Which? slams solar power installers

Published:  24 June, 2011

LONDON: Solar companies are using dodgy sales tactics and giving poor advice to people looking to buy solar PV (photovoltaic) panels, says Which?

In an undercover investigation, the consumer champion found that three quarters of companies overestimated how much energy the solar PV panels would produce and most of them underestimated how long it would take for the system to pay for itself.

Which? asked 12 certified companies to survey a house in southern England and quote for installing a solar PV system. One company overestimated the profit by £4,275 over 25 years and underestimated the payback time by three years, compared to its expert's calculations.

Which? found that the government's rules to work out energy output don't take into account key factors like where people live. Seven out of the 12 salespeople visiting the Which? undercover house recommended installing solar PV panels on a shaded part of the roof and eight companies didn't question customers about how much energy they used.

Two of the companies contravened the REAL consumer code that bans pressure selling.

Which? is talking to the government and industry's trade bodies about its findings to improve the service consumers get from solar companies.

See www.which.co.uk/solar to see video footage of the Which? investigation into the selling of solar PV panels.

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