Solar Panel Quotes – How To Find Local Installers
Finding local solar panel quotes online is easy: in fact, you can use The Eco Experts form above and get your quotes completely free.
However, not all quotes are created equal. This page is all about learning what your quote should and should not include, so you can avoid getting ripped off by unscrupulous installers.
Why Get Solar Panel Quotes?
Whether you want to install a solar PV system or a solar thermal system, you should always begin the process by getting quotes in order to compare prices from local installers. If you don't do this, how do you know whether or not you're getting a good deal?
The only way to ensure you're getting the lowest price from the best installer is to check with multiple companies. Fortunately, The Eco Experts makes this easy. After filling in the form above or calling 020 7424 3132, you'll be matched with one of our Eco Experts.
They will listen to what you want and provide information about installers local to you. We only work with the best accredited companies in the industry - so you can feel confident we'll find you a great installer, and at a price you can afford.
How Many Solar Panel Quotes Should I Get?
Ideally, you would get quotes from all local solar system installers who work in your region. However, for most people that is simply impractical. A more realistic goal is to get between 3-4 good quotes.
Fortunately, The Eco Experts makes it easy to get 3-4 quotes – just fill out the form above. We do all the hard work for you and match you with local installers. The choice is simple: either you can track down 3 to 4 installers near you, phone them, and try to get them to give you a competitive quote, or you can just fill in one simple form above and have them call you.
What Will My Solar Panel Quote Include?
Now it's all very well and good talking about getting quotes, but how do you know what a good quote looks like? The first step is to know what a typical quote should include. If your quote fails to include the following information, then you may want to avoid that company.
If a company can't get a simple solar panel installation quote right, how are they going to be able to install a whole PV system? NB: The following information applies specifically to Solar PV installations; solar thermal quotes will contain information specific to that type of system.
The basics: Your quote should take your geographical location into consideration. Where you live will have a large impact on the number of daylight hours you'll get in a year and therefore how much energy your system may produce.
Maximum System Power: The quote should definitely include the maximum system power output. For example, a 1kw system will cost far less than a 4kw system, but will produce far less energy as well.
Solar Panel Manufacturing Company: Your quote should include what brand of solar panels they'll install. Not all companies are created equal, so it's important to get high-quality panels that will stand the test of time.
Number of panels: Your quote should also tell you the number of panels you're getting as this will impact the size of the installation.
Total Installation size: Most quotes will also include the total area the solar system will take up. A typical 4kW system currently takes up about 26 square metres. Each kW panel takes up approximately 8 square metres.
Estimated annual power output: Your quote should give you an idea about how much power your system is likely to produce per year, given your location and installation configuration. A 2kW system can produce upwards of 1,700 kWh of power a year in the UK.
Power variation over the year: A good quote should also tell you how much power your system should produce at different times of the year. Obviously, in the summer most of the UK gets over 16 hours of sunlight, whereas in the winter we are lucky to get 8. In other words, in the summer you'll produce far more power than in the winter.
Energy efficiency of your house: Any quote you get should take into account the energy efficiency of your house (EPC rating) as this will affect the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) payments you will receive.
Estimated Feed-in Tariff Income: Your quote will most likely include information about how much money you can expect to make from the solar Feed-In Tariff. Since the Feed-In Tariff increases along with inflation, watch out for estimates that overstate the expected inflation rate over 25 years. Also, make sure that the FiT estimates reflect the payments you'll receive based on your install date. FiTs are falling, so it pays to get the system installed sooner rather than later.
Estimated Energy Savings: Your quote should also give you an idea about how much money you could be saving by getting your power from the sun. Saving money is the best reason to invest in solar panels. Look at your quote closely and see if the savings look realistic. If your energy bills are £80 a month and a company promises to save a £100 a month off your bills, you know something is fishy.
Comparison with other investment options: Your quote may include a comparison between getting solar panels and the amount of money you can save from solar panels plus your Feed-In Tariff payment amount. Again, look at their assumptions as most companies will try to make the comparison as favourable to solar as possible.
The Total Cost of Your System: Finally, and most importantly your solar panel quote will offer the estimated final price for your system. Ideally, they should break down the cost for labour and material so you can see where you are spending your money. Most installers will insist you buy from them, but it may be possible to work out a deal where you buy the panels yourself and then just pay for installation.
Assumptions To Watch Out For When Getting Your Solar Panel Quote
Are the solar output figures reasonable? The first thing to watch out for when getting a quote, is the amount of energy the installer estimates you can produce in a year. Companies have to make assumptions about how much power you'll likely receive in a year, but check around and see if these seem realistic given your circumstances.
Are the shading estimates realistic? Many companies will tell you how much you can expect under ideal circumstances. This includes estimates that don't factor in shading, which dramatically effects PV output.
If your house is located next to tall trees or you have planted trees that are likely to grow to become tall, you shouldn't expect to have no shading. A good quote will take this into account, when calculating your expected energy output levels.
How long your system will last? In an ideal world, all parts of your solar PV system will last for 25 years with no breakdown. For many homeowners this is the case. The only moving part is the inverter, and that is stored indoors.
However, you should double check what assumptions the company is using to calculate this. Are all parts going to realistically last for 25 years or will some need replacing? The panels themselves will possibly last for up to 50 years, however the inverter may need replacing ever 10 years or so.
Are inflation figures realistic for FiT payment increases? Your quote will likely include an estimate of how much money you'll earn from Feed-In Tariff (FiT) payments. For those that install now, the FiT payments are linked to inflation. Thus, they will increase as inflation increases.
However, some companies assume higher inflation rates that have historically been the case. Between 1980 and 2011 inflation in the UK averaged 4.1% a year. Thus, if a company is estimating much more than that, be cautious. This will make payments seem too good to be true.
Do the alternative fees you would have paid for power seem right? Part of your quote will also likely focus on how much money you'll save by not having to buy power from the power company. Have a close look at these figures as they may assume higher than expected prices.
Since 1990, electricity prices have gone up faster than inflation as a whole, so it may be reasonable to assume that they will continue to do so going forward. However, as no one can predict the future - any increases much beyond 5% a year, should be taken with a grain of salt.
Not including everything you'll need in your quote. The final assumption to watch out for is to make sure your quote includes everything you'll need for your solar PV system. This includes the panels themselves (obviously), the cost of labour and the parts and labour necessary to connect your system to the grid. Some more unscrupulous companies will leave this last section out to make their prices seem more appealing. Make sure you know exactly what your quote does and does not cover.
Most people getting solar panels installed will have no idea about many of the items listed above. What is realistic and reasonable and what is fantasy or pie-in-the-sky thinking. This is why you need to get several solar panel quotes all in one go. Giving the Eco Experts a call at 020 7424 3132 is a good first step as we can match you with certified installers in your area who do the installation.
Other things to watch out for before choosing an installer
Once you get your solar panel quotes, your work is not quite done. You still need to make sure the company you choose is of the highest quality. We try our best to work with only the best companies in the business, but we're only human, so you need to make sure you do your homework. Here are just a few things to watch out for:
Parts used: Make sure you find out what type of parts the company is going to use. Obviously, you want the best solar panels from a reputable manufacturer. Just remember that a solar PV system will have several other parts. There is no point buying great solar panels if your inverter breaks after just 3 years.
Reputation: The solar installer you use will likely have a history of doing installations. Ask if you can speak to any past customers to find out what they thought of the service provided. If a company is not forthcoming with that information - or if the people provided seem to just be friends of the installer - then you may want to move on. Trading history is very important.
Certification: To qualify for the Feed-In Tariff payments from the government your installer must be certified by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). Only MCS certified installers can put in the paperwork necessary to get your FiT payments. Moreover, installers who meet this criterion have a least a basic knowledge of what they're doing. Again if they don't have it, don't use them.
Why use The Eco Experts for your solar panel quotes?
Using The Eco Experts helps you to avoid many of the problems listed above. We provide totally free solar panel quotes to those living anywhere in the UK.
These quotes are competitive: the solar companies know they are bidding for your attention. We used quotes from our own installers as a guide to this article, so you can expect quality. And, because we are not an installer ourselves, we have no incentive to drive you towards one company.
Better yet, we do our best to screen companies, so we only provide you quotes from the leading, MCS certified installers in your area or region. If you're still not sure about whether or not you should get solar panels, why not fill out the form at the top of this page or give our Eco Experts a call at 020 7424 3132 directly? They can help guide you through the process and answer any other questions you may have about getting solar panels installed.
Best of luck! Any questions, please get in touch.
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