Choosing a solar panel installer in 2017
So now that you’ve decided to install solar PV panels, you will need to find a professional solar panel installer accredited with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) to carry out the installation.
Solar Guide recommends obtaining three quotes from MCS accredited solar panel installers who will visit your property to determine whether solar photovoltaic panels are going to be suitable.
The installer will be able to advise you about the size of system most suitable for your home and how much it will cost to install your chosen solar system.
By sourcing three quotes it will ensure you get the best possible advice and price for the installation so you can achieve the best possible payback on solar PV.
Choose a solar panel installer who is MCS accredited
It is extremely important to employ the services of an MCS accredited solar panel installer. If you don’t, you won’t be able to benefit from the Government’s feed-in tariff scheme, which was introduced as an incentive to encourage homeowners to install solar panels to generate their own renewable electricity.
MCS – which stands for the Microgeneration Certification Scheme – is supported by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and is an independent scheme which certifies microgeneration products, such as solar PV panels, and the companies that install them. All Solar Guide solar installers are MCS accredited and are members of the Renewable Energy Assurance Limited (REAL) Assurance Scheme.
Learn more about the Government’s Feed-in-Tariff and what the current pay-back rate is by reading our FiT guide.
What size system is right for me?
The solar installer who visits your property will be able to advise you with regards to the right sized system to meet your needs. Generally speaking, the size of your system will be determined by your electricity usage and the roof space available for the installation of the panels.
Therefore it’s handy to have some energy bills available for the surveyor as a point of reference when they visit your property. Small-scale residential solar systems fall into the 0-4kWp capacity banding and account for the largest number of installations in the UK.
Check out our solar panel calculator to find out what size solar panels you need for your roof and how many.
How experienced is the solar panel installer?
When it comes to choosing a solar panel installer the more experienced the better. Just as it is extremely important that the installer is accredited under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme, experience also accounts for a lot. So it will most certainly pay off to do a little bit of research into how long the installer has been in business for and how much experience they have installing solar panel systems.
Company websites are a good place to start, as is this website. Solar Guide operates a rated service which allows our customers to rate and review our accredited solar installers and leave genuine feedback. Solar Guide features genuine verified customer reviews and ratings.
Solar panels costs
We appreciate that cost is a huge deciding factor when it comes to installing solar panels. To get the best possible price we advise sourcing three quotes from our directory of accredited solar PV panel installers. Solar panel prices have fallen significantly over the last couple of years and prices fell by near on 50% in 2011. To install a 2-4kWp system you’re currently looking at between £4,000 and £6,000. Just two years ago you would easily have paid twice.
Will I need planning permission?
Most domestic residential solar panels do not require planning permission. But it is always a good idea to consult with your local council’s planning department. If the solar panels are to be fitted to a listed building or a property in a conservation area or a world heritage site then it is imperative to check with your local authority first.
Find out if your roof is suitable for solar panels by reading our roof guide.
Check what product and workmanship warranties are offered
The company installing your solar panels will usually offer two seperate warranties: one which covers the product itself and one which covers the workmanship. Before going ahead with any installation, always check out the warranties and guarantees; they can vary from installer to installer.
Generally speaking, the work will be covered for anything between 5 to 10 years, whilst the panels will be guaranteed for 20-25 years. Solar panels are hardwearing and are manufactured to last, keeping in line with the 20 year feed-in tariff period. You will also need to replace the inverter at some stage; most inverters come with a warranty of at least 5 years.
How much will I get paid from the Feed-in Tariff?
Not only can solar panels provide you with free electricity to help you make savings on your energy bills, there’s also the added incentive of being able to generate a tax free income from the feed-in tariff scheme, which is guaranteed for 20 years and pays a fixed income for every kilowatt hour of electricity you generate.
Check out our solar PV calculator, which will help you calculate how much you could earn from the feed-in tariff over 20 years, both by system price and size, as well as the length of time it will take for your investment to pay for itself. It’s also worth remembering that you don’t have to register for the feed-in tariff with your current energy supplier. Some energy providers are more efficient at paying out than others.
Will I be able to choose a local solar installer?
Our directory comprises of both local and nationwide solar companies. When you submit your quote request we will endeavour to find at least one local solar installer to provide you with a quote.
Enter your postcode on this page and we’ll find installers that are only local to you.
What else should I know before installing solar panels?
Solar panels are an ideal solution for environmentally conscious homeowners because they don’t generate green house gases. So by installing solar PV you’ll be doing your bit for the environment, helping to bring down carbon emissions. An average-sized solar system will enable you to cut your home’s carbon footprint by around 20%, saving around 1,000kg CO2 every year. But there’s even more savings to be had in the shape of lower utlility bills. So it’s a win-win situation all round.
Solar Guide can source up to three no obligation free quotes from our directory of accredited solar panel installers. And don’t forget to check out our top 10 tips for installing solar panels; a handy guide which provides a check list we recommend you follow should you choose to invest in what has fast become the UK’s favourite type of renewable energy technology.