Finding an installer

Installers

Renewable energy systems are great investments in your home, but they are not cheap to install, so it's worth taking care finding an installer.

We strongly recommend that you choose a system and installer that are certified by an appropriate body; this will help you to ensure the quality of your installation and the level of customer care that you receive. If you want to get payments through Feed-in Tariffs or Renewable Heat Incentive, you must use an installer and system with current accreditation from the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) or Solar Keymark.

Where to look

What to look for

Before you sign or pay a deposit

 

Where to look  

To find certified products and installers in your area:

 

What to look for  

For you to be eligible for Feed-In Tariff or Renewable Heat Incentive payments, both the system and the installer must be accredited under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). Solar water heating systems only can also be accredited the Solar Keymark.

Beware of heavy-handed sales techniques, such as pressure to sign on the day, high prices with large discounts for signing on the spot, or bogus monitoring scheme discounts. (All MCS-certified installers agree to a code of conduct that bans high-pressure selling techniques - the Renewable Energy Consumer Code).

All installers or suppliers should be able to provide a detailed breakdown of the specification and costs of their proposed systems. They should also be able to:

  • explain how they have calculated the size of the system to be appropriate for your needs
  • supply clear, easy to understand information and operating instructions
  • explain what you will need to do to maintain your system
  • provide an estimate of how much heat or electricity will be generated by any proposed systems, and what proportion this is of your current needs
  • explain how they have calculated any Feed-in Tariff or Renewable Heat Incentive payments that you may receive.

Get at least three installers to specify and cost some potential options for you. Use the checklist below to help you choose an installer:

 

Checklist

Pick a supplier with experience. Ask them how long they have been in business, and how long they have been installing systems similar to the one you are considering.

Choose a local installer where possible. Ask for a list of references and local installations and check them.

Check any professional credentials you are shown with the organisation that issued them. Many competent and experienced installers do not have relevant professional qualifications, so ask if they are a member of a trade organisation - if so, ask the association about its membership criteria. Be aware that uncertified installers will not be able to provide a system eligible for Feed-in Tariff or Renewable Heat Incentive payments.

Get lots of information on system options and potential problems so that you can talk confidently to installers. Ask for:

  • recent manuals and brochures
  • any background information and test data.

Ask about what happens once the system is installed. Get details of:

  • after-installation services offered
  • warranties - all installers should provide a minimum one-year warranty on the installation
  • what is covered by warranties and for what length of time after installation.
 

Quotations

Do not compare installers on cost alone: the cheapest may not be the most appropriate.

Always get quotations in writing on company headed paper.

Check quotations for detail. Ask about:

  • Government incentives – will the system be eligible for Feed-In Tariffs or Renewable Heat Incentive payments?
  • payment options
  • what is included – prices should cover the safe removal and disposal of any existing equipment; is the price of any drilling or trenching included?
  • whether the cost of a Total Generation Meter is included -  you will need one if you are going to connect to the electricity grid and claim Fee- in Tariff payments.

For heating systems, ask whether the cost of integration with your home's heating system - or a proposed heating system - is included.

 

Before you sign or pay a deposit  

Read the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC)

Here are RECC's top tips:

Make sure the company give you in writing:

  • a quote including a standard performance estimate specific to your property and a full breakdown of what will be supplied; make sure it’s all-inclusive
  • their standard terms and conditions.

Make sure that you read all the information carefully and that you understand it.

Never pay more than 25% of the contract price up front, and check it will be protected.

Remember that you have the right to cancel the contract within seven days with no penalty; make sure you don’t waive this right by signing a waiver.

If you make any changes to the contract make sure these are agreed in writing and added to the contract.

If the company makes any changes to the contract make sure you agree them in writing; remember if you are not happy with them you have the right to cancel the contract within seven days with no penalty.

Once the job has been completed, remember to go to the RECC website to send your feedback. 

 

Before you start...

If you're thinking about installing a system to generate your own heat, make sure your home is as well insulated as it can be so your heat-producing system can be most efficient.

Focus on improving insulation and tackling draughts.