Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What would the Solar Power man say?

I just finished my first year of Solar Power. How did I do? Here is the letter I wrote to the company i purchased them from:

Dear Sir,
I e-mailed 6 months into my contract to voice concerns that my system wasn't producing anywhere near the figures quoted me. At that time I had a reply requesting that I wait for the first year to complete and then come back to you.
I just filled in my 4th quarterly FiT figure, thus making 1 complete year.

When I signed the contract a few things were explained to me.
First that it was a contract, legally binding for both parties and that if the figures didn't meet the analysis (though this was practically impossible) you would make up the difference.
Secondly, it was drummed into me over and over that the figures were so conservative, due to being based on sunlight rather than daylight hours that I would have my loan paid off realistically in 5-7 years rather than the 10 on the contract.

As said, I have just filled out my 4th FiT figure which came to 2705 KW Hours.
With the reimbursement figures of 43p & .03p this is what I calculate:
2705 x .43p = £1163.15  
2705 / 2 = 1352.5 x .03 = £40.575
£1163.15 + £40.575 = £1203.725

The 'extremely conservative' figures stated on my analysis are: 4197, over by 1492

My payments this year on the loan are £185.38 x 12 = £2224.56
So I am currently out by £1020.835
My monthly Electricity payments are £41 per month 12 x £41 = £492
So, even if the solar panels managed to wipe out all my electricity usage (which of course it hasn't) I would still be under by £528

So, the big question is what is wrong? Why is it under producing to not even meet the 'extremely conservative' figures on my analysis?
What happens now? Do I expect a payment from you to cover the shortfall?
If this is showing a shortfall in the first year, which is supposed to be the optimal time for the panels, what happens for the remainder of their lifetime?

I look forward to hearing from you with a realistic solution.

I waited a week, got no reply and started to get the details of my local Citizens Advice Bureau. That same day I had a reply with a final settlement from the company giving me a cheque of just over £2700 to take my loan period down. To my estimation this amount will roughly pay for 4 years under production, or to look at it another way, just over 1 year full payment of my loan. The amount on the cheque was apparently worked out in co-operation with thr Micro-regeneration programme and a regulatory body called REAL.

Am I satisfied?
I was surprised at the no quibble payment given me. It means I payed about 11K for a 2.88KhW 16 Bosch panel system. I still have the prospect of 8 years payments left that won't be met fully by the Feed in Tarrif reimbursement but remember there is another 16 years after that where it's all profit.
I was not impressed with the sales tactics, and the overemphasis on paying my loan off early. The sales guys for the company I was with are apparently the technical bods too who work out the solar hours from your local weather station rather than the generalised government figures.

If you too are finding the same thing with the figures not matching up I would send a message. Keep track of all the figures in a spreadsheet, when you go to them be armed with accurate figures.

1 comment:

  1. Man, I hate seeing and hearing about people getting ripped off by so-called solar company experts. If you weren't so far across the pond, I would do everything I could do to help you. It's outfits (and people) like this that gives solar energy a bad name. I hope, wish and pray the best for you! Drop us a line, and let us know how this turns out for you!

    Jim Gressel
    SolarVolt Power
    Yukon, OK USA