Watch out for Cowboys!
When selecting a solar panel installer, it’s crucial to be vigilant and to thoroughly assess the prospective company.
Unfortunately, there are some solar panel companies out there who are very persuasive! However, these individuals often lack the experience and competence to execute the job to a satisfactory standard, which may leave you in a precarious situation.
Before choosing a solar panel installer, make sure to ask these questions…
Does the company employ sub contract labour for your installation?
In our experience, sub-contractors are driven to work as quickly as possible at the lowest job rate.
The qualifications and insurance position of sub contractors need to be independently checked
Also these sales lead companies offer little actual technical back up or after sales service beyond the equipment manufactures warrantee’s.
Some will attend should there be a problem but charge extortionate rates for the service.
What actual technical qualifications does the sales person / surveyor have?
Is the slick and friendly salesman applying subtle pressure to ''close'' the deal?
Watch out for:
Special offers, time limited discounts, quick install times.
Referral schemes to earn you money back.
Exaggerated returns on investment, Focus on financial benefits.
Inflated credit deals.
Testimonials that are not independently qualified.
What equipment are you being offered?
There are many cheap solar components on the market which can substantially reduce the cost of an installation to the installer, so leaving a fat margin for them.
Check the brand and warrantee’s of the panels, they should be “tier one” and from a recognised manufacturer. The panels very rarely have any faults but their rate of degradation will vary depending on their quality.
Many installers are mix and matching cheap batteries and inverters, again check the warrantees and the technical back up available should there be a problem.
Be aware that different manufacturers will blame each other.
Non UK based manufacturers often just have UK agents with very poor aftersales service.
Which roof mounting system is being used ?
Again costs vary considerably, make sure the system has MCS accreditation and is correct for your tile type.
How are the workers going to access your roof ?
Scaffolding or an aluminium tower (when appropriate) are the only safe ways to access the roof.
Some companies work off ladders which is unsafe and could leave you open to litigation should an accident occur on your property.
Is the system sized to your needs?
Bigger is usually better as the systems make much less power in the winter or in poor weather.
The economies of scale apply so bigger systems give better value in terms of performance per pound spent.
Some companies will try to use the easily accessible rooves only to reduce their installation costs.
Many installer will quote systems under 3.68 kWp to reduce their paperwork and to avoid asking the District Network Operator for permission to fit a more appropriate larger system.
How long have they been in the solar panel business?
Have they been in and out as the market has fluctuated, have they traded under different names ?
Have they been specifically in the solar installation business for the time/experience claimed or something loosely associated ?
What is their financial status?
This can easily be checked on the internet via company’s house.
However be aware that some national companies that charge extortionate rates are very successful.
Make sure you always...
Check the installer will handle all of the authorisation, certification, registration and approval process and provide you with full documentation on completion of the project.
Check the internet / google for any negative feedback
Check the companies accreditation (MCS, NIC EIC, etc)
Check the companies insurance is in date and appropriate to the work being carried out (solar should be a specific inclusion)
We’re proud to be a Which? trusted trader.
Trusted Traders is a program that identifies reliable and trustworthy traders who have passed a thorough evaluation process.
All reviews and testimonials on the Which? web site are thoroughly checked and qualified before inclusion.