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Crazy quotes for solar panels - can we do anything?

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  • 07-08-2022 8:07pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,732 ✭✭✭


    This is not a thread for quotes! Or to attempt to name and shame. So please don’t.

    Over recent months more than one company name has appeared on “excessively priced” quotations.

    A few people get saved from big financial errors thanks to boards.is and the Facebook PV community. I expect they are the rare in comparison to those who get, in my opinion, “conned”.

    Some quotes I have seen I regard as deeply unethical, at best. I am not talking about 2-3,000 euro or 10% above average, where someone can claim they offer better tech or better customer service. There are quotes circulating which area circa 10,000 euros over market rate.

    I suppose my query is whether there any angles to suggest operators charging huge prices are doing anything illegal? Some people could have money to burn, but others paying these may be vulnerable people….that angers me. Almost all must believe they will get a return on investment. Many people who can least afford must be getting duped, then there is the wider point that we all pay the price to reward these, in my opinion, unethical business practises and owners.

    Some things I do know;

    • Businesses are generally free to set their own prices.
    • Sometimes products are protected from “price gouging” but it’s rare.
    • There are indirect traps some of these greedy operators may fall into like misleading adverts eg performance, ROI period, and aggressive sales tactics. as above. As above most of the buyers must believe their ROI will be about 10 years, not 25+, if the PV company has incorrectly suggested such a “fact” then they may be in trouble.
    • We are not talking about a free market product- a government funded grant is in play, can this change the rules of the game? The panels/large costs for the PV businesses are paid for by you and me, Irish tax payers, and I expect some rules or people are accountable to ensure value for our money does exist?

    I also think find these bad operators a turn off for the wider industry. I approach all the companies with an unhealthy, rather than healthy, level of scepticism, that’s a toxic way for customers to engage with one’s industry.

    😎



«1

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,432 ✭✭✭Gerry


    I'd definitely agree with what you are sayimg. the value for money for taxpayers angle needs to be pursued, but how can a complaint process come about.. what about the office of consumer affairs?



  • Registered Users Posts: 984 ✭✭✭Still stihl waters 3


    Anytime the government supplements a product you'll have inflation of prices by some, its up to the clients to do their research and get quotes from different suppliers, vulnerable doesn't cut it I'm afraid, if that's the case used car salesmen should be in jail



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,682 ✭✭✭MojoMaker


    I got a quote last week for an 10-panel setup (380W panels) with inverter and hot water diverter, but without battery for 9000, or 6600 after grant. Strongly considering it.

    Quote with 5kw battery jumped it up to 13,000 or 10,600 after grant.

    Both above are final installed prices.

    Was looking at the battery option for an EV solution and working the numbers at the moment.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,074 ✭✭✭allinthehead


    What would the payback period on a 4k battery be especially with fit in place?

    ☀️



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,732 ✭✭✭poker--addict


    This is a strong argument. Possibly the final one? Albeit I am not sure a used car sales person is listed on an “approved list” by a government agency or government linked agency subsidising car garage profits.


    possible! And to counter the used car garage comparison, a quick google establishes that courts have actually made rulings in the motor industry;



    https://m.sundayworld.com/crime/courts/car-dealer-says-he-did-nothing-wrong-despite-pleading-guilty-to-misleading-consumer/41439162.html

    😎



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  • Registered Users Posts: 873 ✭✭✭3d4life


    My I borrow this thread instead of starting a new one to ask how local pricing compares to


    ?



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,432 ✭✭✭Gerry


    no diverter here, but 3600 after grant for 8 415w panels, 3.3kw.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,528 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger


    You and me poker = same page. It angers me greatly.

    Sadly I think there is zero/little anyone can do other than perhaps what we've been doing here on the forums in helping educate people that there are "better" deals out there. The reality is, that it's a free market, and if a company "x" wants to sell gold plated panels for €20K and they find people willing to part their hard earned cash for that....we'll that's the market at work.

    It certainly doesn't sit well with me - but at the risk of sounding defeat'ist, not sure there is a good way of calling out "the chancers".



  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 6,086 Mod ✭✭✭✭graememk


    When I first started looking into panels, one of the people I contacted used German panels, double glass coated 30 yr warranty or something. Actually would be good if you were right on the sea..

    The first array was for my dad, and even though he's just starting to get the pension, said : who's gonna guarantee that company will be there to honour it in 30 yrs, how much more will technology move in the same timeframe, and will I even see the end of the warranty.

    We ended up working with a local company.. and have done 3 sets of panels for us so far. And putting in longi panels



  • Registered Users Posts: 65,381 ✭✭✭✭unkel
    Chauffe, Marcel, chauffe!


    Panels are panels. Just get the ones that are cheapest per watt output. It will minimise your payback period. Unless you are extremely restricted in the number of panels you can install because of awkward roof angles and orientation, shading and the like



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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 19,021 Mod ✭✭✭✭slave1


    I agree on panels, my first install was JA Solar 410w, a reputable Canadian brand, they have since (I believe) stopped making panels.

    Am I worried, no.

    My currently in process install in Jinko brand 455w, not bothered by the brand at all, this is a hugely expanding market so there will be lots of entrants and the Chinese will quickly get up to a high standard and price challenge all others.

    Regarding the price gouging, it's simple supply and demand and also lack of consumer knowledge, these are private companies and out to maximise their profits in a golden period of PV installs. There's no shotguns to heads here, to coin a phrase "shop around"

    My stuff for sale on Adverts inc. EDDI, hot water cylinder, roof rails...

    Public Profile active ads for slave1 (adverts.ie)



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,732 ✭✭✭poker--addict


    Private companies yes but aren’t their margins highly dependent upon the exchequer?

    😎



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,528 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger


    Sure, they get some exchequer funds via the grant that SEAI award. I guess the logic there is that SEAI are reliant on the consumer (person receiving the grant) that they will get the best deal that they can - which as we know doesn't always happen due to lack of knowledge etc.

    SEAI are doing their job, increasing the solar penetration in the country. Yeah, there's an argument that we could have a higher KW generation out there, but that's not really their problem just the market conditions that exist.

    I mean if you were to do it "right", I'd means test people getting the solar grant of €2400, and I'd even go as far as to give free (or practically free) installations to people in energy poverty such as people on social welfare or very low incomes. Install a 3-4Kwp system for nought or next to nought......and then eliminate the fuel allowance etc.

    I know that wouldn't sit well with many (incl me) who've spend €10K+ on systems, but can't see someone on the dole or some low income family forking out a fat wad of cash on a "shiny bauble".



  • Registered Users Posts: 65,381 ✭✭✭✭unkel
    Chauffe, Marcel, chauffe!


    Poor people can go for the solar as a service. Costs just €29.50 per month. Zero up front. Installer gets the grant. And I'd say the savings will easily cover that, so people will save from day 1 and own the system outright after 10 years. But unfortunately most people would be too ignorant to even know that's an option.



    Means testing my arse 😂



  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 19,021 Mod ✭✭✭✭slave1


    We can't offer free to those on welfare, how is that fair to working folk, same as high earners should be entitled to same grants as everyone else. This is how fiscal policy is implemented, you don't see children's allowance or the electricity €200 payment means tested...

    My stuff for sale on Adverts inc. EDDI, hot water cylinder, roof rails...

    Public Profile active ads for slave1 (adverts.ie)



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,358 ✭✭✭kabakuyu


    If got give out free solar panels,you might as well give them an A rated house as well to put them on.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,528 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger


    It's not as crazy as you would first think and believe me when I say I'm a capitalistic pig. LOL ! :-)

    Currently many people on welfare get fuel allowances. Well that would be scrapped for starters for anyone who would avail of it. Same goes for any OAP's who get those extra fuel payments in winter. Can't be "free" of course. They'd have to pay something towards it.

    As for comments like "sure we don't means test children's allowance". We don't but ....we should. Does it really make sense to be giving the likes of Michael O'Leary children allowance, with €850m in the bank? Does it? Could that money not be better spent elsewhere on people who need it? Sure he's entitled to it, but that idea is only because we've all grown up with that so it seems "wierd" to change it. Same story with the medical cards. Before everyone got one, then it became means tested. I wish we had the money for everyone to have one, but it makes sense to spend the limited resources on the people who need it most.

    Would also massively increase solar adoption, which would help us reach and hopefully exceed our green targets. Every house in Ireland should have (some) solar installation. The grants are a decent start, but it doesn't go far enough in my view.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,732 ✭✭✭poker--addict


    It would be a lot easier to supervise a few solar providers ethics than means test every home in Ireland 😃

    😎



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,856 ✭✭✭Grumpypants


    Lots of retired people are looking to do something for the next generation. Insulation, windows, solar panels etc. And saying buyer beware or do your research is not good enough. It's a topic that is very hard to research.

    Id be pretty handy online and I find it hard to cut through all the adverts and buzz words when reading about solar.

    My normal go to place for recommendations is boards, but that's not possible in this case due to the no naming rule. I'm sure there is a good reason for it but it seems odd as this isn't a boards policy.

    The supplier list only made things worse and more confusing.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,528 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger


    Ohh lots of holes you can shoot in a policy like that. Problem is, is that it's too forward thinking for Ireland. Too many people would shoot it down rather than look at improving/solving things. I've some others such as

    "What happens if I availed of the scheme and i move house? Am I no longer entitled?"

    Etc

    Thing is, is that governments need to think outside the box. If people want to "get serious" about solving environmental issues, they need to start making serious sacrifices .... and not just doing token gestures like banning peat burning/sales in rural Ireland. What have we in Ireland, some 24,000 homes with solar in the last 10 years or so. What's that out of 2.4 million homes....1%. Is that good? I'd say no. Why is that? Part of it is down to the high capital investment that's required. People on here (you, me, etc) most of us are fortunate to be able to do that.....but for many out there, zero chance (zero!) that they'll ever get a solar installation as they don't have €3-4K.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 12,326 ✭✭✭✭DrPhilG


    The price gouging seen on the Irish PV Facebook page got so ludicrous that I started saving screenshots.


    Company name removed of course but the majority of these were the same company although other gougers are becoming well known too.


    Some of these are eye watering.


    No regulation and no protection for the vulnerable.



  • Registered Users Posts: 65,381 ✭✭✭✭unkel
    Chauffe, Marcel, chauffe!


    I rarely even visit any of those Irish facebook pages. The rip off quotes some people get for solar while gloating and backslapping themselves and each other they got a good deal literally makes my sick. Violently so if I hear one more time from an active company with a double four. Ireland's biggest PV installer.



  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 19,021 Mod ✭✭✭✭slave1


    I gave up on the Quotes thread, couldn't keep up with the PMs after posting costs.

    €16k, for 18 410w panels, 18 455w panels, two Solis 6kW inverters, a Sofar battery inverter, 20kWh battery pack, EDDI, Zappi2, all cabling, two 3.7m ground mounts, custom shed mounts and both aspects of house roof installs, all labour, all materials.

    I just need one day with electrician to finish it all off but he is just snowed

    My stuff for sale on Adverts inc. EDDI, hot water cylinder, roof rails...

    Public Profile active ads for slave1 (adverts.ie)



  • Registered Users Posts: 24,375 ✭✭✭✭lawred2




  • Registered Users Posts: 65,381 ✭✭✭✭unkel
    Chauffe, Marcel, chauffe!


    No catch. They take the SEAI grant and they basically give you a loan over 10 years. The loan pays for the system, you don't need a cent up front. Then over 10 years, you pay them €29.50 per month (your savings should be a good bit more than that) and after 10 years you can stop paying them as the loan is paid off. Win-win for everyone (except the Irish tax payer - but that's the same with any subsidy)



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,528 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger


    Yeah, no catch.

    But if your average punter has €3-4K...... spending it on solar (even though it will save them money long term) is like one of the LAST things they'll spend it on. They'll always upgrade the car, or spend it on a week in Ibiza, or do up the kitchen etc etc. It's the rare folk (reading this) who "get it".

    That's why I think "something different" is needed to encourage adoption. That's why I'd heavily discount it for social welfare people or OAP's etc. If they aren't spending money on energy making Shell, Gazprom or Exxon money, then they are spending that money in the economy (hopefully). Spending money generates money. Helps people in energy poverty get out of that.

    Or come up with an alternative......let's go clean slate, how would YOU (open question to everyone not specifically unkel) drive adoption if you had say €50m in the kitty? I'd be curious to see what people come up with.



  • Registered Users Posts: 24,375 ✭✭✭✭lawred2


    hah I see that their business address is literally 2 minutes from my house

    Going to check them out. Thanks for that.

    Would the possible savings likely eclipse the €30 a month repayment?



  • Registered Users Posts: 65,381 ✭✭✭✭unkel
    Chauffe, Marcel, chauffe!


    I don't know the details of their cheapest system but let's presume it's something like 2.5kwp. South facing in a decent area in Ireland this will generate about 2500 kWh (units) per year. Let's take a worst case scenario where you consume just 40% of your production and send the rest to the grid. Let's say you will have a 30c day unit rate with a smart meter and they pay you 13.5c for export. Then you will make:


    40% * 2500 * .30 = €300 saving from self consuming

    60% * 2500 * .14 = €200 paid back for export (tax free)

    So total saving €500, total cost €29.50 * 12 = €350 per year

    Profit €150 or so per year. This is worst case scenario. If day rate goes to 50c, the saving is €350 per year. It's also likely that you self use more than 60% with such a small system

    So yes, even very worst case scenario, the €30 a month is totally eclipsed by the savings and remember it doesn't cost a cent up front either. And after the 10 years, all the savings are for the home owner. So likely a figure approaching €1000 per year



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,454 ✭✭✭DC999


    Not sure I agree that climate emergency / cost of energy being out of control for homeowners isn't on peoples minds, and they aren't interested in reducing that.

    The neighbouring road close to me with the most solar close (in a very ordinary D12 area where I live) has the most house with solar on it cause guess what? Someone got solar, then another got it because they could understand it / likely talk to the person and see if it made sense...Then others followed. We're influenced by our peers (for good or bad). And someone I know who lives on that road say ours and said it's something on their list when they get their extension sorted.

    So we're likely all very good ambassadors / advocates of solar for our own reasons.

    Does it suck that only something like 1% of homes have it? Yep. Did we have a spare X grand to spend on it? No, but we moved priorities around to get it.

    Tis an energy crisis - so I don't care if my system is 'devalued' if the State roll it out to heaps of homes. Every citizen is gonna pay a lot more if we don't nail Co2 reduction. Solar in Ireland is a '1% club' I don't want to be in. We need heaps more energy security - as people here are pushing in their own way.

    I'm not into the debate that those who can afford to invest in energy security (who likely have had more access to education and better paid jobs) are somehow more enlightened than 'others'. My family spent close to 30k (but will get 3k grant back in time) in last few months on a 2nd hand EV (one car family) and solar panels so we can get 'free energy'. I've very aware not everyone can finance those loans. And that's a large amount of money to our 1 income family. So unless you own a house you can't get solar. That's a high bar for many and even then need to own the roof unlike some managed estates) - which rules our apartments and those renting. Even getting solar takes a wild amount of research for the most part - that means you need spare time.

    Is there an education piece there that SAAS has no upfront cost so means it's accessible for the masses? 100%. Wasn't something I personally knew before I started getting install quotes and spent months researching solar.

    Can the State do more to raise adopt? 100%, which @bullit_dodger poses above



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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,528 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger


    Excellent points there DC999.

    I don't profess to have any, excuse the pun :-) magic bullits here - other than being open to crazy ideas or least willing to thrash them out and then see what might stick.

    I do think the grants help by the way with adoption. Not as much as I'd like and in some cases it drives up the average quote, but there are I think solutions to most problems out there. For example if you don't own a house, but your renting you could incentivize landlords to install solar with tax rebates on rent received, etc. not least of which is that the value of their property would increase with a lower BER if they had solar installed when they are selling it on.

    SaaS is a great solution. I'd take it one step further and nearly have a government run scheme with sparks on the government payroll installing a "standard" 4kwp system (no battery) similar to the Saas program. Not that unemployment is an issue anymore (I saw we had one of our lowest every figure recently)

    Where would all the money come from? Well some of it from existing things such as you can't get "free" €200 energy windfalls like we all got recently there in April if you have a system installed. You can always find the money if you want :-)

    Crazy? Maybe - but simply hoping that our C02 problem goes away with a "Ahh shure it'll be grand" might not be the wisest.



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