When considering the regular rises in the cost of electricity over the next 20 years, solar panels represent a prudent investment.
Using renewable energy will also have a positive environmental impact
To be eligible to receive the top tariff amount, your utility provider will require proof that the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for your property is rated at band ‘D’ or higher.
This is very important, because the tariff rate you start with will be the rate you remain tied to. There is no change even if you upgrade your property energy efficiency at a later date.
Currently, the EPC evidence criteria do not apply for solar installations commissioned before April 1st 2012.
All properties will (or should) have an EPC where the property has been bought, sold rented or built (post) October 2008 – where the property is tenanted or rented, the landlord is responsible to provide an up to date EPC.
If you have recently bought a property, it is the seller who is responsible for the EPC (even if it is a company).
About Solar Panel Installers:
If you install a solar panel system & it is not fitted by a registered, certified MCS company, you won’t be able to claim the feed in tariff or the RHI. You should also look for the installer to be a member of a UK Solar Trade Association, such as The Renewable Energy Association (REA).
Members of the REA have to comply and work within a code of conduct, providing improved levels of consumer protection for you as the consumer.
Warranties & Guarantees:
The 2 primary sections covered under warranties & guarantees will be related to the actual installation work & the materials used. Labour will usually be covered under a workmanship warranty, which should cover the first 2 years.
Equipment, such as the panels, inverters, frames etc. would fall under a manufacturer’s warranty – the panels may have a 20 year performance, inverters up to 15 years.
A point to clarify with your installer is how they will respond in the event of a breakdown or failure of any part of the installation – “how soon will they come to fix it or replace it”
MCS & UK Solar Trade Associations;
As mentioned previously, it is essential for the work to be done by a company that is certified by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).
By also looking for a company that is a proper member of a recognised Solar Trade Association, you are adding an extra level of assurance that the installer is reputable and skilled enough to do the work properly.
Trade associations for Solar: You can find more information about the trade associations at their websites:
- Home Insulation & Energy Systems Contractors Scheme: http://www.hiesscheme.org.uk/
- Renewable Energy Association: http://www.r-e-a.net/
- NEC-EIC: http://www.niceic.com/about-us/what-we-do
- Microgeneration Certification Scheme: http://www.microgenerationcertification.org/
- Solar Trade Association: http://www.r-e-a.net/member/solar-trade-association
- Solar sales leads – http://www.leads2u.org.uk/