Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Do your sums before fitting solar panels, warns Trading Standards

Energy Saving Trust

HOMEOWNERS thinking of fitting solar panels to save money and gain income from the energy they generate are urged to do their sums before signing any contracts.

The call comes from West Sussex County Council Trading Standards Service following recent proposals put forward by the government that may halve the income the panels generate.

Graeme MacPherson, Head of Trading Standards, said: “Many homeowners in West Sussex have been approached by companies offering to install solar panels with the incentive of guaranteed payments for electricity generated.  

“But wide-ranging changes to terms and conditions – including cutting the current tariff received by householders from 43.3p to 21p per KWH – are being proposed.  

“If you are considering having solar panels installed it is important you do your sums carefully and consider all relevant factors before coming to a decision.

“This includes:

·          Taking into consideration the proposed changes to the tariffs.
·          Making sure you ask for a detailed estimate of the financial benefits you will obtain, taking into account the electricity you use yourself and the direction your property faces in relation to the sun.
·          How long will the equipment be guaranteed for.”  

There are also proposals to reduce the tariffs applicable to so called ‘rent a roof’ solar panels where a third party owns the generating equipment and a householder permits them to use their roof space for 25 years.

“The householder benefits from the electricity generated by the panels through reduced energy bills and may also receive a rent payment while the third party benefits from the income.  

“The economics of rent a roof installations will also be adversely affected by the proposed tariff changes which may lead to a reduction in companies offering this scheme,” said Graeme.  

Pete Bradbury, County Council Cabinet Member for Public Protection, said: “This is timely advice from our Trading Standards Service. Fitting solar panels is an attractive option because they generate income and they reduce our carbon footprint.

“However, the proposed changes are significant so take the advice of our Trading Standards experts and do your sums to make sure you get value for your money.”

As with all major purchasing decisions, West Sussex Trading Standards Service recommends consumers:

·          Obtain at least three quotes before deciding what company to choose.
·          Carefully read and understand all the information provided.

It also recommends they only sign a contract with a company that is certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme for the relevant technology.  

For further information and full details about the changes visit www.energysavingtrust.org.uk ,  which also provides a useful solar energy calculator.

One Comment

  1. Posted 17 Nov, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Interested in Solar? I just got in more discounted solar panels that will produce more electricity than these Hardware Store panels.

    Thanks for this post…