As with any significant investment, it is very important to find a suitable solar installer to fit your solar panel system. This will help you avoid scams, keep the costs lower and ensure a quality installation with, hopefully, decent after-sales care. So, how do you sort out the wheat from the chaff and find a company that is trustworthy, efficient and affordable? The answer lies in carrying out plenty of research in advance and asking the right questions to the right people. Here are some tips to get you started on finding the best solar installers for you.
Look for MCS accreditation
The best way to ensure that your solar installer is adequately certified for the work is to check that they are MCS accredited. MCS stands for Microgeneration Certification Scheme and is a required industry standard for manufacturers and fitters working in the renewable energy sector. Such is the importance of this certification that you will not be able to take advantage of the UK Government’s Feed-in Tariff unless your solar panels have been installed by an MCS-accredited company.
Check online reviews
We have become accustomed to searching online for reviews from people who have previously bought a product or used a service that we are interested in. This is a crucial step to take when considering employing solar installers too. Always look for third-party reviews from an unbiased review site, rather than only relying on what the company’s website says. After all, anyone can invent their own reviews and make them seem as glowing as possible!
Get in-person solar installer recommendations
Despite the ubiquitous nature of online reviews, there is still a lot of value in seeking ‘real life’ opinions as well. Ask the solar panel companies you are interested in if they can pass on the details of previous satisfied customers for you to speak to. If you happen to see solar panel installation work taking place in your neighbourhood, knock on the door and ask what the householders think of the work being done. You may even be able to negotiate a discount if you can offer the company more work in the same local area.
Beware of pushy sales techniques
Again, reputable companies won’t need to fall back on pushy sales tactics to secure customers – the quality of their work should speak for itself. If a sales representative tries to offer ‘quick decision’ offers, such as on-the-spot discounts or very short windows of time to buy at a certain price, avoid taking the bait! You should be given enough time to think their quote over and ask any questions you have before committing to the work being done.
Secure multiple quotations
Always ask a few different companies for quotes before choosing which one to give the work to. This means that you can get a better idea of the going price for the type of work you need to have done in your local area. This stops you from being taken in by an overinflated quote or opting for a suspiciously low offer, which doesn’t contain everything you need it to. While this can take a little longer in the early stages of the project, it can pay dividends later on. You can be more confident that you have chosen a suitable solar installer by comparing the different options side by side.
Clarify what’s included
Always get a quote in writing and sent to you, for example by email or post, for your records. This allows you to have a record of what is being offered in case of any discrepancies later on. Check what is included in the quote and what might be extra, such as any electrical work, after-sales care and clearing away of rubbish and ‘making good’ at the end of the project. You should also ensure that the terms of any guarantees or warranties associated with the job are laid out in the details of the quote for full transparency.
Find out what after-care is on offer
After-sales care is important for the ongoing maintenance of your new solar panel system., Find out what is offered and for how long. For instance, does the company offer an annual maintenance service and is this included in the installation price? If so, for how long? How much will it be to continue the service after the agreement comes to an end? Finally, can the company offer you any related energy-saving advice, e.g. ideas for improving the overall Energy Performance Certificate score for your property?