If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email Niamh on [email protected] for help. Thanks :)
New AMA with a US police officer (he's back!). You can ask your questions here

Choosing a PV solar & battery system / installer

  • 26-02-2020 12:37am
    Registered Users Posts: 19 ✭✭✭ JBinWaterford

    Hi folks,

    So, you're here since you're possibly considering or actively comparing a PV Solar installation in your domestic property. Firstly, to say - I'd done a sizeable amount of comparisons before having had a system installed myself. Most of it, with the aim of understanding how they work, their limitations, the cost/benefit calculation, and some 'future proofing' (as much as can be done, without a crystal ball !)

    It seemed, the only place I hadn't looked (and in retrospect, shortsightedly) was here on ! Damn....there's some good information and experiences shared here.

    I compared 3 suppliers/installers and engaged in discussion with them - further than initial pricing. I did this to get a feeling for how the companies knew the market, the multitude of solutions on offer, and to gauge how they dealt customers beyond a potential "sale" or "transactional" basis.

    Lots of questions asked, some bouncing one's solution off another (not for pricing, but for opinion) - all gave a good impression of whether the company was well informed, sufficiently experienced, and likely to "stay around" to service potential 10+ year warranties on equipment.

    Not sure if i can name the company (so erring on the side of caution, I won't ! - please PM me if required) - but even having done the above, I ended up with what I believe is a very good quality solution (equipment), but a shockingly bad installation and overall "experience" dealing with the company. Reviews are left on other sites to inform those who are in early stages of supplier selection.

    My advice after almost 12 months from initially engaging the chosen supplier, to the current date (where there remains outstanding services):

    - Ensure the supplier is happy to (and will facilitate) discussion with a selection of other customers - and do contact a selection of those customers.
    - Ensure all communication is written (emailed) for reference.
    - Ask for accreditation (SEAI approval "should" be preferable/assuring)
    - Before signing / paying deposits - do check how they handle complaints and who are the contacts /escalations and what are agreed timescales for resolutions.
    - Perhaps obvious, but do independently check equipment reviews on-line, using multiple sources.
    - Confirm the supplier will supply precise models/specifications of equipment agreed upon, or otherwise agree that the supplier will notify you of proposed "like-for-like" changes.
    - Check what technical support is available post-installation and question any "generalisations" or vague commitments.

    Finally - I'll end saying we're glad we installed solar PV, and I'd be willing to share my experience in all aspects - but take your time, do the homework, and a good installation is not just quality equipment (although it's part !). A good installer will take the time to answer your questions to your satisfaction, and should give you the impression they've deep experience, good people / processes, and if you're lucky - a bit of passion for what they do !

    We experienced some of the above and sorely missed an equal amount.

    Good luck !

    PS. I should add, that we're based in the Wicklow area (contrary to my 'outdated' username suggesting otherwise!), and the supplier/installer are North County Dublin (and NI) based.