We’re finding that more and more solar installations are failing as they’re not being installed correctly. It’s important to choose your solar company carefully. Here’s three recent examples where Norcroft Energy has been called out to pick up the pieces.
1. Panels blown off roof
This is a common issue when the system has been badly installed. In this instance, the mounting system and brackets weren’t compatible. This resulted in us having to remove all the panels and then reinstall them correctly, replacing all the mounting system and brackets.
2. Poorly designed system
On visiting this property, we found the customer had two solar arrays, one on the front and one on the rear of the property. A string of solar panels will only perform as well as the weakest unit in the string. The installer hadn’t distinguished between the orientations. When one side was in the shade, it was pulling the system on the other side down and therefore the customer was not receiving the best return on investment.
To get the most out of the system and optimise the power generated by the south facing panels, we had to split the system into two strings, front and back. The only way to do this effectively was to replace the inverter with a dual tracking unit, capable of accepting different voltages from different strings and therefore optimise the whole system, one for the front and one for the back. As a result, the panels at the front have now become the top performing panels (as they face the sun for most of the day) and the rear panels will carry on generating as much as they were before. This installation now runs at its maximum potential throughout the day as the panels will generate on both sides even when the sun moves around.
3. Faulty inverters
This is another problem we have come across far too many times. Faulty inverters and the company responsible for the install no longer around to sort it out. With most inverters coming with a 5 year warranty, the manufacturer will stand by the unit even if the installation company can’t. If you believe the inverter to be faulty and you are unable to get support from the company who installed it, you will need an MCS accredited installer to look at this for you as although it might be under warranty, the manufacturer won’t be able to deal with this directly. We are an accredited MCS installer and happy to visit the property to help and advise the best course of action.
In all three cases, the system the customers paid for hasn’t been generating the daily output they expected. As we didn’t complete the above solar pv installations initially, this work has also been an additional cost to the customer that they hadn’t originally accounted for. This is why it’s so important to choose the right company in the first place, with a strong reputation in solar pv installations.
Ten tips to help you choose the right solar company:
- Certification: Check their solar accreditations. They must be an MCS accredited installer.
- Business stability: Find out how long the company has been in business.
- Subcontracting: Do they sub-contract any of the work out? If so, to who and do they have the same professional accreditations?
- Site survey: A good solar company will visit your property and take the time to discuss your options with you and recommend the most suitable solution.
- System output: Ask what performance you can expect from the solar system. You should be given an average annual output for your panels.
- Warranty: Make sure you understand the warranty for your system. We offer a 20 year performance guarantee and a 5-10 year inverter warranty.
- Feed-in-tariff: Make sure you fully understand the FIT, what payments to expect and how this works.
- A solid reputation: Ask to see some case studies and testimonials from customers who have had solar panels installed by them. You can ask to speak to one of their customers to get a more detailed account.
- Cost: Don’t base decision on price alone:. Cheapest isn’t always best. Make a shortlist of 2 or 3 companies and weigh up the service offering, company reputation, quality of solar panels etc against the price. You want the job done right without any hidden extras.
- After care: Check what after care is offered once the system is installed. Solar panels require little maintenance but we recommend we come and check the system every 3 years as part of our on going after sales support.
YouGen have created a video on how to choose a good solar pv installer. Click here to watch the video.
If your solar pv system is not meeting the deemed generation target, call Norcroft Energy on 01226 763 127 to arrange a site survey.