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How to choose the right solar installer in the UK

A solar installer carrying a single solar panel

Solar power in the UK is becoming more popular, changing how homes and businesses get their electricity. As more people turn to renewable energy, picking the right solar panel installer is more important than ever.

Solar energy offers many benefits, from lowering energy bills and reducing carbon footprints to increasing property values. However, the key to unlocking these advantages lies in finding a reliable and experienced solar panel installer. Whether you live in the busy streets of London or the peaceful countryside of Yorkshire, choosing the right installer will ensure your investment in solar power is maximised.

This guide will help you understand what to look for in a solar panel installer in the UK. We want to give you the information you need to make a smart choice, making your switch to solar energy smooth and rewarding. Let’s explore why solar power is in demand, its benefits, and how to choose the right installer.

The Growing Demand For Solar Power In The UK

 

The UK’s energy landscape is changing fast, with solar power becoming more important. From busy cities to quiet rural areas, more people are interested in solar energy. This interest is driven by a mix of environmental awareness, government incentives, and better technology.

1.1 Government Initiatives and Incentives

 

The UK government has been a strong advocate for renewable energy, implementing various UK government solar incentives to promote solar power adoption. The now-retired Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme, which ran from 2010 to 2019, saw over 800,000 UK homes and businesses adopt solar panels, generating more than 4.5 million MWh of clean electricity. In 2020, the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) was introduced, allowing solar panel owners to sell surplus energy back to the grid, earning financial rewards for excess production. In its first year, SEG participants earned an average of £200 annually from selling surplus energy.

1.2 The Need for Reliable Installation Services

With the increasing demand for solar power, the role of quality solar panel installers in the UK has become more crucial. In 2021, the UK expanded its solar capacity by 730MW – 36% more than in 2020, when 538MW was added. The 2021 figure includes 369MW of rooftop solar – the highest amount since 2015.

To fully enjoy the benefits of solar energy, you need to make sure your solar panels are installed correctly and efficiently. This guide will help you choose the right installer to make your switch to solar power easy and successful.

The Benefits of Solar PV

 

Solar power offers more than just financial savings. Let’s look at how it can reduce your energy bills, increase your property’s value, and help create a more sustainable future.

2.1 A Sustainable Choice

 

Choosing solar power isn’t just about money; it’s about doing the right thing for the environment. By using less fossil fuel, you help create a more sustainable and eco-friendly future. Whether you’re motivated by savings, environmental impact, or both, solar power is a great choice. The sustainable energy benefits make solar power a responsible and beneficial choice for the future.

2.2 Increased Property Value

 

Solar panels don’t just save money; they can also boost your property’s value. According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), installing solar panels can increase a residential property’s value by an average of 14%. The RICS on property value study highlights this potential increase in property value.

2.3 Energy Independence

 

Solar power can give you energy independence, which is a big benefit for homes and businesses. With a reliable source of clean energy, you’re less affected by energy price changes and power cuts. The benefits of energy independence are particularly significant for those looking to avoid fluctuations in energy prices.

2.4 Cost Savings and Environmental Benefits

 

Solar panels can significantly lower your energy costs over time. On average, UK homeowners can save between £85 and £220 annually on electricity bills, depending on the size of their solar panel system. Additionally, a 4 kW solar panel system can cut carbon dioxide emissions by about 1.2 to 1.7 tonnes per year, helping the UK meet its climate goals. These average savings with solar panels can make a significant impact on your finances.

 

What to Look for in a Solar Panel Installer

 

Choosing the right solar panel installer in the UK is a decision that will have long-term effects. To ensure your switch to solar power is successful, it’s important to know what to look for in an installer.

3.1 Experience and Expertise

 

When it comes to installing solar panels, experience is essential. An installer with a substantial track record is more likely to provide high-quality service. Look for companies that have completed numerous installations for both homes and businesses. The importance of experienced solar installers cannot be overstated.

3.2 Quality of Equipment and Warranties

 

The quality of the solar panels and equipment used in your installation is very important. Ask about the brands and models of solar panels they offer. Reliable installers use high-quality equipment from well-known manufacturers. Also, consider the warranties provided on both the panels and the installation. A strong warranty shows the installer’s confidence in their work and the products they use. Ensuring quality solar panel brands and importance of solar warranties will help you make an informed decision.

3.3 Certifications and Qualifications 

Certifications and qualifications show an installer’s professionalism and skill. Reputable solar panel installers usually have certifications from recognised industry organisations, like the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) and the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC). Make sure to check the installer’s credentials to ensure they meet the necessary standards. Holding an MCS certification and RECC certification are good indicators of quality.

3.4 Customised Solutions

 

Every home or business has unique energy needs. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for solar panels. Look for an installer who can tailor solutions to fit your specific requirements. This includes conducting a thorough energy assessment to understand your consumption patterns and design a solar system that maximises efficiency and cost savings. Finding custom solar solutions is crucial for meeting your specific energy needs.

Solar installer on a roof installing a solar panel

Section 4: Evaluating Experience and Expertise

 

Choosing a solar panel installer with the right experience and expertise is crucial for your solar power project’s success. Let’s discuss why experience matters and how you can assess an installer’s expertise.

4.1 The Importance of Experience

 

Experience is vital when it comes to installing solar panels. Experienced installers have handled a wide range of installation scenarios and have overcome various challenges. Their extensive experience allows them to design, install, and maintain your solar panel system accurately and efficiently. The importance of experienced solar installers ensures that your installation is in capable hands.

4.2 How to Assess Experience

 

Here are some key factors to consider when assessing an installer’s experience:

  • Certifications: Many experienced installers hold industry-recognised certifications, like the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). These certifications show a commitment to professional standards and continuous learning.
  • Track Record: Check the installer’s history. How long have they been in the industry? Ask for a portfolio of their past projects to see the variety and scope of their experience.
  • Customer Reviews: Read customer reviews and testimonials to get insights into the quality of their work and customer satisfaction. Look for reviews that highlight their expertise, efficiency, and problem-solving skills.
  • Case Studies: Case studies from the installer can provide a detailed look at their experience. These studies often show how they’ve addressed unique challenges and provided tailored solutions to their clients.
  • Completed Projects: Look at the number of installations they’ve done. A higher number of successful installations generally indicates a well-established track record.

4.3 Local Knowledge and Adaptability

 

The solar energy landscape in the UK can vary by region. Local installers often have an edge in understanding your area’s specific requirements and regulations. They can provide insights into local incentives and ensure your installation complies with regional standards. The advantages of local solar installers include better adaptability and local knowledge.

4.4 Verifying References

 

Don’t hesitate to request references from the installer. Contact previous clients to inquire about their experience with the company. Ask about the quality of the installation, the installer’s professionalism, and the system’s performance over time. Verifying references is an essential step in ensuring you choose a reliable installer.

Section 5: Certifications and Qualifications

 

The certifications and qualifications a solar panel installer holds are a strong indicator of their professionalism and competence. Let’s discuss the importance of certifications and how to ensure the installer meets the necessary standards.

5.1 Industry-Recognised Certifications

 

Industry-recognised certifications ensure that an installer adheres to established standards and best practices. In the UK, two primary certifications stand out:

  • Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS): MCS certification is a hallmark of quality for installers and products in the renewable energy sector. It verifies that the installer meets recognised industry standards, uses high-quality equipment, and has undergone rigorous training.
  • Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC): The RECC certification ensures that installers follow a Consumer Code that sets high standards for consumer protection. It includes provisions for clear information, fair contracts, and reliable after-sales service.

5.2 The Importance of Certifications

 

Certified installers are more likely to provide quality service and reliable installations because they:

  • Are trained to work safely and effectively.
  • Use approved materials and products.
  • Provide comprehensive warranties and after-sales support.
  • Adhere to industry best practices.

5.3 Verifying Certifications

 

Before selecting an installer, verify their certifications by checking the official MCS and RECC websites. These websites provide directories of certified installers, allowing you to confirm the installer’s credentials. Verifying certifications ensures you choose a qualified and reputable installer.

Section 6: Equipment Quality and Warranties

 

The quality of the equipment used in your solar panel installation is crucial for ensuring system performance and longevity. Let’s explore the importance of equipment quality and warranties.

6.1 High-Quality Equipment

 

Quality solar panels and components are essential for your solar power system’s optimal performance and lifespan. Look for installers who use equipment from reputable manufacturers known for their quality and reliability. Ensuring high-quality solar equipment will help you achieve the best results.

6.2 Benefits of High-Quality Equipment

 

Choosing high-quality equipment offers several advantages:

  • Enhanced Efficiency: Quality equipment is more efficient at converting sunlight into electricity, ensuring you get the most out of your solar panels.
  • Longevity: Reliable equipment is built to last, reducing the need for frequent replacements and maintenance.
  • System Reliability: Quality components lead to a more reliable system with fewer unexpected issues or downtime. These benefits of high-quality solar equipment are essential for a successful solar installation.

6.3 Warranties and After-Sales Support

 

In addition to equipment quality, ask about the warranties and after-sales support offered by the installer. Strong warranties show the installer’s confidence in their work and the products they use. They also provide peace of mind in case of unexpected issues or equipment failures. Considering solar warranties and after-sales support is crucial for long-term satisfaction.

When evaluating solar panel installers, consider the warranties on both the solar panels and the installation work itself. A comprehensive warranty ensures you have recourse if equipment malfunctions or installation issues arise.

A solar survey consultation.

Section 7: Customised Solutions for Your Needs

 

Every home or business has unique energy needs, making customised solutions an essential factor in your solar panel installation. Let’s discuss the importance of tailored solar systems and the process of designing solutions that match your specific needs.

7.1 The Value of Customisation

 

One of the key benefits of solar power is its adaptability. A well-designed solar panel system can meet your specific energy needs efficiently. This involves understanding your energy consumption patterns, available space for solar panels, and your goals, whether they focus on cost savings, energy independence, or sustainability. The value of custom solar solutions cannot be understated.

7.2 The Design Process

 

The process of customisation involves:

  • Energy Assessment: A thorough assessment of your energy consumption and production patterns helps determine the ideal system size.
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis: A detailed analysis assesses the financial benefits of the customised system. Understanding the solar system design process is key to ensuring a successful installation.
  • System Design: Based on the assessment, a solar panel system is designed to maximise energy generation while considering factors like roof space, shading, and local climate conditions.
  • Equipment Selection: The selection of high-quality solar panels and components is tailored to your specific needs and goals.

7.3 Meeting Your Objectives

 

Whether your primary goal is to reduce energy costs, achieve energy independence, or minimise your carbon footprint, a customised solar panel system ensures that your objectives are met effectively. Partnering with an installer who understands the importance of customisation can maximise the benefits of solar power and provide a system that perfectly aligns with your goals. Meeting your solar energy objectives requires careful planning and execution.

Section 8: Local Regulations and Permits

 

Navigating local regulations and permits is a vital aspect of solar panel installation in the UK. Let’s explore the significance of understanding and complying with regional requirements to ensure a smooth installation process.

8.1 Regional Variations

 

Solar energy regulations can vary by region in the UK. Local authorities may have specific rules and guidelines that govern solar panel installations. It’s essential to be aware of these variations and ensure your installation complies with the local standards. Understanding UK solar energy regulations is crucial for a compliant installation.

8.2 Required Permits

 

Some areas may require permits for solar panel installations. These permits confirm that your system meets safety, structural, and aesthetic requirements. The installer should be well-versed in the local permitting process and help you secure the necessary approvals. Knowing about solar panel installation permits is essential for a smooth process.

8.3 Compliance and Safety

 

Compliance with local regulations is not just about legality; it’s also about safety. Meeting local requirements ensures that your installation is structurally sound, electrically safe, and meets regional standards. A knowledgeable installer can guide you through the compliance process, ensuring the safety and compliance of solar installations.

By understanding local regulations and securing the necessary permits, you can ensure a successful and hassle-free solar panel installation.

Section 9: Customer Reviews and References

 

Choosing the right solar panel installer involves evaluating past customers’ experiences and seeking references. Let’s discuss the importance of customer reviews and references in making an informed decision.

9.1 Online Reviews

 

Online platforms like Google, Trustpilot, and Yelp are valuable sources of customer reviews. These platforms feature real feedback from individuals who have worked with the installer, offering you a glimpse of their experiences. Checking online solar installer reviews can provide you with a broader perspective.

9.2 The Value of Customer Reviews

 

Customer reviews and testimonials provide firsthand insights into an installer’s performance and customer satisfaction. Reading reviews can help you assess the installer’s professionalism, the quality of their work, and their overall reliability. Evaluating solar installer customer reviews is a crucial step in your decision-making process.

9.3 Personal References

 

Personal references from friends, family, or colleagues who have had solar panels installed can be invaluable. These references offer the advantage of a trusted and firsthand account of the installer’s work. Seeking personal references for solar installers is an effective way to gather reliable information.

Section 10: Requesting Quotes and Comparing Offers

 

The final step in choosing a solar panel installer is to request quotes and compare offers. Let’s guide you through the process of obtaining quotes and making an informed decision.

10.1 Requesting Quotes

 

Contact multiple solar panel installers to request quotes. A well-prepared quote should include the cost of the installation, the specifics of the solar panel system, the warranty details, and any additional services offered. Knowing how to request solar installation quotes is essential for making a good choice.

10.2 Comparing Offers

 

When you receive quotes, carefully compare the details of each offer. Consider the following factors:

  • Cost: Compare the total cost of the installation, including equipment, labour, and any additional services.
  • Warranty: Assess the warranties provided for both the equipment and the installation work.
  • System Specifications: Examine the specifications of the solar panel system to ensure it meets your energy needs and goals.
  • Customisation: Evaluate how well each installer tailored their solution to your specific requirements.
  • Reputation and Customer Feedback: Take into account customer reviews and references to gauge the installer’s reliability and professionalism.

By comparing multiple offers, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your budget and goals. Understanding the process of comparing solar installation offers will help you select the best option.

FAQ's

The solar panel installation process typically takes 1 to 3 days, depending on the size and complexity of the system. However, the entire process, including permitting and grid connection, can take a few weeks.

Solar panels require minimal maintenance. It’s recommended to clean the panels once or twice a year to ensure optimal performance. Additionally, regular inspections by a professional can help detect and fix any issues early.

Yes, solar panels can still generate electricity during cloudy or rainy days, though their efficiency will be reduced compared to sunny days. Modern solar panels are designed to work efficiently in various weather conditions.

A professional solar installer can assess your home’s suitability for solar panels by evaluating factors such as roof condition, orientation, shading, and available space. An energy assessment can help determine the best system for your needs.

Yes, there are several financing options available for installing solar panels, including solar loans, leases, and power purchase agreements (PPAs). Many installers also offer financing plans to help spread the cost over time.

If your solar panels are not generating the expected amount of electricity, contact your installer to inspect the system. Potential issues could include shading, dirt accumulation, or technical faults that need addressing.

Conclusion:

 

As we conclude our exploration of “How to Choose the Right Solar Panel Installer in the UK,” we’ve delved into the critical factors that guide your decision in selecting the ideal installer. From experience and certifications to equipment quality, customisation, and local regulations, each element plays a pivotal role in your solar panel installation journey.

By considering these factors, you can secure the services of an installer who not only meets the necessary standards but also aligns with your specific needs and objectives. The path to a brighter and more sustainable future is illuminated by solar energy, and your installer is the guide that ensures a smooth and successful transition.

As you take the next step in your solar energy adventure, remember that choosing the right solar panel installer is not just a decision; it’s an investment in a cleaner, more cost-effective, and environmentally friendly future.

If you need to speak to an energy savings expert about your investment into solar energy, you can call Evolve Renewables on 020 3772 3233 or you can visit us at our renewable energy showroom for an introduction into how each renewable energy product supports homeowners with their energy bills, property value and preparing for the future.

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