a lower return for the convenience. Your other options are to try to sell them on the open market where the value is determined by demand, or sell them to what’s called the STC clearing house, operated by the Clean Energy Council, for $40 excluding GST.

What happens if my solar company goes out of business?

Choosing a solar installer can be hard for many reasons, a big one being that you’ll be relying on sometimes decades of service from the same company. Any good installer will conduct maintenance on your PV system during its life, whether that’s scheduled or necessary due to complications. So, what do you do if your solar installation company goes out of business in the meantime? Here are some steps you should take:

  • Make sure the company is actually out of business: Unfortunately, there are quite a few ‘shady’ businesses out there that may avoid contact attempts years down the track. Check to see if your installation company is still registered with an ABN before proceeding. If it is still in operation, take action through your appropriate fair trading agency.
  • Directly contact your solar installer: If a company is genuinely out of operation, the individuals that installed your panels may have more information for you. The Clean Energy Council has a comprehensive list of accredited solar installers with contact details on their site.
  • Have a solar electrician assess any problems: Founder of SolarQuotes, Finn Peacock, told Choice that a consumer’s last option is to find a solar specialist to diagnose the problem with the system. He suggests that if the issue is with the panels or inverter, the warranties then pass on to the manufacturer.

Further reading:

Image credits: Smileus/shutterstock.com, electra/shutterstock.com, Visual Generation/shutterstock.com, cleanenergycouncil.org.au, noppawan09/shutterstock.com, simez78/shutterstock.com

Important Notes

Canstar Blue surveyed 12,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have had solar panels installed at their property by a professional solar installation company in the last 5 years – in this case, 1,445 people.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.

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