The S&G blog
Save and Generate HQ Solar PV Installation: Phase I - Navigating the mine field of trying to source the best installer and system for the given situation
Follow Save and Generate Director Mike Soldner's experiences with getting solar PV installed on the company's headquarters. A visual first-hand guide through the minefield of selecting the best installer and system for a given situation.
The idea of installing a solar PV system on Save and Generate's Headquarters had long been on our minds, but its realisation had to wait until this summer. The roof needed a revamp in order to get it into a state where we would not have to worry about it for the next 25 years. Hence, bundling up the roof refurbishment with the solar PV installation works made sense in so far as it allowed us to save on the cost of putting scaffolding up twice.
From pulling together the information pages of the Save and Generate web site, I knew well what information I needed to put a good quality quote request into the S&G Free Quote finder tool. I had already produced scale drawings of the building and roof. The proposed roof space for the installation was the SW-facing hipped roof of the end-terrace house. I also took a photograph one evening in May that clearly showed the line of shadow cast across the roof by the neighbouring end-terrace house. This photograph would make it easier for the installer to set up the two separate PV module strings that most inverters will allow for. This would then allow maximum power to be drawn from the PV array, even when parts of the array would be shaded in the evening.
Armed with all the required information I then proceeded to submitting my quote request through the Save and Generate Free Quote finder tool. And sure enough, within 5 days I had all the quotes I needed, clearly laid out in front of me to analyse and compare. Our own ‘Quote process guide’ and Segen's excellent 'Solar Module Guide' helped me through the initial stages, but I held off from making my final decision until I would have the roofing contractor lined up for the re-roofing works.
It may sound easy, but coordinating two teams of tradesmen to carry out their respective works back-to-back is never an easy task, last year's refurbishment works on the house taught us that lesson. When John from John Duffin Roofing said that he could get cracking on the re-roofing works as soon as the following week, it spurred me into action to finalise my selection of a solar PV installation company.
Now surely this was the easy part in the process, after all we ARE the experts in this, right?! So it came at a bit of a surprise to me to learn first hand just how complex and time consuming the process nevertheless turned out to be. This just confirmed to me the importance of what we were offering to people coming through our web site, i.e. to provide all the required tools and guidance to ease the path to finding the best installer and best product for ones specific requirements.
After many rounds of going back to installers for clarifications and further information, I finally got to the answer. Not least due to the very well-timed completion of Roger's 'MicrogenVoice 1.0 - Solar PV panel performance report'. I acted as a guinea pig for the report and my experiences and feedback helped to fine tune the report into something we now consider a must-read for everyone looking to install solar PV panels on their roof. Download the report here for FREE in PDF format
To find out who I ended up commissioning for the works and how they got on, come back in a couple of days to read my second blog in this series, 'Phase II – Commissioning our installers and getting cracking on the works'.
Posted by Mike at 18:10