In this article, we’ll cover all you need to know about buying solar panels, including how to find a reputable Solar PV Installer, what to look for when assessing quotes, and what the benefits and drawbacks of solar power are.
Types Of Solar Panels
There are four different types of solar panels – Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline, PERC, and Thin-film Solar Panels.
Solar panels are most often attached to the top of your existing roof. You may, however, choose solar tiles and slates, which look more natural on your roof.
These are expensive, though, and would only be useful if you’re replacing your roof at the same time.
How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?
Depending on the amount of electricity you require and the size of your roof, you’ll need a certain number of solar panels (or the size of your system).
It’s critical to avoid buying a system that is too large because solar PV alone can’t meet 100% of your energy demands (though adding a solar battery might help).
Solar panel system sizes are measured in kilowatt peak (kWp) units. This is the greatest output of your system. The most popular system size is 3.6-4 kWp according to Which.
When it comes to your energy needs, make sure the surveyor takes them into account, both when you’re at home and away. You may be able to get a smaller system which will help with your budget for buying a new system.
Government Grants For Solar Panels
The UK government has had several grants and incentives over the years. The most current one is called The Green Deal, and it offers interest-free loans for energy-saving improvements to your home.
The government has the ECO4 plan (The fourth stage of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) plan), which is a scheme to encourage households to become more energy efficient.
The government’s Sustainable Warmth Strategy includes extending the ECO grant for an additional four years, so it will continue from April 2022 until March 2026.
Latest news: VAT on solar panels is scrapped until 2027!
In April 2022, Europe experienced energy prices pushing inflation to levels not seen in more than 40 years! And more than half of this price surge is due to rising energy costs.
The UK government has announced a reduction of the current 5% VAT relief on energy-saving measures (e.g. solar panels, heat pumps) to 0%, in order to assist households to save money on their energy bills and improve energy efficiency.
A typical household with rooftop solar panels will save more than £1,000 in total installation costs as well.
On March 15, 2027, the VAT-free period will come to an end. The rate will rise back to 5% in March 2027, when the VAT-free period ends. You may get a head start by comparing solar panel costs now to save you money.
Choosing A Solar Panel Inverter
The inverter transforms the direct current generated by the panels into useful alternating current.
It’s crucial to the success of your solar PV system. String inverters are the most popular and cheapest.
In a series setup, they connect solar panels together. If one of your solar panels went down or was being shadowed by a growing tree, it might have an effect on the entire system’s performance.
If one panel fails, the entire system isn’t affected. The power-monitoring system should also be able to identify issues more easily.
Inverters are frequently placed in the loft so that losses due to cable heat are kept to a minimum. However, inverters can be damaged by heat, therefore if your loft becomes excessively hot during the summer, it might be an issue.
When you’re looking to buy a solar panel system, the quality of the inverter is just as important as the quality of the panels themselves.
With a good warranty, you can have peace of mind that your investment is protected in case something does go wrong.
What Do You Want From Your Solar Panels?
This might seem like a strange question, but different households have different reasons for wanting solar PV.
Some might want to save money on their energy bills, while others might be more interested in generating their own renewable energy.
There are a few key things to consider:
- 1. How much electricity do you use? – If you’re a high electricity user, you’ll need more solar panels to meet your needs.
- 2. What time of day do you use the most electricity? – If you use the majority of your electricity during the daytime, solar PV will be more effective for you.
- 3. Are you planning on adding an electric car or other appliances in the future? – If so, you’ll need to factor this into your calculations as well.
- 4. What type of property do you live in? – Solar PV works best on south-facing roofs. If your roof isn’t south-facing, you might need to consider other options such as a ground-mounted system.
- 5. Are there any trees or buildings nearby that could cast shadows on your solar PV system? – If so, this will affect its performance.
You should also think about what you want from your solar panels in the long term. Solar PV is a long-term investment, and it’s important to consider how your needs might change over time.
For example, if you’re planning on having a family, you might need to factor in additional electricity usage. Or, if you’re planning on retiring soon, you might want to consider whether you’ll still be using the same amount of electricity.
It’s also worth considering what you want to do with any surplus electricity that your solar PV system generates.
You might want to sell it back to the grid, or use it to power other appliances in your home.
The important thing is to think about your needs and wants before you make any decisions.
Making The Decision
Once you’ve considered all of the factors above, you should have a good idea of whether solar PV is right for you.
You can also get quotes from different solar PV installers to see how much it would cost to install a system on your property.
What To Know Before You Buy: Solar Panel Owners’ Tips
Download our free checklist for everything you should think about before purchasing solar panels.
It has suggestions and counsel on what to do, as well as questions to ask a solar PV installer during, after, and throughout your visit.
Finding A Good Solar Panel Installer
It is important to get at least three quotations from various installers. This will help you determine the standard rate for the system you want in your area. Also, see our solar panel pricing to get an idea of what they might cost.
Determine how much they’ll save you by comparing their prices and the services they provide. Check to see if they include anything extra in comparison to other companies.
Beware These Solar Panels Sales Tactics
We often hear complaints from folks who have been approached by solar panel firms without warning and are feeling compelled to buy.
It’s also common to get cold calls about add-ons to your existing solar panel system, which you may not need.
Many solar panel providers are members of a consumer code that prohibits pressure selling. However, you may still encounter shoddy sales tactics.
Here are some things to look out for:
- Time-limited or ‘one-off’ discounts. These may be genuine, but make sure you’re not being pressured into a decision.
- High-pressure selling tactics. This includes things like hard-selling, intimidation, and using ‘scare tactics.
- Misleading information. This can include things like providing inaccurate estimates of savings or payback periods.
- Free solar panels. These offers are usually too good to be true and come with hidden costs.
- Receiving a quote from a salesman instead of a qualified installer.
It’s also a good idea to research the company online before making any decisions. Read reviews from other customers to get an idea of their experience.
If you’re approached by a solar panel salesperson, make sure you get their name, company, and address.
If they’re legitimate, they won’t mind giving you this information. You can also ask to see their ID badge. If they refuse, be wary.
If you’re approached by a solar panel firm, remember that you’re under no obligation to buy anything. If you feel pressured into making a decision, it’s best to walk away.
Get a written quote and check the contract carefully before you sign anything.
Make sure you understand the terms and conditions, including any cancellation fees.
Once you’ve decided to go ahead with a solar PV system, it’s important to choose a reputable installer.
You can find installers through the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) or the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC).
These schemes provide quality assurance for solar panel installation companies.
Check that your chosen installer is registered with one of these schemes before you agree to have them carry out work on your property.
It’s also a good idea to get several quotes from different installers to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
A respectable firm will give you time to think things through and get other quotes for the job, and they will be happy to assist you in getting the information you need to make your decision.
If you’re still unsure, you can report pressure-selling by calling 020 7981 0850.