5 ‘Must Dos’ Before Investing in Solar Panels
Solar Photovoltaics, otherwise known as solar panels, are a fantastic way to utilise your land for renewable energy purposes. But, what steps should you take before investing in solar panels?
An investment appraisal service offered by independent power and energy consultancy, Roadnight Taylor, has highlighted some key issues. Several common issues with landowners approaches to Photovoltaics (PV) investment and, more worryingly, with the contractors they are employing to install schemes are now clear.
Hugh Taylor, CEO of Roadnight Taylor says, “Landowners are often jumping straight into an investment without fully considering the options, and if the investment really will give them the paybacks they are promised. Many installers are mis-selling or overselling schemes, and some are charging clients to make expensive grid applications which are doomed to fail.”
To help other landowners avoid the same traps, Roadnight Taylor have created a simple list of five MUST do activities before any behind-the-meter solar PV investment.
1. Review your site energy demands and get a solution to fit your needs
Putting any solar panel on a roof would once have given good returns, but that is not the case since the Feed-In-Tariff scheme ended. Returns are now less straightforward.
You must first review the volume, shape and pattern of site electrical demand throughout the day and the year, and then make sure any new scheme is sized appropriately to offset energy import into the site. An oversized scheme will ‘spill’ energy onto the grid for relatively low export revenues and will result in a lower return on investment.
“In more than one solar installation case we’ve seen, the best option for the client wasn’t solar at all, with their greatest value being from making better use of the energy investments they already had in place,” says Mr Taylor. This is why an independent expert review of your site and any proposed renewable installation is crucial – some technologies will be better options than others for different sites.
2. Get grid connection applications prepared by independent experts
“In one case, we assessed a landowner had paid £4,500 in fees to the Distribution Network Operator and installer to have a grid application submitted for a new on-site PV scheme. The application was inappropriate, and consequently failed to meet the client’s needs.”
“And not only that, the installer had put the application in their own name, so the client had exposed themselves to the installer potentially ransoming the grid rights in exchange for an installation contract, or failing to properly safeguard and maintain them,” said Mr Taylor. They advise getting grid connection applications prepared independently, and by those with a high-end knowledge of the grid.
3. Put schemes out to competition between different installers
If you put your system out to competition, to three or four installers, you can then ensure you are getting the most appropriate system for your site, at the lowest cost – and from the very best installers.
4. Guard against profiteering installers
“Unfortunately, installers are, invariably, opportunists. We’ve seen many cases where installers just want to sell clients as much solar as they can get away with. It’s crucial to compel your installer to put your best interests over their own,” warns Mr Taylor.
5. Seek specialist, expert, and independent technical, strategic and tactical advice
It’s important to have your site, and any potential for schemes, reviewed by an independent expert before committing to any system or installer. Making the wrong decision could be expensive.
Investing in Solar Panels, the Right Way
As you can see, landowners should carefully consider their approaches to solar photovoltaic (PV scheme) investment. Not only are these five steps super important, the contractors they use to install schemes are also paramount. By ensuring to act on these five top tips before making an investment of this kind, your land will thank you.
If you want to find out more information from the Roadnight Taylor crew, don’t hesitate to collect your FREE tickets to the Farm Business Innovation Show. Join Roadnight Taylor on 6th & 7th November at NEC Birmingham to get expert advice on how you could diversify your land into renewable energy!
For more information, please get in contact using the details below:
COMPANY NAME: Roadnight Taylor Ltd
PHONE: 01993 830571
LINKEDIN: Roadnight Taylor Ltd