Sunday 18 June 2017

Solar PV upgrades being sold by pushy sales calls

Over the last year, I have found a plethora of Companies have started hard sales campaigns to sell  products or services to existing Solar PV owners. This has not really been helped along by the availability of databases that can be purchased detailing solar owners contact data, making it so much easier for them to get in contact.

Many of you existing solar owners will have had calls or letters from organisations proposing to make your system work far better than it currently does. While most of the products are good,  in most cases here, it is the selling that is suspect, along with the highly inflated prices to go with it.

To give you a ‘heads up’ on current sales company’s promotions, I have compiled a short list below:

1    1) Solar Edge optimised systems. The technology works well to minimise shading problems on solar panels with some clever technology, and will boost generation for part shaded systems. However, the salesmen are indicating far higher gains, and a far higher price than an ‘honest’ company would charge. If your solar is in the clear and has no shading, the Solar Edge system will never pay for itself. A recent example I was told by a customer the dodgy salesman quoted £5400 for a system that should have been just £3000.

      2) Voltage Optimisers . For very few solar owners, their grid voltage is quite high, causing the inverter to shut down when it is sunny. For this 2% of people, a voltage optimizer will sort the problem, bringing the grid voltage down. Sales guys are selling them to just about anyone and at hugely inflated prices, ie £3000 instead of £500

      3)Maintenance Contracts. Many people are getting a misleading letter, telling them their solar installer is now out of business. That statement is not true for around 20% of people, so is being investigated by Trading Standards. This particular company (and I'm sure others too), are selling expensive maintenance contracts amounting to £250 a year. Your system will only need a 5 year check at best for around £100.  You can keep an eye on the panels being clean and your system is working in between times by yourself.

      3)A very naughty  company are even calling people to tell them someone is going to come and maintain the system for free as part of their warranty that is just about to expire. The maintenance will not end up free, as they will expect you to sign up for monthly payments or whatever they can get away with. In addition, as part of any solar warranty, there is never a maintenance included. Don’t be fooled!

There will be other scams and highly priced devices being sold over the phone, not only to Solar Owners, but to anyone. The best advice as always is never to buy anything from telephone sales.

If you would like some idea of pricing for Solar PV add on products, call us at 

Friday 2 June 2017

Powering your outdoor event .. Quietly..

We’ve all been there, festivals, country shows and countryside events where the atmosphere is shattered by the buzz of generators. For trade stands, power can be essential, music events need lights and amplifiers, even the local gymkhana needs to have commentary over a public address system.

Times have moved on and portable power is becoming the domain of Hybrid generators, a combination of silent battery power with occasional generator noise. The idea is quite simple really, the batteries operate an electronic inverter to provide 230v mains power, just like a normal generator. When the batteries get low, a fuel generator runs for half hour or so and allows the battery system to run again quietly for hours. The original concept came about simply to save money on fuel, but the side effect is low noise as well.

Hybrid generators come in all sizes, from full container size to power a large business or large off grid house right down to a few boxes being tucked in a corner of a van for site use. To save fuel even further, if space permits, a solar panel or two can be bolted on keeping generator time even shorter.

Many people across the UK are using fixed hybrid systems to power their houses and businesses full time, usually because of no grid availability. The whole idea is easily transferred to a portable version.

For small events and trade stands, the ideal solution will be to have a hybrid generator fitted within a vehicle. For larger events requiring more power, a modular unit can be used, easily removed after the event by trailer or tractor. If you regularly have to have a generator running for your trade, consider going Hybrid, the fuel savings will be wonderful now fossil fuels are going up in price again. Plus think of life without endless noise and exhaust fumes.

Chris Rudge. 01392 368724