Sunday, 5 May 2019

British Gas Feedin Tariff Payment Delays

Having previously sung the praises of British Gas and their speedy payment of FITs it's very frustrating that they are now seriously slow to pay out. I'm not alone as there are other people making the same complaint about British Gas payment delays on the Money Saving Expert forums.

I'm now looking at options to move my FIT payments to another provider which I guess might be what British Gas are hoping their customers will do.

Monday, 15 April 2019

ESE Solar Free Health Check scam

We received a letter today marked "Important" from a company called ESE/ESE Consultants. 

"Our records indicate you haven't received your free health check and service on your system and your warranty may be due to expire. Please contact our team to validate your warranty and book your health check"

This company is nothing to do with the installer of our system and I'm guessing is on a sales pitch to sell some sort of warranty. Quite what a health check on non maintenance panels will involve I don't know. Maybe I'm being too sceptical but the letter doesn't fill me with confidence. I'd hope if it was a genuine company it wouldn't be inducing some form of fault that then requires their assistance.

It also seems to suggest replacing inverters that are 5 years old with a new one with a 20 year warranty. Why replace a fully working inverter with a brand new one at a cost of £1000 or more. 

From another call SE Services want £20 a month to extend your warranty THEN you qualify for the free health check and annual maintenance. In other words, money for old rope!
They're based in Liverpool but ESE wouldn't reveal who exactly they'd use to conduct these checks and services around the country.

Its all a deceptive marketing and a scam.

It also looks like ESE are now using the name British Trading Solar Association. Maybe the power of Google meant they were finding too many people searching for their old name.

More information here

British Trading Solar Association Solar Free Health Check scam
British Trading Solar Association Solar Free Health Check scam
The decision of the RECC panel on ESE Solar is below:

The Member shall cease forthwith sending all direct marketing letters regarding ‘free health checks’. 4. For the next 12 months, starting on the day of this determination, the Member shall submit to the RECC Executive for review all direct marketing material including (but not limited to) unsolicited letters, telesales scripts, and social media posts that it intends to distribute to the public or use to promote its services, and shall make any alterations the RECC Executive proposes to ensure that the material is compliant, prior to distribution or publication. 5. The Member shall agree with the RECC Executive on the design of a questionnaire to be given to every customer onsite in order to independently assess compliance with the Code. This questionnaire shall be used for 12 months and must allow the Executive to identify which service the customer has received from the Member (e.g., a free health check, purchase of maintenance contract, purchase of additional products). On completion of the questionnaires, customers shall be asked to submit them directly to RECC and the questionnaire should include a request for consent from the customer to be further contacted by RECC. 6. Subject to data protection compliance, the Member will provide RECC with customer contact details on request to allow the Executive to make ad hoc contact with individual customers to investigate Code compliance. 7. The Member must identify a member of staff accountable for compliance with the Code and other applicable consumer legislation. This member of staff must be in place within 28 days and the RECC Executive notified of their name and contact details.

Monday, 4 March 2019

Sunny Feb 2019 Beats Solar Records

In the UK Feb 2019 was one of the hottest and sunniest February months on record and this has also been reflected in the generation numbers for our solar panels. You can see the comparison here

The previous highest electricity generated in Feb was 190kWh so the 226kWh for Feb 2019 was nearly 20% higher than the previous maximum. Unlike 2018 this year was warm and dry with no snow which gave some good daily generation but no records for the daily production, probably because it was too warm. Cold sunny winter days are best for getting the most solar power generated.

Feb 2019 Sunny Solar Records
Feb 2019 Sunny Solar Records

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Best January Solar Day

This year we've had the best January day for our solar panels with one day production of 10.2kWh of electricity.

As panels age they will degrade over time and reduce by approximately 0.5% per year. Interestingly so far there has been more variation due to weather than from the panels reducing.

Best January Solar Day
Best January Solar Day

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

FIT Rates April 2019 Onwards

The latest inflation figures have just been published which set the level of the Feed In Tariff rates from April 2019 onwards. The common inflation measure released is the CPI (Consumer Price Inflation) which is 2.2% for December but this isn't the one that is used to calculate FIT payments

The inflation measure used is RPI which is more difficult to find as it's not so commonly used any more. If you go to the ONS website you can see the latest value for RPI for December which is 2.7%

Using the existing FIT rate of 52.75p and applying the RPI of 2.7% gives a new rate of 54.17p
for the Feed in Tariff rate as of April 2019-2020. The level for export will increase to 3.82p

There are various other FIT rates that apply depending on the date that your solar panels were commissioned. They will also increase by 2.7% as the RPI rate for December 2018.

FIT Rates April 2019 Onwards
FIT Rates April 2019 Onwards

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Project Solar - Good Priced Solar Panel Quote Or Rip off Prices?

Lots of people on the Moneysaving Expert forums are reporting quotes from a company called Project Solar that appear to be extortionate. The price of solar panels has come down massively since we got ours installed in 2011. The FIT rate has also dropped since then so it's not all positive news!

Project Solar Good Priced Quote?
Project Solar Good Priced Quote?

Our panels cost £8999 for 14 panels rated at 3kWp but an equivalent now would be under £5000, suggestions are that you're now looking at approx £1000 per 1kWp of generation capacity so approx £3000. Forum members have reported paying £6000 for 5.1kWp of panels installed.

Project Solar appear to work in the same sort of way as doubling glazing companies of old - quote a high price and then drop it a bit to get business. The problem is that dropping a bit still isn't competitive and I'm always very wary of companies that are trying to rip you off with their original quotes.

In addition to the price one tactic that I've found several suppliers use is to suggest that inflation for electricity will be very high over the next 25 years because prices rose significantly over the last couple of years. In reality if prices rose by anything like the amount that some quotes are claiming then we'd be paying 75% of our wages on electricity by 2030!

Monday, 12 November 2018

October 2018 Record breaking Solar Month

October 2018 has been another record breaking month for our solar panels with 274kWh generated, significantly higher than the previous best of 235 kWh back in 2016 and 73kWh more than last year.

It's actually been quite a year of extremes with March and April 2018 coming in well under previous years but May and June and October now being much higher.

Solar panel record generation 2018
Solar panel record generation 2018