What Will My Solar Panel Quote Include?
Now it’s all very well and good talking about getting quotes, but how do you know what a good quote looks like? The first step is to know what a typical quote should include. If your quote fails to include the following information, then you may want to avoid that company.
If a company can’t get a simple solar panel installation quote right, how are they going to be able to install a whole PV system? NB: The following information applies specifically to Solar PV installations.The basics
Your quote should take your geographical location into consideration. Where you live will have a large impact on the number of daylight hours you’ll get in a year and therefore how much energy your system may produce.Maximum system power
The quote should definitely include the maximum system power output. For example, a 1kw system will cost far less than a 4kw system, but will produce far less energy as well.Solar panel manufacturing company
Your quote should include what brand of solar panels they’ll install. Not all companies are created equal, so it’s important to get high-quality panels that will stand the test of time.Number of panels
Your quote should also tell you the number of panels you’re getting as this will impact the size of the installation.Total installation size
Most quotes will also include the total area the solar system will take up. A typical 4kW system currently takes up about 26 square metres. Each kW panel takes up approximately 8 square metres.Estimated annual power output
Your quote should give you an idea about how much power your system is likely to produce per year, given your location and installation configuration. A 2kW system can produce upwards of 1,700 kWh of power a year in the UK.Power variation over the year
A good quote should also tell you how much power your system should produce at different times of the year. Obviously, in the summer most of the UK gets over 16 hours of sunlight, whereas in the winter we are lucky to get 8. In other words, in the summer you’ll produce far more power than in the winter.Energy efficiency of your house
Any quote you get should take into account the energy efficiency of your house (EPC rating) as this will affect the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) payments you will receive.Estimated feed-in tariff income
Your quote will most likely include information about how much money you can expect to make from the solar Feed-In Tariff. Since the Feed-In Tariff increases along with inflation, watch out for estimates that overstate the expected inflation rate over 25 years. Also, make sure that the FiT estimates reflect the payments you’ll receive based on your install date. FiTs are falling, so it pays to get the system installed sooner rather than later.Estimated energy savings
Your quote should also give you an idea about how much money you could be saving by getting your power from the sun. Saving money is the best reason to invest in solar panels. Look at your quote closely and see if the savings look realistic. If your energy bills are £80 a month and a company promises to save a £100 a month off your bills, you know something is fishy.Comparison with other investment options
Your quote may include a comparison between getting solar panels and the amount of money you can save from solar panels plus your Feed-In Tariff payment amount. Again, look at their assumptions as most companies will try to make the comparison as favourable to solar as possible.The total cost of your system
Finally, and most importantly your solar panel quote will offer the estimated final price for your system. Ideally, they should break down the cost for labour and material so you can see where you are spending your money. Most installers will insist you buy from them, but it may be possible to work out a deal where you buy the panels yourself and then just pay for installation.