What to look for in quotes for solar panels?

(15 Posts)
FourArms Sat 15-Feb-14 14:08:49

We're currently getting quotes to have solar panels put in.

We're expecting to get around 16 panels on a south facing roof.

Any thoughts on what to look out for / ask?

TIA smile

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Sun 16-Feb-14 07:59:59

Warranties on the panels from a European supplier. Try chasing a far eastern manufacturer.

Warranties on the inverter and illustration of how often it will need replacing (cost often forgotten over long term). I think 5 years is an example working life.

Look up the brand of panel and the inverter and do some research. Look at expected lifetimes and the "degradation" rate of the panel as tested in the lab.

FourArms Sun 16-Feb-14 09:15:35

Thanks Married Dad smile

We've been told to expect the inverter to last 10 yrs by everyone that's been round so we'll definitely check on that.

Quotes (Gloucestershire) for a 4kW set up are varying from £5.5K to £7.5K at the moment.

Had a nice bloke round yesterday who has already fitted three sets in our street so hoping his equipment is good and quote is competitive as the rest of the companies have been google search results.

KhloeKardashian Sun 16-Feb-14 11:41:16

Watch out if you contact the Ikea salesmen, they hound you.

lljkk Sun 16-Feb-14 11:49:47

Warranty on the inverter. Could cost a bomb if any problems with that. Warranty on the wiring, too.

Tell each person quoting that they only have an hour in your house & you'll only respond to quotes in writing after 1 week in your possession; lots of cowboy hard sell nonsense in this industry.

FourArms Sun 16-Feb-14 21:17:34

Thanks - we're planning to make a decision ASAP after quotes are in so hopefully hard sell will be pointless! smile

CointreauVersial Mon 17-Feb-14 08:49:51

What others have said, also:

Try and find a "stable" company that will still be around in a few years time. Tricky, obviously, but if anything does go wrong it is much easier if they haven't folded.

When we had our panels put in we had a choice of two companies; one was a very small one, and while I trusted their expertise I wasn't certain they had much longevity as a company (it was quite an unstable business to be in when all the tariffs were changing). We went with a much larger company, and they are still trading; we were able to get assistance from them in the summer when our inverter had a brief hissy fit after a power cut. The one-man-band is no more.

Also, ask if they sub-contract the installation. My mum's were put in by a sub-contractor and they really did a rubbish job and clearly didn't know what they were doing. It was eventually put right, but it was a pain. I would say the companies who have their own installation teams probably do a better job.

Check that you like (or don't hate) the look of the panels. Sounds trivial, but they are going to be sitting on your roof for 25 years. Some of them are more obtrusive than others.

Last, see if you can get them to throw in a Bluetooth monitor, which shows what you've been generating day by day, total tariff etc. Addictive viewing (we generated 16kwh yesterday; not bad for February smile ).

redshoespurplehat Mon 17-Feb-14 13:32:32

don't know much about this sort of thing. is it really worth the investment? do you really make money from these things? why don't the countries with plenty of sunshine do this to help with their national debt and help the starving children ?

Finnbheara Mon 17-Feb-14 13:38:56

another thread on this was very helpful too.

We have now chosen a company. Some of them were really quite rude hmm.

FourArms Tue 18-Feb-14 17:25:01

Thanks. Last quote appt in half an hour. Then I need to research all the panels to compare quotes smile

Fourarmsv2 Sun 20-Jul-14 08:46:41

If anyone reads this, we had them installed and they're fab. We've massively cut our elec bills. smile

PigletJohn Sun 20-Jul-14 14:18:44

how many kWhp?

what did it cost?

so far, how much has it saved you?

thanks

Fourarmsv2 Sun 20-Jul-14 20:38:33

We've got 14 panels. 4 kW system. Cost £6K.

Has generated 2269 units since start of March.

We've almost stopped using gas now - use immersion for hot water & halogen oven. We've only used 80 units of gas since the start of March.

Our direct debit for gas & elec is down from £103 to £60 and that's still too high so we keep getting refunds. smile

Our first FIT payment £264 and we've earned another £129 since so nearly £400 in under 5 months.

mipmop Sun 20-Jul-14 23:42:36

That sounds great.
Do you recall how long the installation took?

Fourarmsv2 Mon 21-Jul-14 07:28:56

7 hours including getting scaffolding up and down!

Suppose it depends on the size of the team.

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