How to choose an installer
Finding and choosing a PV installer can be a challenge! Good installers around Stroud and Gloucestershire are very busy and there's a lot to take into account in making a choice.
You might also want to check out a local ‘bulk installation’ scheme, which aims for a 10% price discount. For further details contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whichever route you go, here are some key things to check:
- Is the installer accredited? The installer should be MCS accredited. MCS is the Microgeneration Certification Scheme, which provides a mark of quality and consumer protection.
- What experience do they have? It’s usually better to choose an experienced installer, so it’s worth asking how long they've been in business and how much experience they have.
- Do they have positive customer reviews? It’s also worth checking the reputation of an installer on customer feedback sites like Trustpilot.
- What capacity do they have? The demand for solar panels is currently very high, so it’s a good idea to find out how many installations a company can do in a typical week. Be prepared to wait for an accredited, trustworthy and experienced installer – they’re likely to be busy!
- Are they covered by insurance? Installers should have insurance cover. The most important is Public Liability Insurance. With this, you can be confident that any damage caused to your property during the installation will be covered.
- What product and workmanship warranties do they offer? An installer will usually offer two types of warranty, covering the products and workmanship. Check these out before going ahead. Usually, the work will be covered for anything between 5 to 10 years, and the panels will be guaranteed for 20-25 years. The inverter will have a shorter life - most come with a warranty of at least 5 years.
- What’s the quality of the panels they propose to install? Panel quality can vary, impacting on efficiency and performance over time. It might be worth specifying minimum standards eg a minimum panel efficiency of 18%, and not exceeding 3% initial and 0.7% annual performance degradation. For a discussion of panel quality see here.
- How does the price compare? Installers will all have their own approach to pricing, so it’s worth comparing 3 quotes. By doing this, and taking into account the factors above, you can be more confident of choosing the right installer.