1. MCS Accreditation
This one is a no brainer. In order to qualify for the Feed-in Tariff, your solar panel installer must be MCS accredited. The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) is an industry-led and internationally recognised quality assurance scheme, supported by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). It is in place to ensure that microgeneration products such as solar panels are installed and commissioned to the highest standard for the consumer.
If your solar panel installer is not MCS accredited, you will be unable to benefit from the Feed-in Tariff scheme, which will significantly affect the payback period and earning potential of your solar installation. All solar panel installers on SolarLinker are MCS accredited and regularly monitored to ensure they meet our minimum selection criteria. You can also double check whether an installer is MCS accredited directly from the MCS website.
2. Installer Experience
As previously mentioned, there are more than 3,000 solar panel installers in the UK, some more experienced than others. Have a look in our installer database or visit the installers website to research about their company, previous projects and experience. Needless to say, the longer a company has been in business, the more reliable their installation service will be.
3. Customer Reviews
Lets face it, all solar panel installation companies claim to be the best in the business. Customer reviews help to separate the wheat from the chaff. Successful installers should have many positive customer reviews that give insight into their professionalism, integrity and reliability. They also help to highlight any concerns you should be aware of before hiring them.
The installers will spend between 1-2 days at the installation site for a residential project, you will want to ensure they leave your property in the same condition they found it in. Have a look at our installer database to research customer reviews on solar panel installers.
4. Quote Comparison
Perhaps the most important step towards saving on the cost of your solar panel installation. Quotations between installers can vary up to 60% at times, so make sure to compare quotes to get the best bang for your buck! Request 3 free quotes from us to compare prices from trusted solar panel installers. After all, it’s what we do!
5. Solar Warranties
You should receive two types of warranties from installers for your solar panel system:
1) Warranty on the products that are provided to you.
2) Warranty on the installer’s workmanship.
Standard warranties on solar panels are generally between 20-25 years and cover any sudden drop in efficiency (panels should operate at a minimum of 90% after 10 years and 80% after 20-25 years).
Inverters are the element of your installation most susceptible to breakdown, as they continually work to convert DC power generated by solar panels to AC power that is usable from your home mains. A properly installed and sized inverter in accordance with the system can increase its life. Warranties offered on inverters are generally between 5-10 years.
Workmanship warranties cover any defect or problem arising from poor workmanship or design errors. Workmanship warranties can vary between 1-10 years for different installers, so make sure to ask installers before finalising the deal.
6. Site Visit
The installer should be willing to inspect the installation site before giving you a final quotation and details on the recommended system size, its payback period and earning potential. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration in calculating these variables such as your property’s roof pitch, shading, area and accessibility. If the installer is not willing to visit your property, you probably won’t get the best quotation or system recommendation from them.
7. Clear Quotations
Quotations from installers should be clear, simple to understand and complete. There should be no hidden charges outside of what is already included in the price. Some solar panel installations need additional scaffolding or work on your roof to prepare them for panels, so make sure these costs are included in the quote provided. If you have any doubts about anything mentioned in the quote, just ask for a clarification to avoid any nasty surprises later!
8. Solar Products
If you are set on a certain brand or type of solar panels, you may want to check whether your desired solar installer carries them. Installers tend to have affiliations with certain manufacturers and choose to represent their products only.
Alternatively, if you are brand agnostic, you can request installers to recommend a brand and type (monocrystalline / polycrystalline) of solar panel to you. It is important to note that in order to benefit from the Feed-in Tariff scheme, your solar panels must also be MCS certified. To check whether the products recommended to you are accredited, search the MCS product database
9. Pushy Sales Tactics
Do your research to compare installers before settling for a solar panel installer. Do not be influenced by any pushy sales tactics such as sudden discounts or limited time offers designed to pressure you into making an impulse decision. Experienced installers that offer quality products and service do not need high pressure tactics to persuade you.
10. Financing Options
Whilst purchasing a solar panel system outright gives the best returns over its lifetime, you may not currently be in a position to bear the costs upfront. In this case, financing your system may be the best option. Not all installers offer this option, so if you wish to finance your system through your installer, you will need to inquire whether they offer the service. You may also wish you finance your system directly from a third party.
Request 3 free quotes from our trusted installers today and save upto 60% on the cost of going solar!