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10 tips for choosing a good solar PV installer

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 June 2010 at 2:43 pm

Choosing an installer is always a tricky business, so I asked Stuart Houghton, of Abacus Renewable Energy, who installed our photovoltaic solar panels, what his top tips are. Watch the video, or read on, to find out:


1. Find out how long they've been in the business.

2. Ask if they will subcontract any of the work out, and if so, to who.

3. Are they qualified electricians?

4. Ask for recommendations from previous installations - either find them on YouGen, or ask for names and contact numbers of previous customers and follow them up.

5. Make sure the quotation is comprehensive - it should itemise all the equipment.

6. Get companies to give an estimate of how much the system will generate (so far Stuart's predictions for our system have been spot on).

7. Ask for advice on the size of the system, don't be sold on a system on a standard size kit.

8. Ask what the benefits of the different modules is.

9. Get a really good feel for what the person's like. Talk to them and make sure you feel they really understand what they are talking about, and are an engineer, not just a salesman.

10. Make sure they look at the fuse box and look at the structure of the roof.

And one addition from me: if you want to benefit from the feed-in tariff, then make sure you use an MCS accredited installer and product.

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If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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Comments

4 comments - read them below or add one

Rudge Energy

Rudge EnergyComment left on: 8 November 2013 at 2:47 pm

klj49

It is standard procedure to install an inverter that is up to 20% lower in power rating than the array. Inverters run at a better efficiency if matched to the input power. The full generation capability of the array is limited by factors such direction of the array, time of year and most importantly , weather!

Because of these factors, the amount of times a year the array will be generating full output will be limited in a standard UK climate. If the array is 2kwp and a 2kw inverter is installed, when cloudy conditions occur, the inverter may potentially not even turn on, wheras if the inverter installed was, say, a 1.5kw type, lower light levels would still generate power.

 

 

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klj49

klj49Comment left on: 7 November 2013 at 11:44 am

How important is it to match the Max DC input of the inverter, to the max possible output of the solar array, 

some companies have given me quotes where to output / input are miles different.

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derekbyron

derekbyronComment left on: 21 September 2011 at 12:36 am

"Fixings" is particularly important when the roof is covered by a single layer of interlocking re-constituted slate (eg. Redland Cambrian ). Redland do not have an approved detail that can be used and some installers seem to be unaware of problems that can arise by trying to adopt the same technique used with traditional slate (ie. 3 layers). Suggested fixing details would be helpful.

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Eco Environments Ltd

Eco Environments LtdComment left on: 7 June 2010 at 10:48 am

All Very good advice!  It's an important decision, be confident in your installer, ask for testimonials and don't be put off asking questions, even if you think you'll sound daft! You're not the expert, but your installer should be, so cover all the questions you have.

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