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Readers' tips of the month

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 October 2014 at 5:34 pm

With the clocks going back, I'm kicking off this month's tips with one from House-Saver. "We hang a thick curtain over our draughty french doors during winter months," he writes. "We keep the curtain opened during the day to allow sun light to heat the living room and then close it at night." Cheap, cheerful and very effective.

Moving from energy efficiency to energy generation, we heard from Greenlands whose PV system performed exactly as promised but recently had a problem when the inverter failed. "I was unable to contact the original installer to get help under the original guarantee." His tip: "keep in contact with your original installer. Do you know how to contact them and how to get service under the terms of your overall system guarantee?  I was lucky. When I finally established that it was the inverter that was in trouble  the inverter manufacturer supplied a new one under their guarantee."

Sara Burnand's tip is also born out of experience. She has an open loop ground source heat pump system.

"It works well for us and does all our heating and hot water. Had very bad advice from various sources at time of installation. So had lots of problems in the first couple of years, but system now working well. Our MCS accredited installer subsequently was stripped of his MCS accreditation and has gone bust! And the company making our heat pump (TES ltd) also went bust! Very difficult to get non-biased information from anyone at the time we were installing in 2010. Now trying to apply for RHI."

Her Tip: "Find a a good independent renewable energy advisor to talk you through all options. And to work with builders, plumbers so that the system you install is well planned and coherent."

And finally this month, those of you with solar panels may be interested to hear from toniarch. "In long dry spells I wash my solar panels with an extending wash pole fed with water with a soft brush end. The water supply pipe has a fitting to feed washing liquid into the water flow."

Photo Credit: Greg via Flickr Cc

More information about Energy Saving and Renewable Energy on YouGen.

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1 comments - read them below or add one


SlotsComment left on: 30 October 2014 at 6:49 pm

I recently had issues with SunPower UK although I don't have one of their solar systems. I acquired a damaged E20 327W panel from a well known classified ads site for £160 and compounded things by damaging it further.

I contacted SunPower about what I'd done and asked if they would allow a distributor to sell me a replacement. They phoned me fully of sympathy and apologies but the short answer was no. They said that they only sell systems to installers who install them. They don't allow the sale of individual panels.

I pointed out that if a panel was to fail of its own within its 25 year warranty then presumably they would replace it. I added that what I'd done represented 3rd party damage to the panel outside of warranty. What would happen if the installer had gone out of business and a third party had damaged the panel, how would the owner obtain a replacement? No answer.

The individual who I'd bought the panel from had a rooftop SunPower system with a Frontius inverter. He chose both because each had a 25 year replacement warranty. The panel I repaired and it's of excellent quality but I'm not sure I would install a SunPower system on my roof because of 3rd party damage issues plus it's not clear what insurer underwrites these warranties. Twenty five years is a very long time.


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