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Why Do Solar Quotes Vary So Much In Price?

Solar panel quotes vary significantly from company to company and as a customer it can be frustrating trying to understand why the prices you’ve been give vary so much.

With years of experience of installating solar panels in Northumberland we’re going to do our best to explain why there can sometimes be thousands of pounds difference in your solar installation quotes.

Here are the top things to check for…

1: Type of Solar Panels & Installation

Different solar panels have varying efficiencies and costs. Here’s a breakdown:

Type Efficiency Advantages Disadvantages
Monocrystalline ~20% High efficiency, long lifespan Expensive
Polycrystalline ~15% Lower cost Lower efficiency, sensitive to heat
Thin-Film (Amorphous Silicon) ~7-10% Flexible, low cost Shorter lifespan, larger space needed
Concentrated PV (CVP) ~41% High efficiency Requires solar tracker and cooling

Black vs. Blue Panels: black panels, usually monocrystalline, are more efficient and aesthetically pleasing but cost more. Blue panels, typically polycrystalline, are less efficient and cheaper.

In Roof vs. On Roof: on roof panels are mounted on the existing roof structure. This is less invasive and generally cheaper. In roof panels are integrated into the roof itself, offering a sleek appearance but at a higher cost due to increased labor and materials.

Bird Protection: very few companies include bird protection (mesh or netting to prevent birds from nesting under the panels) in their quotes (we do because you damn well need it!). This can add to the cost, but it’s essential for long-term maintenance and efficiency.

Type of Installation: complex installations or roof types may require scaffolding, roof reinforcements, or special equipment, especially for hard-to-reach roofs. Quotes can vary widely based on these needs. Companies might not properly account for these factors if a satellite survey hasn’t been conducted, leading to quote variations – always ask if your choosen installer fully understands their access requirements!

2: System Size & Configuration

System Sizing

The number of panels needed depends on your energy consumption. A quote with fewer panels might be cheaper initially but could lead to higher costs in the long run due to insufficient energy production. Ensuring you have enough panels to meet your usage needs is crucial. Companies might offer varying quotes based on their assessment of your energy requirements and roof space.
Battery Storage

Battery Storage

Including battery storage in a solar system can significantly increase installation costs but also offers substantial savings in the long term. A system with battery storage allows you to store excess energy for use during non-sunny periods, reducing reliance on the grid and enhancing energy independence. Quotes can vary widely based on whether battery storage is included or excluded.

3: Installation Complexity & Size

Companies price the installation element differently based on their understanding of the location. While a satellite survey provides a basic overview, an in-person survey allows for a more accurate assessment. Factors such as roof pitch, height, and accessibility can impact labor costs. Quotes can vary if a company has not accurately factored in these complexities.

Plus the larger the system, the higher the installation cost. This is straightforward: more panels and equipment require more labor and time to install, leading to higher quotes.

Structural modifications to older or weaker roofs are sometimes required. Have these been factoreded into your quote as it can change the price significantly (if they haven’t and are needed you’ll be getting hit with a nasty surprise down the line).

4: Installer Business Model

National vs. Local Installers

National installers often have higher overhead costs due to larger operations, marketing expenses, and more extensive customer service departments. They might offer standardized pricing and broader warranties but can be more expensive.

Local companies typically have lower overheads and can offer more personalized service. Their pricing can be more competitive as a result and you’ll often get better aftercare as they care more about each customer – we certainly do that’s for sure.

Labor Rates

The wages paid to installation staff can vary greatly between companies. National companies might have standardized pay rates and benefits, leading to higher costs. Local companies might pay less or hire subcontractors, impacting the overall quote.

Need for Work

A company’s current workload also affects pricing. Less busy companies might offer lower prices to attract business, but this isn’t always beneficial. High-quality, busy companies often charge more because they’re in demand for their reliability and expertise.

If you’re not happy with your current solar panel quote then why not use the prevous link and see how our prices compare?