Find the best renewable energy installers: 11 points to check before you invest
Posted by Cathy Debenham on 3 March 2012 at 1:03 am
1. If you want to benefit from the feed-in tariff or the renewable heat incentive (the Government’s financial incentives for renewable energy), you must ensure that both the installer you use, and the product they are installing are accredited under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). No MCS means no subsidy, so check their credentials are up-to-date on the MCS website;
2. Find out how long they have been in the business, what experience they have, and whether they will do the work themselves or subcontract it out. If they do subcontract, check who will take overall responsibility for the job;
3. Ask whether the system they recommend is sized specifically for your site, based on occupancy and current energy usage, or whether it is a standard size. When you are considering the heat technologies ask how they have calculated the heat demand of your house (it’s worth looking out old energy bills, so you know what you’ve used in the past);
4. Ask for an estimate of how much the system will generate at your site – this is a requirement for any MCS approved quote;
5. Get at least three detailed written quotations;
6. Ask your installer for local case studies or to speak to some of their previous customers;
7. Never sign up on the day. Be wary of any salespeople who ask you to, especially if they offer discounts that depend on it. (This is against the REAL Code, which all MCS installers must sign up to);
8. If you are installing more than one technology, check that each installer understands the other technology and how they work together. Check whether they have done a similar installation before, and ask for references;
9. Once your system is installed ask your installer to show you how to use it, how the controls work, how it works with your existing plumbing or heating and how to get the best out of the system.
10. Check the warranties provided by the installer. This is another area where poor installers fudge their answers. Most installers offer a 10 Year insurance-backed warranty, but check the detail, they only usually reflect the installers’ own warranty, so if your installer only offers a two year warranty, their '10 Year' insurance-backed warranty is likely to only cover 2 years.
11. Start your search for a renewable energy installer in the YouGen directory, where you can read feedback from previous customers.
If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.
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