Considering a retrofit project but concerned about the potential pitfalls? In this month’s blog we talk again to Executive Assistant to all of our schemes, including HIES, Louise Auld, to obtain further insight into the pros and cons of anyone looking to ‘green up’ their home and discuss the most important considerations from Louise’s first-hand knowledge.
With the cost of living continuing to spiral, keeping energy costs as low as they can be remains a key concern for most households. When Louise and her partner took on their solar panel and battery storage retrofit, it was not only to make a positive environmental impact, but also to contribute towards money saving on their energy bills. That’s why getting the job done right, is as important as your reasoning to get it done in the first place, so that a job you embark on to save you money, doesn’t actually end up costing you in the long run to have put right.
“The most important piece of advice I could give anyone looking to have a retrofit project carried out on their home, is use a trusted installer. This means you know you are employing someone with the required experience, knowledge and skillset to get your job completed effectively and efficiently, as well as benefiting from the range of consumer protection mechanisms in place. If you’re not sure where to start, the HIES website is a great source of information on retrofit possibilities as well as listing registered installers.”
“We obtained quotes from multiple installers who all offered to manage the entire project. We didn’t need an assessment or a survey prior to starting the works, as our chosen installer was able to conduct a remote survey from us submitting the photos they requested on their intuitive portal. Once work is underway, it’s really important to make sure you get the order of works correct. Our Installer planned everything for us including scaffolding, roofers and electricians which made it a lot easier for us as we had just one named contact for the entire process. We were given a two-day installation window by the Installer and then the relevant teams arrived at our house as planned. One of the reasons we chose our Installer was the fact we could fund the project using their 0% finance deal, which was another huge plus. We have also received product warranties from our installer for the solar panels, inverter and battery and their two-year workmanship guarantee which is backed up by the HIES protection.”
“Having solar panels has really made us think about our habits with regards to putting on appliances. For example, when we first got the system we couldn’t understand why our battery wasn’t lasting us through the night, until when chatting to a colleague I mentioned the dishwasher going on over night and the penny dropped! We’ve started to programme and delay appliances and ensure we don’t have the washing machine and dishwasher on at the same time, so we do not overload the inverter. On a typical day we will programme appliances from c. 11am as we know at that point the battery has recharged (or is well on its way to being charged) from overnight usage either to export at the peak rate later in the day, or keep us in power overnight.”
“We’ve recently received our first utility bill since having the solar panels fitted and am pleased to say we have significantly reduced our outgoings. For example, in June 2023 we spent £25.00 on electricity (which also includes the standing charge), which is under a quarter of what we were spending compared to the same time last year. For June, our total consumption was 283.6kWh which broke down to 154.83kWh from solar to home, 35.52kWh grid to home and 93.25kWh battery to home. We are still repaying the finance for the work itself, but with the fabulous weather in the North West we have had, we’re delighted to have spent many days ‘off grid’ which is a massive benefit to us and of course the wider environment.”