don't give solar scammers a present this christmas

Don’t give solar scammers a present this Christmas

With the energy price hike, to say nothing of the rise in other aspects of the cost of living, it’s not surprising that people are looking for ways to save money. 

Investing in solar power is a great option to explore – but there are scammers and fraudsters hiding in plain sight alongside bona fide providers, making exaggerated or false claims for their equipment or service. 

So how can you tell which companies you can trust? Here is a five-point checklist to help you make your decision. 

1) Is the contractor MCS certified?

Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) is the quality standards kitemark for companies offering low-carbon products and installations used to produce electricity and heat from renewable sources. 

Membership of MCS demonstrates adherence to recognised industry standards which highlight quality, competency and compliance. Go to mcscertified.com to check any contractor. 

2) Is your quote based on a physical survey?  

Some companies will quote based on an internet search on your property. But there may be aspects it’s impossible to evaluate without visiting the site, leading to problems when it comes to installation. 

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3) Is the quote ‘price guaranteed’?  

Make sure the quote makes clear that the figure you are quoted won’t increase after you have signed the deal, even if the cost of raw materials goes up. 

4) What are your lead times?

As with many industries, solar installers have been struggling with the supply chain, and sourcing both panels and batteries can take several weeks if not months. At this time of year, the shorter days and bad weather can also reduce the potential installation ‘window’ any contractor may have. So, if someone is promising to fit a system next week, there could be a good reason, but you need to ask why! 

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5) Do I need / Are you getting DNO approval?  

District Network Operators (DNOs) are your local power companies, and they must give the go ahead for installations generating above certain levels of electrical output to the grid. This is because larger systems could have implications for the network infrastructure, and so it’s important to check this out before the installation goes ahead. 

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Explains SCA Solar’s founder and MD Shaun Giltrap:  

‘As with anything, if a solar installation offer looks too good to be true, it probably is! 

‘We pride ourselves on our track record and have been MCS certified (Number: NAP-9953) since we first opened our doors. We always carry out on onsite survey before we quote, which means there are no unforeseen problems when we fit the installation. It also enables us to give the customer a realistic timescale for the return on their investment – and once we have given them a quote, that price is guaranteed. 

‘DNO approval can hold things up for a few weeks or even months, but we recognise how important it is and are happy to forward any email correspondence so the customer can see exactly where they are up to. 

‘Lead times are probably one of the most variable aspects of what we do – but even if a contractor gets a cancellation which gives them unexpected stock available instantly, it’s unlikely another customer will have an identical requirement. It could happen, but just make sure you ask the question…’ 

If you’re dreaming of a green Christmas this year, why not check out SCA Solar | Solar PV & Battery Storage Installation | Cheshire

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