RED Electrical - BEWARE! NOT ALL SOLAR PV INSTALLERS ARE THE SAME!
BEWARE! - Not all solar PV installers are the same!
In January 2011 we were asked to survey a solar PV installation where the original contractor had been ordered to leave the site due to the extensive damage that they had caused to the customer's roof. The photographs shown here were taken afterwards.
Rogue solar PV installer's roof damage
The customer, Mr W, had obtained quotes from several MCS accredited contractors for having a solar PV system installed, amongst which was the contractor in question. Their salesperson had claimed that they could have the installation done in around 8 hours, and that they had extensive design and installation experience. Impressed by their claims, Mr W signed the contract and paid the required deposit.
The day of installation arrived and the installers arrived promptly at the Mr W's home. His suspicion was aroused by the fact that they had arrived in a rented van, and when they unloaded their tools it appeared that they were all brand new. He was further peturbed after the solar PV equipment was unpacked. Expecting the installers to immediately begin planning the installation, Mr W watched whilst instead they picked through the equipment, apparently unsure what to to with it.
Eventually the installers began to fit the roof anchors. Whilst it is not unexpected that the odd broken tile will need to be replaced as part of a solar PV installation, Mr W noticed that the installers arrived on site the following mornings with lots of new tiles. He was also aware that they had removed the ridge tiles, and on one day found them repointing the ridge.
Uneasy from his observations, Mr W began keeping a close eye on the installation and the final straw came when he discovered the installers fitting the solar panels over broken tiles. He immediately ordered the installers to leave his premises and began to inspect his roof. Although not a roofing expert, his findings were that the installation was of a very poor quality, and certainly well below the standard expected of any tradesmen. He began to search the internet to find an installer that would be able to repair the damage and complete the installation, and quickly discovered this website. Completely disillusioned with the MCS accrediation after his experiences, he was reassured by our Case Studies, and immedately called us. The business owner, Stuart, made arrangements to visit his home.
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Upon arrival at the site, the poor standard of the installation was immediately apparent. Key observations were:
- Many of the tiles were damaged, including many of the ones that were clearly new. The roof anchors were lifting the tiles above them because the tiles had not been modified to accommodate the thickness of the anchors.
- Roof anchors were installed beneath the top row of tiles. High winds cause movement in the array frame, which will result in some movement in the tiles above the anchors. This would disturb the ridge tiles.
- The cables between the solar panels and the inverter emerged from between the roof tiles. No protection against crushing or abrasion was afforded to the cables, which carry high voltages in normal use.
- One of the roof tiles, damaged by being crushed between two incorrectly installed roof anchors, had been patched with bathroom silicon. This was one of the tiles that Mr W caught the installers covering with a solar panel, indicating that they had no intention of replacing it.
- The roofing felt next to several of the anchors was badly damaged. This was covered over with tiles and no attempt was made to replace the damaged felt.
- The anchors themselves were fastened to the roof spars using 50mm long, number 8 head wood screws. These are completely inadequate for the purpose and the installers had actually used washers because the screw heads were smaller than the mounting holes.
Rectifying the Damage
Due to the extensive damage caused to the roofing felt, it was necessary to have it all replaced. This was done and then the customer placed an order for a 3.6kW system to be installed by RED Electrical. Click here to view their case study.
Don't be a Victim of the Cowboys!
This customer thought they were choosing a reputable company, as the company has all the relevant registrations (MCS and REAL) required to certify the installation and claim the Feed in Tariff.
Clearly these registrations are, on their own, NO GUARANTEE OF QUALITY.
Choose your installer carefully! Click here to view our helpful guide on what to look out for.