Solar PV

Solar PV - Solar PV Installers - Choosing An Installer

The Energy Saving Trust has produced guidance that it recommends should be followed when choosing a Solar PV Installer

Solar PV Installers - Choosing a Solar PV Installer

  • Solar PV InstallerLook for an installer or supplier certified by an independent body and signed up to an industry code of practice
  • Speak to people in your area who have had Solar PV installed and ask if they would recommend their installer
  • Obtain at least three quotes from reputable installers and beware of heavy handed sales techniques, such as pressure to sign on the day, high prices with large discounts for signing on the spot, or bogus monitoring scheme discounts. All installers or suppliers should be able to provide a detailed breakdown of the specification and the costs of their proposed system

Solar PV Installers - A Competent Installer Should be Able to:

  • Explain how they have calculated the size of the system to be appropriate for your needs
  • Supply clear, easy to understand information and operating instructions
  • Provide an estimate of how much electricity will be generated by any proposed system, and to calculate it as a proportion of your annual consumption

Solar PV Installers - REAL Assurance Scheme

Check that the installers are members of REAL Assurance Scheme. Members of this scheme agree to abide by their Consumer Code. The code covers such issues as pre-sales activity, contracts including deposits and payment schedules as well as completing the order and after-sales activities.

In particular, member companies must not use any high-pressure selling techniques, including:

  • Staying in your home for an unreasonably long time
  • Offering you a high initial price followed by a discount
  • Offering you a discount for signing on the day
  • Withholding the price information from you until the end of the visit
  • Claiming there is a limited availability of the product

Solar PV Installer Fitting Brackets and RailsFor more information about REAL Assurance Scheme visit RealAssurance.org.uk

Solar PV Installers - Select an Installer

When speaking to installers ask them:

  • How many years they have been installing systems
  • How long they have been in business
  • Ask for a list of references and local installations and check them out

Where Possible Choose a Local Installer

Solar PV Installers - Professional Credentials

If installers quote any professional credentials, such as MCS, REAL, City and Guilds, ask for details so that you can research them yourself

  • Check them out to make sure they are a member of a trade organisation such as Renewable Energy Association
  • Get a lot of information on system options and potential problems so you can talk confidently to installers
  • Ask for recent manuals and brochures
  • Ask for any background information on the technologies and systems available

Solar PV Installers - Guarantees and Warranties

Check the time limits of any guarantees and warranties and find out what they cover

  • Ask about after-installation services offered and what they cost
  • Ask about warranties and guarantees. All installers should provide information about these
  • Ask for details of what the warranties cover and over what time periods
  • Ask who pays for the labour if the product warranty is still valid but the installer warranty has expired
  • Do not compare installers on cost alone, the cheapest may not be the most appropriate

Solar PV Installers - Available Options

Obtain details on available options such as size and efficiencies

  • Ask about the technology types – the most efficient types are often, but not always the most expensive
  • Ask about independent testing carried out on Solar PV installations. The installer should be willing to provide a copy of any test reports in full
  • Ask for information on applicable regulations, including health and safety guidelines – for example safe roof access – and how they will address them

Check the Details on Quotations

  • Ask about government incentives. The installer should ensure that your system is eligible for Feed in Tariffs payments
  • Ask about payment options
  • Ask about what is included
  • Ask if they are a member of an Office of Fair Trading or Local Trading Standards

Solar PV Installers - Microgeneration Certification

Before committing to a Solar PV installer it is important to check that the installer is registered under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). The Microgeneration Certification Scheme is an internationally recognised quality assurance scheme that demonstrates to your customers that a Solar PV installation company is committed to meeting rigorous and tested standards. A fully trained and certificated installer will be involved in giving advice, designing and installing the Solar PV system.

Solar PV Installers - Certification of Products Used in Solar PV Installation

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme also demonstrates the quality and reliability of approved products by satisfying rigorous and tested standards. Product certification involves type testing of products and an assessment of the manufacturing process, materials, procedures and staff training.

For more information on all aspects of choosing a Solar PV system link to EnergySavingTrust.org.uk

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