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Readers' tips of the month - solar PV

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 November 2013 at 9:33 am

We always advocate a bit of rigour in choosing a renewable energy installer and we're not surprised to find that also being recommended by a a retired environmental scientist and chartered town planner. 

Steven Shuttleworth installed 16 x 250KWh solar panels last month. They are in two separate strings to minimise loss of energy from afternoon shading. The system issupplemented by a Solar iBoost mechanism which diverts surplus energy to hot water heating [thus reducing gas c/h consumption].

"I'm surprised how much power has been generated despite heavy cloud and rain since then," he says.

Here are his recommendations for how to find an installer:

1. Research things thoroughly so you can ask 'hard' questions of potential installers - soon sorts out the sheep from the goats.

2. Ensure you have a shading analysis done unless you are confident there is no shade at all - that will enable you to configure a layout/system that minimises power generation loss.

3. Ensure your supplier will undertake a proper roof structural survey - unless your house is very new your roof will almost certainly need some strengthening to meet current building Regulation requirements.

4. Don't believe all the financial projections prospective suppliers will provide - test their assumptions and model your own to ensure you get 'like for like' comparisons."

We're always interested to hear why people choose to install any renewable technology, so I read Andrew Harcourt's thoughts with interest:

"I am a gas safe registered engineer and I like getting something for 'nothing'. I figure that with energy prices rocketing, as they are a collective monopoly given free rein to charge whatever they like, I should invest in getting free electricity for a fixed outlay. That way I can get a far better return on my money than giving it to an Independent Financial Adviser who charges so much you end up with a negative-going investment."

He gets all his work from personal recommendation, and his tip for others is to go to a company that has been recommended. We agree. That's why we ask all YouGen members to invite their customers to recommend them on YouGen. You can find an installer near you by clicking here. If you've got a story to share about your renewable energy or measures to save energy, or tips from your experience, do log in and add a profile on the site. The best each month are featured in the newsletter.

Photo: Martin Jakobsen

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