Solar PV system install

Hi,

I am looking to buy a complete system.

Had 3 quotes for 4kW systems which range from £6k to £7.3k

All will also offer the Immerson for between £500 to £550 fitted.

I don't know anyone local to quiz about installs, so I just had quotes from 3 companies off the internet. One very local, 2 a little further away.

1st company (most expensive) was offering a "Conergy" system which apparently runs 'module optimisation' using individual inverters (EnPhase) so supposedly more efficient and produces more energy.
Will also offer a wireless display but this is an extra £120

The 3rd company (cheapest quote) representative seemed a lot more of an engineer rather than a sales person. I asked about the 'individual inverters rather than string' and he said not needed for a typical domestic install like mine, but said he could provide if I wanted but that it would be a waste of money.

The 3rd company also had the best looking panels (all black, including the frames) and were 'Gallium Doped Modules' which I was told are better, although they would do the standard type if I so wished (and this would cut the price further).

Companies I had quotes from were:

GHC Energy Solutions
Save Heat Energy
The Phoenix Works

Anyone got a view on any of the companies listed or any of what I was told before I make my final decision?

Thanks
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away
«1345

Replies

  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    Hiya, quick reply to start.

    Here is some general info from fellow PV'ers:

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=3872445

    here's a thread mentioning Conergy (but had a quick read back, and not sure if it'll be of interest or not):

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4293951&highlight=conergy

    Prices - I'm out of touch now, since Mch when Europe went to war with China over solar panel dumping. So I would have said 'aim for £6k or less' but I'm not sure anymore. However, £6k to £7.3k isn't bad.

    Are you happy about predicted generation and income? Do you need any help/figures?

    Optimisers - does your roof have any shading problems? If not, then it may be a waste of money, and more bits of kit up on the roof that could go wrong. My WNW system has SolarEdge power optimisers (PO's) they work very well to mitigate shading problems. My other systems have only small shading, so no PO's.

    Water heating via 'intelligent switches' such as the Immersun or Solarimmersion are discussed here:

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4152489

    I may be completely wrong, but I thought I sensed that you might not have all the info and quotes you hoped for? If so, then don't rush, there is a small cut in the FIT rate on the 1/7/13 of 3.5% (from 15.44p down to 14.90p) but the export rate and leccy savings won't be affected.

    Running out of thoughts now. Just ask away, lots of people will offer help.

    Mart.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • I have the spreadsheets to play with and the amount generated makes sense to me. Really I am trying to ascertain if what has been said to me is correct and I am not being misled in anyway.

    The company selling the EnPhase inverters were first to quote and I liked the chap who explained everything and at that point it seemed good sense going for the EnPhase from what he said.

    2nd Company said EnPhase not needed, he would supply Aurora inverter and said the bypass diode means all panels work without need for EnPhase.

    The 3rd company came and he pointed out that my roof isn't subject to shade at all (no tall trees near and I am corner house not overshadowed by any nearby properties) so said it wasn't an expense needed - plus his quote is £1,300 cheaper (although £50 more for the Immerson).
    He was happy to supply with EnPhase if I wanted, but said not worth the extra. Otherwise it would also be the Aurora inverter.

    So really I wondered what views are and if what I was told by the 2nd 2 companies regarding not needing EnPhase is correct, or if the 1st company is right that I will get greater benefit running it?

    I do like the look of the Gallium panels, but don't want to judge just on looks since I won't actually see them most of the time.
    Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
    but by the moments that take our breath away
  • ...seemed a lot more of an engineer rather than a sales person.
    When I was getting quotes I also had one of these. He inspired me with much more confidence that he knew what he was doing and I went with his company in the end. Very happy with the installation. Hope yours works out well, whoever you go with.
    Are you for real? - Glass Half Empty??
    :coffee:
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    So really I wondered what views are and if what I was told by the 2nd 2 companies regarding not needing EnPhase is correct, or if the 1st company is right that I will get greater benefit running it?

    I do like the look of the Gallium panels, but don't want to judge just on looks since I won't actually see them most of the time.

    I'd suspect they are all correct, whether PO's linked to a single inverter or micro-inverters for each panel, they'll probably improve generation a tiny bit ..... but ....... if you don't have any shading issues, then they'll fail to shine (sorry for the pun) since mitigating shading problems is what they really do well.

    So, the later 2 companies are probably right, 'no shading - no point!' The bypass diodes will cope with any minor issues, and any extra generation probably won't offset the extra cost. Plus (major point) more kit on the roof, is more to go wrong, when access may be tricky.

    As for black panels I have BoB's (black frames on black backsheet's) on the front. They look good. Most manufacturers have BoB's now, or at the very least, black framed panels. So all of the installers should be able to offer some BoB options.

    Mart.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • Many thanks.

    I am favouring company 3 as that is the guy that came from an engineering stance although I must say that all 3 companies were ones I felt happy to deal with. There was a 4th and I wouldn't deal with them (nor name in case fall foul of any legal issues for the site) - but the sales person was pushy, vague on price unless I would sign right away and avoided answering any of my questions.

    So unless someone has any 'avoid' comments on any of the 3 named, then I will be getting the black Gallium with Aurora inverter and Immerson
    Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
    but by the moments that take our breath away
  • legoman62legoman62 Forumite
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    I received several quotes, local and otherwise, before settling for a local installer who had been in the business for some time (established electrical/plumbing firm). Preferred someone I could actually talk to and ask all my questions face to face. Looked at 3/4 systems the local firm had completed and asked the customers if they were happy with them. Asked lots of people near me with PV who their installers were and how they rated them.
    Not sure on PV prices now (panels costs rising) but for a 4kW system, £6000 would be my max.
    Once you make a final selection, ask for a price and then ask for the Immersun for free. I believe it would be a lot cheaper than £500-£550 fitted, especially if done at the time of the install.
    Good luck:D
    16 Sanyo Hit 250s.4kWp SMA 3.8kWp inverter. SW roof. 28° pitch.
    Minimal shade. Nov 2011 install. Hybrid car. N.E Lincs Coast.
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    legoman62 wrote: »
    Once you make a final selection, ask for a price and then ask for the Immersun for free. I believe it would be a lot cheaper than £500-£550 fitted, especially if done at the time of the install.
    Good luck:D

    That's a good point, Immersun's are now £300 + VAT (not sure if that's £360 total or £315 as PV installs are 5% VAT). I suppose £500 isn't too bad including call out etc etc, but since they'll be there anyway, and getting a PV job, maybe they'd do it for cost.

    Don't ask, don't get!

    Mart.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • emma1982emma1982 Forumite
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    Uniform Washer

    Hi guys,

    I am looking to put a solar panel system on my roof as wellbut I am not 100% convinced if it is worth to spend so much money on it. I knowthe benefits of FIT tariff and the export rate but I am not too sure about thebenefits in the long -run. I am justwondering about the maintenance cost over 20 years and what if something wouldgo wrong with the panels such as big-size hailstones or strong wind or I do notknow what else could happen to the solar system.

    Does anyone of you guys have the solar panel system on theroof for few years so can share the experience with me? Please, advice.
  • emma1982 wrote: »
    Hi guys,

    I am looking to put a solar panel system on my roof as wellbut I am not 100% convinced if it is worth to spend so much money on it. I knowthe benefits of FIT tariff and the export rate but I am not too sure about thebenefits in the long -run. I am justwondering about the maintenance cost over 20 years and what if something wouldgo wrong with the panels such as big-size hailstones or strong wind or I do notknow what else could happen to the solar system.

    Does anyone of you guys have the solar panel system on theroof for few years so can share the experience with me? Please, advice.
    The main expense is usually predicted to be the purchase of a new inverter. Various guesstimates put the expected lifetime as about ten years with a replacement cost of £1000-ish. I suspect that any weather damage could be covered by your home insurance.

    I've had my system for just over a year and have had no ongoing cost in that time.
    Are you for real? - Glass Half Empty??
    :coffee:
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Forumite
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    MoneySaving Newbie
    emma1982 wrote: »
    Hi guys,

    I am looking to put a solar panel system on my roof as wellbut I am not 100% convinced if it is worth to spend so much money on it. I knowthe benefits of FIT tariff and the export rate but I am not too sure about thebenefits in the long -run. I am justwondering about the maintenance cost over 20 years and what if something wouldgo wrong with the panels such as big-size hailstones or strong wind or I do notknow what else could happen to the solar system.

    Does anyone of you guys have the solar panel system on theroof for few years so can share the experience with me? Please, advice.

    Had panels installed in 2011. So far one panel smashed by flying debris in a storm, covered by house insurance but premium shot up by £400ish at renewal so thanks to Compare the Meerkat premiums back to where they should be :)
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