Thousands of homes are at risk of falling victim to dubious solar panel schemes that have increased by 50 percent over the last year, Action Fraud data reveals.
Uncertainty about high energy prices, combined with a desire to reduce carbon emissions, means that many UK homeowners are considering installing solar panels as an option.
But this has attracted some shady operators offering deals that aren’t as good as they seem.
Currently, the Government estimates that 230,000 installations will be carried out this year, increasing the number of solar panels on roofs from 1.24 million to 1.47 million.
On the rise: Thousands of homes are at risk of falling victim to deceptive solar panel schemes which have increased by 50% over the past year.
A typical household using 4000kWh of energy per year will save £550 on bills in its first year by investing in solar, panels or a potential saving of £15,500 over a 25 year period.
Now, smart energy-saving app Loop is urging homeowners looking for greener power supplies for their home this summer to beware of deceptive solar deals that sound too good to be true.
This is what you need to consider if you want to install solar panels.
1. Websites that offer too-good-to-be-true deals
Many companies advertise online bid plans and grants for fast solar panel installation. If these offers seem too good to be true, they probably are.
If you’re considering solar panels, it’s important to make sure you do your research when it comes to reputable websites and companies.
2. Spam Emails Offering Free or Low-Price Panels
Emails offering cheap solar panels or appearing to be backed by a government scheme may also be scams, taking you to a seemingly official website offering free or cheap installation.
These incredible deals rarely exist, so approach them with caution to avoid wasting time.
3. Free online solar panel ads
These offers are not necessarily scams, but they are often deceptive. If an ad says ‘free’ or ‘cheap’ solar panels, be sure to do your research to find out what it really means before taking the next step.
4. Deceptive online ads offering free solar panel checks
Solar panels need to be checked every few years to see if they are performing as expected.
This needs to be arranged with the company that installed the panels directly, so avoid misleading ads offering free health checks; they are likely trying to sell you something you don’t need.
5. Spam emails claiming your existing panels or investors need to be changed
If you already have solar panels installed, you can check that they are producing electricity by consulting your generation meter.
Solar panels are usually covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, so avoid accepting help from an unknown source and contact the company that installed the panels directly if you have any concerns.
What is the correct way to install solar panels?
The charity Energy Saving Trust says: ‘It’s worth getting quotes from at least three installers to compare.
‘Avoid installers with heavy-handed sales techniques, including pressure to register on the day or high prices with deep discounts for signing on the spot. The cheapest installer may not necessarily be the best one for you.’
A spokesperson for trade body UK Solar says: ‘Eliminating the very small number of cowboy operations in the sector is one of the priorities of Solar Energy UK and MCS, the standards body for the sector.
‘With energy prices the way they are, the demand for solar power has skyrocketed. But this has attracted some unwanted operators.
‘For installations of battery storage systems, solar thermal energy and solar photovoltaic energy, the MCS certification is absolutely vital. Membership of Solar Energy UK provides additional security beyond MCS certification.’
They added that ‘no one in their right mind should approach any installer who is not certified by MCS’ as it means a guarantee of safe and quality work.
Loop energy expert Dr. Steve Buckley says, “While the cost of installing solar panels is one of the biggest deciding factors for homeowners, it’s easy to fall into one of the many online traps that offer them at a bargain price or even for free.”
“A quick Google of free solar panel schematics will throw up a number of businesses looking for target customers hoping to save money and reduce their carbon footprint.”
“Businesses may try to lure you in with greater energy savings after solar panel installation, and while savings depend on factors such as location, your home, and the number of panels installed, it’s important to understand the true impact solar installation can have on a home’s energy bills.
“While there are many prominent solar panel installers, including trusted Loop partners, there are many companies online who are misleading customers with schemes that are simply too good to be true.”
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