Don’t get caught out! Our advice if you get cold called.

We’ve seen an increase in cold calling & door-to-door mail drops offering system upgrades, new inverters, and battery storage to homeowners with solar. Follow our advice to make sure you don’t get caught out!

After the solar rush of 2011 its getting to the point where many inverters are starting to fail. This is something that is expected once or twice throughout a systems life span. There are several companies who are utilising this and mixing it with false advice and incorrect ‘facts’ to generate business, a trend that we are trying to combat. Some door-to-door sales people have even been caught turning systems off to make it look like they are no longer working!

 

What should I be aware of?

In most cases your details would have been found on the MCS database. This is a database of everyone who has bought a system that has been registered for the Feed-In-Tariff. In a large proportion of cases homeowners will receive a phone call, however there is a rise in targeted mailing either with a letter or a flyer/ leaflet.

From our personal experience (yep, we’ve had these calls too!) and hearing what some of our customers have been told you should be aware of the following statements (among other information you may be told);

  • Your system is unsafe or doesn’t meet new standards
  • Your system needs fire protection
  • Your inverter is no longer working
  • Your inverter is no longer safe
  • Your panels aren’t performing as well as they should
  • Your solar panels need optimisation
  • ‘We are the only registered/ authorised installer of SolarEdge in the UK’
  • Your system will work better with battery storage added

Firstly, and importantly, we must stress that these calls are not from SolarEdge (even if they say they are), nor are they in anyway affiliated with SolarEdge.
SolarEdge is a manufacturer of inverters and optimisers, and it is a product that hundreds of installers across the country sell and install, ourselves included. They do not contact homeowners trying to sell their product or insist that people need to have it installed.

New standards and fire safety, standards have changed very little over the past few years, the only exception is a small sticker that should be in a prominent place showing that the property has solar panels, this is so that in case of a fire in the property the emergency services know that there is solar fitted and can act accordingly.
Fire protection. A) There is not just one system for fire protection, this is a claim we have heard several times. B) This protection is not legally required to be attached to the solar panels.
Your generation can be tracked through any monitoring you have through the inverter, or by taking reading periodically from the total generation meter. If you’re still generating electricity then your system is working, there are ways of calculating whether it is generating the correct amount.

In most cases your system will still be safe and working well, having a new inverter installed will only help if your old one has come to the end of its life or is not working properly. There is very little that can go wrong in an inverter, as long as it is still electrically safe and the connections are still intact then chances are your inverter has not become ‘unsafe’.
Most solar panels will work for more than 25 years, optimisation can help production in some cases, and certainly if there is shading but we always recommend that you get further advice on this.

Battery Storage.

We, and some of the installers we supply have been out to multiple houses that have had batteries installed, often mis-sold at extortionate prices and then not installed properly. Some systems will not be suitable for battery storage, and some homes simply do not need it. Our advice is simple; shop around, and get solid local advice. We are always more than happy to provide a sample quote for a battery system that you can use for comparison, or give you advice on what is suitable. Again, have a look at the Checkatrade website (or your local business directory) to find an installer local to you that may be able to help, or call us on 01243 641830

What to do if you are contacted.

Firstly, don’t agree to anything over the phone, some companies may record phone calls and use this as verbal agreement to their services.
Secondly, check the company out, a simple Google search may give you some clues about the company you are dealing with, however good they may look and however amazing the deal is that they are offering don’t sign up to anything just yet.

Often the best thing to do and the best advice you can get is from the installer who installed your system in the first place. They will know what system you have, and how it should be working. If the installer that put your system in is no longer in business (as many aren’t) we suggest finding another local installer to discuss your system with, or have them come out and check your system, a great place to look for local accredited installers is Checkatrade.com or the MCS Website. Alternatively you can always give us a call, our friendly team are always more than happy to discuss your requirements or concerns and give you simple advice on how to check whether it is still working well or not.
Alternatively if you would like us to come out and check your system our engineers are always happy to do so (we recommend a service every couple of years), you can contact us through our website, or by calling us on 01243 641830.

 

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