Questions check list?

uk1
uk1 Posts: 1,839
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edited 20 September 2022 at 6:35PM in Green & ethical MoneySaving
Good evening all ….

I now have a few site visits in front of me and a couple of “desk top” quotes received to make sense of.

The problem is that I have worked out that buying a solar PV system seems to me a bit like the wild west, and even if you choose a CMS certified installer it might not be anywhere near sufficient or enough to protect you from being shafted.  I think people starting out simply don’t know what they don’t know and therefore are somewhat disabled when it comes to working out what are the key questions to ask (that once you have learned what you do not know you wished you had known from the start and had asked when you started but didn’t!)  that might prevent some of the possible mistakes that might otherwise emerge later.  Everything buzzes in the head eg G99 G98 DNO Fees or Free,  CMS certs, guarantees, etc etc etc

So is there anywhere on this forum where a simple basic questionnaire  with perhaps even warnings and alerts that can help someone starting out who knows the square root of nothing and help us decide which installer to choose over and above simply looking at the price and bang per buck and asking people here whether the “price is right.  In other words helping choose who should do it amongst a short list.

Hope this question doesn’t seem too daft.  I have my first “site visit” tomorrow and realised I have no sett of common questions to ask to separates the wheat from the chaff. 

Thanks.

J. 

Comments

  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,679
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    I completely understand your question, but I don't have a simple answer.
    • Get a detailed quote; eg. not just "16 panels" but know the make and model they''re quoting for.
    • Check that they are MCS certified, and get details of their other compliance bodies (HIES / NAPIT etc). Then check that they really are members of those schemes/bodies.
    • They will probably give you a payback calculation. It may well be complete nonsense; we've seen quotes that suggest the household will be able to use 90% of the electricity generated, even without a battery (a more realistic figure is 30%). Don't be afraid to challenge them.
    Then come back to the forum with their answers and ask us to review them!
    N. Hampshire, he/him. Octopus Go elec & Tracker gas / Shell BB / Lyca mobi. Ripple Kirk Hill member.
    2.72kWp PV facing SSW installed Jan 2012. 11 x 247w panels, 3.6kw inverter. 30MWh generated, long-term average 2.6 Os.
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  • Alnat1
    Alnat1 Posts: 3,170
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    There was a list of questions to ask on the Which? site when I was looking to install at the beginning of the year. Link won't post but is on a page called Buying Advice for Solar Panels.

    There's quite good general advice and information and it is updated regularly. They also have a list of local recommended installers.
    Barnsley, South Yorkshire
    Solar PV 5.25kWp SW facing (14 x 375 Longi) Lux 3.6kw hybrid inverter and 4.8kw Pylontech battery storage installed March 22
    Octopus Agile/Fixed Outgoing and Tracker gas
  • uk1
    uk1 Posts: 1,839
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    edited 20 September 2022 at 8:55PM
    Alnat1 said:
    There was a list of questions to ask on the Which? site when I was looking to install at the beginning of the year. Link won't post but is on a page called Buying Advice for Solar Panels.

    There's quite good general advice and information and it is updated regularly. They also have a list of local recommended installers.
    Thanks for the pointer.  Found it!

    I have a number of questions on my list that isn’t on theirs ….. eg How long have they been established; how many installations; (many companies seem to have flashy websites with what appears to be “stock” pictures!); how many people ie is it one man, his wife as company sec; is there a list of local testimonials; etc

    https://media.product.which.co.uk/prod/files/file/gm-83a4ef88-ac57-4fdd-af29-cc381afeb2c6-solar-pv-checklist-pdf.pdf
  • Alnat1
    Alnat1 Posts: 3,170
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    You can look on Companies House to check out when established and directors.

    Online reviews and testimonials, hard to know if they are genuine. For some reason I don't trust those sites with Trust in their names though.

    I'm happy with and would recommend the company I used (hindsight, would have asked for bigger battery) They are a "man and wife" company who use one scaffolding company and 2 regular teams of installers/electricians. He kept us updated on what/when things would happen and rang several times to check everything was ok. Smaller companies often give a more personal service.
    Barnsley, South Yorkshire
    Solar PV 5.25kWp SW facing (14 x 375 Longi) Lux 3.6kw hybrid inverter and 4.8kw Pylontech battery storage installed March 22
    Octopus Agile/Fixed Outgoing and Tracker gas
  • Hexane
    Hexane Posts: 520
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    uk1 said:
    Alnat1 said:
    There was a list of questions to ask on the Which? site when I was looking to install at the beginning of the year. Link won't post but is on a page called Buying Advice for Solar Panels.

    There's quite good general advice and information and it is updated regularly. They also have a list of local recommended installers.
    Thanks for the pointer.  Found it!

    I have a number of questions on my list that isn’t on theirs ….. eg How long have they been established; how many installations; (many companies seem to have flashy websites with what appears to be “stock” pictures!); how many people ie is it one man, his wife as company sec; is there a list of local testimonials; etc

    Project Solar have been established a very long time, they have presumably carried out thousands of installations, they can presumably find you several dozen people locally who will tell you they are happy with installations carried out by Project Solar ("testimonials"). But that doesn't mean you should buy from Project Solar.

    My installer appeared to be a one man band with two additional men as hired help. Very good service, very good value.
    7.25 kWp PV system (4.1kW WSW & 3.15kW ENE), Solis inverter, myenergi eddi & harvi for energy diversion to immersion heater. myenergi hub for Virtual Power Plant demand-side response trial.
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