It is imperative that you find the right supplier for your Solar Panel Installation, there are many companies out there and sometimes it is hard to know how to differentiate between and choose a reputable supplier.
Here at Solar Pages we understand the importance of finding the right supplier so have put together our guide for the different stages from choosing companies to quote, getting the quotes and making a decision.
- Step 1
Choosing which companies to provide you with a quotation for Solar Panels:
One key requirement that will help you narrow down your options is to find a company that is MCS accredited and uses Microgeneration Certified products. The Microgeneration Certification Scheme is there to regulate installers and products that generate electricity.
It is an internationally recognised quality assurance scheme that offers peace of mind that the company and product have undergone rigorous testing to reach the agreed standards.
It is important to note that unless your product and installer are MCS certified you would not be eligible for feed-in tariff schemes or the new renewable heat incentive.
Once you have made sure the companies are MCS certified if you still have too many it is worth seeing if they have testimonials on their websites.
Failing that you can get a good feeling from a phone call, so it is worth phoning a few to enquire about their quotation process and then narrowing it down from there. It is worth getting three companies to quote for your solar panels, this gives you a good opportunity to compare their recommendations, offerings and price.
- Step 2
The Solar Power sales person
Once you have picked three companies to come in for a quote there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind. As with all sales people they can appear to be giving you a hard sell, as they want your business. So when you invite a solar energy consultant into your home it is important you are in control and that they are only there to present you with the facts.
There are some key checks that a surveyor should carry out on your property before confirming whether solar panels are the right option for you and then giving you a quote.
Below is Solar Pages checklist of the key actions a surveyor should take when inspecting your property for a Solar Panel Quotation:
- Check the roof – not just the outside, but inside as well
- Make notes of all measurements, most importantly the direction the roof faces
- Use access equipment to take a better inspection of the roof
- Note down any possible shade implications – from trees, neighboring properties etc.
- Inspect the loft, taking note of the tilt angle of the roof
- Examine in detail the property's fuse box and current metering
- Take note of your main electrical appliances within the house and ask questions about time of day and length of use.
- Survey the interior of the house and discuss options for locating equipment and cables.
This information should result in the surveyor being able to provide you with a detailed quote, it is important to make sure the quote includes:
- Scaffolding costs
- Solar Panel information – the type of solar panel and the cells within it
- Warranty details
- Details of the inverter
- Proof that the product and whoever is carrying out the installation are MCS certified if the panels are going to be used in a feed-in tariff
- Terms and Conditions for the company
- Details of the payback scheme (if any) and the estimated rate of savings and return
It is important to not be pushed in to agreeing anything on the same day they visit, this purchase is a very important purchase therefore you need to take time to make sure it is the right decision. It is also important to go back through any figures they present you with to make sure your estimated return and savings are what they have calculated, this will affect you long-term not them.
It is also key to ask if the company has any case studies or testimonials of installations they have done in the local area. This is a great way to find some installations you may be able to see and even potentially speak to some of the company's customers to find out how they found the process and how they are benefiting.
- Step 3
Making your final decision on a Solar Panel Installer
- Be sure you have details of the guarantee – it is an expensive product you are purchasing so you must be clear on what is or is not covered.
- Be sure that the product and installer is MCS certified, it would be awful to invest the money and then not to be able to take advantage of any of the government-backed schemes.
- Be sure the savings and return calculations are correct, they are only estimates, but make sure they have been estimated correctly!
- Follow up on references if they were available; make sure other households have been happy with the company's service.
- Most quotations will be valid for 6 months; so do not rush your decision.
- Be sure you have seen the terms and conditions and any contracts you are agreeing to, it is key you understand what you are signing.
Purchasing your new solar panels is an exciting decision and one that is long lasting – so be sure to get enough quotes to ensure you have found your perfect solar panel installer.