Getting solar panels is a major investment and at upwards of £4,000 for a standard household array, you should be very careful about how you compare your solar panel quotes. There are a number of options which may be offered to you and working out what is the best choice is tricky to say the least. These few tips should help you to choose the installer who best fits your needs.
- Make sure you are comparing quotes which offer the same overall features. This means that you are getting the same sized panels which will supply around the same amount of energy. This basic fact could make a huge difference to the amount of income you can receive from your installation.
- Does the quote include the installation and any future maintenance and for how long? Is there a guarantee on the life of the product and what happens if you want to remove the panels – will they buy them back from you or remove them at a discounted rate?
- Is your installer registered with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme? If not, you will not be eligible for the feed-in-tariff on solar energy. It is a must that your installer has these credentials. A cheap quote could be coming from someone who is not properly registered.
- Will your installer ensure your home is correctly fitted with a meter to keep track of your energy and how much is going back to the grid? You should also have a contract in place with an energy supplier and this should be sorted out by your installer. Have you been charged for this?
- Is your system easy to use and how does it interact with your current heating and electricity supply? Some systems are more complicated than others and offer particular features which may not be required but are an extra bonus. These sorts of features – such as water heating can cost more to install and could make your quote look more expensive.
- Always get at least three quotes and try to ask for the exact same system and requirements from each installer. This way you are comparing like for like.
- Your installer should be able to provide you with a breakdown of what your energy savings and income from your solar panels will be. This will be based on the feed-in-tariff at the time of installation and this should hold true for 20 years. This will make it easier for you to work out what your payback period will be. Most systems work on around a 6% return or better. If you are getting less than this you should get another quote.
- If you have opted for a free solar panel installation and have agreed to allow the installation company to take the feed-in-tariff, you should check your contract very carefully. Be aware of what the implications are should you sell your home or if you want the solar panels removed.