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Beware the villians mis-selling SolarEdge upgrades!

Solaredge power optimiser mounted behind solar panel

Solaredge power optimiser
mounted behind solar panel

Every industry has its villains and the solar PV industry is no different. Many have been pushing voltage optimisers and all sorts of other nonsense products for years, and now their salesmen are overstating the benefits of SolarEdge in order to grab a bit more of your hard-earned cash.

As a SolarEdge Advanced Installer we install many SolarEdge systems, both for new installations and for upgrades to existing systems. The benefits of improved yields, high reliability, unsurpassed monitoring, safety and long warranties are clear.

However, in the case of upgrades to existing systems it can be quite an additional investment over and above the initial cost of the solar PV system. Scaffolding will usually be required and as it’s not a new installation the full 20% VAT rate is applicable. It is important therefore to ensure that you understand what you are getting for your money.

SolarEdge themselves state that the additional yield from a SolarEdge system compared to a standard inverter is between 2% and 25%. Only if your solar panels are badly shaded can an additional 25% yield be had by retro-fitting SolarEdge optimisers and inverter.

However, on unshaded systems the increase in yield is likely to be under 5%. If your motivation for upgrading to SolarEdge is for the monitoring or long warranty then fair enough, but if you’ve been told that your unshaded panels will generate much more electricity then the salesman is lying to you and does not deserve your business.

We’re regularly hearing from people who have been approached by unscrupulous companies offering SolarEdge upgrades who are massively overstating the benefits and also charging ridiculous money. For guidance on the cost, we can retrofit SolarEdge optimisers to a typical 16-panel 4kW system from around £2300 including scaffolding and VAT.

Naturally for complicated scaffolding or more than 16 panels this cost may increase, but a recent caller told us that a certain Southport-based company had quoted £4500 to upgrade their unshaded solar PV system to SolarEdge and that it would boost their yields by 25%. Total bull and a complete rip-off.

The golden rule here is that companies that buy your contact details and then phone you up out of the blue are all villains, regardless of what particular products they are peddling. Next time, tell them where to go!