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Published on March 9th, 2023

8 tips for getting a great solar panel installer (rather than a bad one)

Looking to install solar panels and trying to find the right installer? Use our guide to make sure you find a great quality installer for your project.

6 mins Solar Energy Generation Handy Guides

Although the British weather may not offer itself as an obvious solution for your energy requirements -  especially the further north you go -  there are now more than enough solar panels in the country demonstrating that it is a worthwhile investment.

Any job that requires a large capital outlay will need careful research and you’ll need to be fully happy that the company you’ve chosen to install solar panels is the right one. Ideally you’ll want to speak to at least 3 companies before making your decision.

You’ll need a basic understanding of what you’re looking for when it comes to finding the right company. What are some good tips to look at when considering a great solar panel installer?

1.Check their credentials

Every Solar Panel installer in the country must be accredited to work. At the very least they will have MCS accreditation, which is also a requirement to qualify for the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme and the repayments associated with it.

A great solar panel installer may also be registered with one of the other bodies - which will help when discussing warranties.

2. Make sure your requirements are discussed

There are plenty of considerations with Solar Panel installation and the ongoing efficiency of a system, the key questions being: 

A decent solar panel installer will come to your home and run through all of these, and understand why you’re looking to install them, before anything else. 

You will also need to decide what inverter you will use. This is the part of the system that translates the energy generated from the panels into usage power in the home. There are two main types - String and Micro. 

String are cheaper, but work as a ‘Series’ so if one panel fails, the whole system may be impacted. Micro inverters separate each panel so if there’s a problem with one, it remains with that one.

Inverter location will also be discussed - the loft is a usual place, but if the climate gets too hot or cold up there, the installer may need to find an alternative.

3.Get all of your installation options explained

They will then be able to explain all the options available to you - including the six different types of tile (seven if you include roof solar panels) and the number of panels needed to generate your required wattage They will make recommendations based upon their experience within the local area, whether it’s Birmingham, Northampton or solar panel installation in Coventry.

The installer should also explain to you about the difference in energy generation in Kilwatt Peak (KWp) - the maximum energy output for each tile, what that means to the running of the system, and your monthly usage.

They will also explain the difference between generating electricity purely for your own use, and generating more to go back into the grid, and the process connected to this.

There will be conversations around placement of the panels on your roof.

4. Have a run-down of the benefits of solar panels 

Installing Solar Panels on the roof is a fantastic way to reduce your carbon footprint, save money on electricity bills and even earn a bit of extra cash. 

A great installer will be able to explain in simple terms how much you can expect to generate in KWp - and what that means for you. Typically, Britons use 3.6 to 4 KWp systems but this will depend upon your personal setup.

They’ll also explain to you about the smart export guarantee (SEG) that will pay you for any electricity you generate but don’t use yourself - if you can go down that route

They might use this site to show you your expected energy creation. It’s worth checking out beforehand to help understand about the hours and effectiveness of sunlight in your area.

For example - in Coventy, it suggests there’s enough sun to generate between 2.5 and 3.1 KWp per day on average

4. Make sure they explain any potential drawbacks

Solar panels don’t come without potential issues. If your property isn’t suitable, or may have reasons for reduced efficiency, a great installer will be upfront about this and explain all the potential 

Potential issues to explore include your roof direction (south facing is best), inclination (about 30 degrees is best) and any permission requirements.

You will also need to understand about shade (from buildings or trees), nature’s effect on the panels (some birds like to nest under them), what happens if they crack and so on. 

You should fully understand what you’re investing in and feel comfortable with your choices.

5. Have a breakdown of the costs and timeline

A solar panel installation will consist of 3 main costs.

The installer should provide a breakdown of cost per panel, and labour. They should also tell you additional costs that may be generated after the installation has begun. These include potential damage to the property during the process, any unforeseen costs (e.g. if they discover asbestos or similar) and what happens if they’re unable to complete the job.

If you’re undergoing any other retrofit (or building) work at the same time you may be able to mitigate some of the labour costs (e.g. by using existing scaffolding) - and your team will be able to expand on this. This may also have an impact on timelines.

Usually the installation should take no more than a day - and here the installer will be able to explain the whole process. 

7. Don’t be pressured into buying

Many Solar Panel Installers are signed up to a consumer code that prevents pressure-selling so if you feel pressured into buying - they’re not the company for you. 

You should choose an installer based upon their experience and credentials, not because they offer you a discount if you sign on the first meeting. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. 

8. Ask about aftercare

You’ll want peace of mind once they’ve packed up and energy is being generated. A great installer will offer you warranties on all aspects of the panels and the installation.  

You’ll want to ensure that the work is covered for a period of years, and it’s worth bearing in mind that the panels have a potential lifespan of 25 years so a warranty should cover a long while.

As a guide, you should look for:

They will also leave you with maintenance tips you can do yourself to help ensure the system continues to function well year after year.

Solar Panels can be an excellent addition to your house. They’ll reduce your bills and add to your house value. They’ll generate energy and push you closer to an environmentally friendly household.

At Furbnow, we can help you find a great solar panel installer in Coventry, Warwick, Bristol or just about anywhere - and if you’re thinking about a wider retrofit project, we can help with that too. 

Written by

Robin Lewis