Our Top Ten Tips for Making a Solar PV Investment

Tip 1- Research Solar PV Panels

You can do a lot of research on the web with regards to Solar PV. One of the best places to start is the Energy Saving Trust (www.energysavingtrust.org.uk), where you can find a list of Micro generation Certification Scheme (MCS) accredited installers.

You’ll need an MCS accredited installer if you want to claim the FiT  Look for a solid business history and relevant sector experience.

Finally, Solar PV companies should also always supply warranties on both equipment and systems.

Tip 2 – Site visit by an engineer

A Solar PV installer should always request a site visit before supplying a quote. If they don’t, how can you be sure the system they provide will be suitable for your site?

Tip 3 – Quotations

To maximise return on investment, you will need a system tailored to your business needs, your energy demands, your specific location and your budget – for this level of detail, quotations will take some time to prepare.

Tip 4 – The small print

With Solar PV it is very important to read the small print. Be sure that there are no hidden extras. Your quote should include everything that is required, with any extras – such as monitoring systems – clearly marked as optional.

In addition, you should look carefully for any exaggerated claims. For example, is your quote based on a conservative estimate of how much electricity you use? The installer should base their predictions on at least one year’s worth of your electricity usage.

Tip 5 – The size of the installation

For high energy users, power consumption is always a concern, and Solar PV can provide a cost-effective way to reduce energy bills. However, to maximise profits, some Solar PV installers will look to put up the largest system that will fit on to your roof space. But this might not be the best option for you. “Over-installing” will result in higher initial costs and a greater financial burden than is necessary.

Together with your installer, look at what you need and install that, no more, to gain the maximum return on your investment.

Tip 6 – Recommendations

You want to be sure before your installation goes ahead that you have chosen an honest, trustworthy and reliable company. So always ask to speak to a previous customer of your potential Solar PV supplier.

Tip 7 – Energy Performance Certificates

All properties now require an energy performance assessment. Your Solar installer should be able to advise you on the process of obtaining the required certification.

Tip 8 – Maintenance

Most Solar PV systems require minimal maintenance as they have no moving parts. You will normally find that rainwater will keep your panels clean.  If anything should go wrong, you want to be sure you selected a company that provides good customer service, before and after installation. Ask them to confirm their post-installation maintenance and care policy.

Tip 9 – Planning permission

Solar PV installations don’t require planning permission, but if you are in a conservation area or national park, you’ll need to consult your local authority. Make sure your installer provides advice on planning issues, and guides you through the necessary process.

Tip 10 – Seek independent advice

If you have any questions or queries, get in touch with an independent adviser, such as the Energy Savings Trust at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 24th, 2013 at 11:28 am and is filed under Solar PV. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.