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Feed-in tariffs: make sure your installer is accredited

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 24 September 2010 at 8:53 am

Feed-in tariffs are only available if you are installing an MCS accredited product and using an MCS accredited installer. There's no margin for error on this, so it's worth checking that this is the case before going ahead with an installation. Without the feed-in tariff the return on your investment is massively lower.

The sudden rush of interest in solar PV panels (to generate electricity) has encouraged a few unscrupulous companies to enter the market. We’ve just heard about an elderly woman who was sold a 1kWp solar PV system for £8,000 (which is much too much), by one of these cowboys. This company had the MCS logo, and one for the REAL Assurance scheme on its website, but on further investigation it turned out that it wasn’t accredited by either. Not only has this woman paid over the odds, but she won’t be eligible for the feed-in tariff.

Happily, most renewable energy installers aren’t like that. However, it pays to be cautious, and it’s really easy to check their credentials. Both MCS and REAL have good search facilities on their websites, so you can make sure your chosen installer has all the accreditations they claim.

And watch out especially for the companies that advertise using door drops (this is unaddressed leaflets and letters that are delivered by your postman along with normal mail). We received one just the other day from Solar Connection claiming a tax free, index-linked, inflation proof return on your investment of up to 10%, fixed for 25 years.

You will only get that with the feed-in tariff and this company is not on the MCS register (or on the REAL Assurance one), so if you get them to do your installation you won't be eligible to receive the feed-in tariff.

So, if in doubt, check. And if you come across any of these dodgy companies, please let us know, so we can put them on our blacklist.

Photo by sophiae

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Comments

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DPL Electrical Services Limited

DPL Electrical Services LimitedComment left on: 27 September 2010 at 1:07 pm

Whilst, if you want to benefit from FiTs, you must ensure that both the products supplied and the installer are MCS certified, there are some other considerations that seem to be forgotten.

If you want a Building Authority Certificate, then your installer has to be "Part P" certified.  If you want an Electrical Installation Certificate then your installer needs to be accredited by the NICEIC, ECA, or other electrical accreditation body.  In both cases, this cannot be done retrospectively, the installer must have these accreditations and cannot certify work carried out by others.  Do not get caught out, make sure your installer, of Solar Photovoltaic, is a properly certified and accredited electrical contractor.

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