Our solar panels are better than their panels

“The road to a cleaner world has been made especially difficult by commission-hungry salesmen with just enough technical knowledge to the bag they’re next sale – but don’t lose heart.”

Solar panels are essential for a cleaner greener world.

Solar panels are essential for a cleaner greener world.

I developed Heat my Home as a resource for the earliest solar adopters, to help them avoid the pitfalls that come with being a solar pioneer.

Solar panel technology has been that next ‘big thing’ for a few years now in the eye of the salesperson, but the biggest industry lesson learned was; if you’re told “Our panels are the best in the world”, then back away slowly and politely.

Despite there being a much more regulated solar industry than when and I first joined the industry, there is still a minority who overcharge by whipping the customer into a frenzy of excitement to sign a contract that day.

Research, research and get three quotes, and you could save yourself thousands on your installation. Solar technology is still an excellent investment for your household’s future, but only when done at the right price. A good installer will never rush you into a decision and will give you in-depth technical advice – not just a sales pitch!

If you’re paying thousands too much, then it’s going to take you many more years longer to get your original investment back. Any company charging £9000 for a standard 4.00 kW system knows they are overcharging the customer by around 33%.

All good quality well respected solar panels cost around the same price per panel apart from Sun Power which is more than double the price.

All good quality inverters cost around the same apart from Solar Edge and Enphase micro-inverters.

Add-on’s monitors bought for £80 to £200.

PV to hot water converters say £350 to £500.

Expect to pay a bit for a proper installation onto a slate roof than a concrete tile.

Because solar panels typically last up to thirty years, you can expect an adequately priced system to payback within the first decade, thus leaving another decade of revenue profit/free energy and the third decade of even more good free power.

This is why I love solar panel technology, directly because you will still be benefiting from it – three decades from now.

This view is especially imperative as our current crop of politicians seem to be swimming against the geopolitical and environmental tide. This outlook means shares in traditional energy sources are now overvalued and will gradually become underinvested as the disinvestment movement grows – I digress.

There is a variety of solar panels available in the UK market, and many are variable in their efficiency rates and peak output. Efficiency governs the size of a solar panel, not its production, but all this comes secondary to the amount you pay and the installers ethics.

Life’s too short to sit through a two-hour sales pitch. A good installer will assess your home, your needs and offer you reasonably-priced installation options in the time it takes to sip a cup of tea.

“My solar panels are better than their solar panels” is a red flag you shouldn’t ignore, but the volatility of national and international energy policies is a red flag to continue your research.

Your transition and investment into a solar-powered home can be affordable and effortless. Although the world around us may be changing quickly, the solar savvy is ready for what may come.

The installer is just as important as the equipment

The quality of the installer is just as outstanding, as the equipment used. Always do your homework on the MCS company you hire and get three local references if possible.

Every company is different when quoting, but they should be looking at what your power usage is and how much you pay per KWH, to make the payback time and figures as realistic as possible.

Inflation and electricity price rises are impossible to predict in this volatile world, but we have seen electricity rise by 35% in one year, 8% in another year and nothing another year. Over three decades of the lifespan of your system, this will undoubtedly lead to a consistent rise.

Inflation can be factored in around 3% and electricity at 6%, but these figures can be variable if the customer is unhappy with them.

This long-view is the difference between inviting a real installer or a salesperson into your home. A technician will be accessing the technicalities of your home correctly because he will be responsible for the work. A salesman has no other forethought other than his commission cheque.

The solar industry and the right installers who have dedicated decades of technical self-education in addition to their earlier incarnations as electricians or heating engineers and are just no match for someone who spent one afternoon on a sales training meeting.

I doff my cap to these real professionals. They are a real inspiration and will be the real builders of our country’s future security once the politicians are eventually grow-up.

Their years of commitment to seeing the industry grow sustainably is the only persuasion you need to invest in this much-needed technology.

commission-hungry salespeople have likely put off more people than they have ever pursued over the last five years, but for those who correctly research their solar equipment, they’re installers and their prices.

You will get a real advantage over those without solar panels in the coming years as the subsidies for traditional dirty energy sources continue to grow as they dwarf anything that green energy would have required.

"Light is life."

Stuart Lovatt 2015-10-16
Founder of Power My Home.