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Prices of solar PV and other renewable energy vary significantly: always get three quotes

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 April 2012 at 9:32 am

Getting three quotes was dinned into me in my first job. It was more than good practice - it was compulsory. Even though I was generally getting quotes from among the same pool of printers, I couldn't necessarily tell which would come in best on a particular job.

It made sense, so it's something I just do now as a habit. So I was really surprised to find out that nearly half of the people who were cold called or doorstepped by solar PV installers chose the company that approached them to install their system*. I was even more taken aback to find many of them (70 per cent) didn't even bother to get a second quote.

The prices and quality of service for microgeneration vary significantly from installer to installer, so our advice is:

1. Get at least three quotes.

2. Ask friends or family for recommendations (and search the YouGen directory for installers recommended by previous customers).

3. Check that the company really is MCS certified.

4. Don't sign a contract on the day (If they offer you incentives to do so they may be breaking the REAL Assurance Scheme code).

5. If it feels like pressure selling, it is. Show them the door.

The research found that people who chose an installer who approached them speculatively are significantly less likely to be satisfied than those who did not (84 per cent satisfied compared to 95 per cent satisfied**). So, to be safe, do your research and seek out installers with a good reputation.

*Source: Green Deal: Cold Calling by Consumer Focus ** Keeping FIT, also from Consumer Focus

Photo: supermac1961

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