An Essential Checklist for Buying Solar Panels
When it comes to the practical matter of installing solar power, there are many questions to be asked. What can you expect when buying solar panels or asking a solar PV installer to evaluate your home for a solar system? How do you tell if the salesperson is being square with you or trying to pull a fast one? This checklist of things to do and watch out for can help you avoid cowboy installers and ensure that you get all the information you need to make a decision about solar panels for your home.
Choose a solar PV installer that is certified by MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) and is a member of the REAL code.
Don't expect a price over the telephone. The installer can't give you a real price quote without evaluating your property. If a company does offer a price for a solar PV system without visiting your home, choose another installer.
Gather your energy bills for the past year before your appointment. They'll be a good starting-off point to help the solar rep gauge your typical electricity use, which is an important part of estimating your solar PV needs and your projected savings.
Ask whether the visit will be made by a salesperson or a surveyor. Only a surveyor can give you an accurate quote on the cost of your solar panels. In addition, salespersons have specific limitations and regulations they must explain, including the limits of his visit, the fact that you will only get an accurate quote after a surveyor does a full survey and whether he receives a commission from sales.
What You Can Expect from a Surveyor
A surveyor will check the orientation and pitch of your roof, and assess its quality from inside and out. That means he will need access to your roof and your loft.
He will assess the risk of shade on the solar panels from nearby trees, houses and chimneys and record that in the quote.
The surveyor will examine your fuse box and metering, so be prepared to provide access to those.
He will discuss your typical electricity usage, including how much you use and at what times of day. Your electricity bills will be helpful for this.
Check around your house to find the best places to locate cables and equipment for your solar PV system.
Protecting Yourself from Cowboys
Do not make a buying decision until after the solar company has done a technical site survey.
Get quotes from three different companies before you decide on a solar panels installer.
Ask for testimonials and feedback from previous customers as part of your decision process.
Get a detailed quote and take time to study it. The quotes you get should include information on the panel or modules to be used, details of the warranties and the solar inverter and information on how the company calculated the payback time, rate of return and energy savings.
Ask about the output capacity of the solar panels on offer and make sure the company provides a guarantee.
Avoid any company that uses high-pressure sales tactics to push you into buying solar panels on the day. Those include large discounts for buying on the spot or over-staying their welcome. If any company engages in those sales tactics, report them to the REAL Assurance Scheme.
Solar panels are an excellent alternative source of electricity, but a solar PV system is a significant investment. It's only fair that you have all the information and time you need to make a decision.
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About the Author
+Chris Robertson is a published author of Majon International. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2014 (Wed Mar 07 2012) Majon International. Majon International is one of the worlds MOST popular internet marketing and internet advertising companies on the web. Visit their main business resource internet marketing web site at: http://www.majon.com