Cotswold Home Solar
Welcome to Cotswold Home Solar. If you’re considering solar panels (photovoltaic, or PV panels) and/or electricity storage batteries for your home, we want to help you to understand your options, and to find a reliable installer and a fair price.
What is Cotswold Home Solar?
At Cotswold District Council we know that buying solar panels and/or storage batteries can have benefits for your pocket and for the planet. But we also know it’s a big financial commitment, and many people want reliable, trustworthy advice before they make the jump. We also want to see more rooftop solar in the district – we’ve declared a climate emergency, and this is an example of practical action we can take to support householders, which reduces climate-damaging carbon emissions in the district.
We’ve created Cotswold Home Solar to do just that. It’s a scheme designed to make it as easy as possible for residents to be well informed, understand and explore their options, minimise their risks, and help them achieve a reliable, cost-effective installation.
Why has the council partnered with MakeMyHouseGreen?
The council has chosen MakeMyHouseGreen as our delivery partner for Cotswold Home Solar because of their proven PV partnerships with other well-known organisations such as Nationwide Building Society, Wickes and Santander.
MakeMyHouseGreen has a market-leading solar calculator that homeowners can use to find out how many solar panels their roof can accommodate and get highly accurate estimates of the price and savings on their bills that are specific to their home. It uses technology to deliver a smooth, quality installation for its customers.
MakeMyHouseGreen has a well-designed web platform that homeowners can use to find out how many solar panels their house can accommodate, get an estimated installation price, and track the process from initial estimate to completed installation. You can also monitor performance over time.
MakeMyHouseGreen uses very carefully vetted installers based nearby. The council has confirmed that MakeMyHouseGreen uses only good quality equipment with good warranties.
Because the council has negotiated the Cotswold Home Solar scheme for the whole district, householders will benefit from a £250 discount on MakeMyHouseGreen’s usual installation cost.
One of the most common objections to solar panels is that ‘they look unsightly’. MakeMyHouseGreen uses ‘all black’ panels which are less intrusive visually and blend in much better than older style panels.
What do I need to consider when deciding to buy solar PV or battery storage for my house?
If you can, talk to any neighbours or friends who have PV or batteries installed, and find out about their experience. If you get a sales call, always resist any ‘pressure selling’ – for example don’t be taken in by a salesperson claiming that a special discount is ‘for today only’ and pushing you to sign up quickly. Take your time and do your research. We recommend the following good advice providers:
- MoneySavingExpert’s advice on solar panels is generally kept up to date and is objective.
- The Centre for Sustainable Energy in Bristol is a charity with a long history of good advice on all energy matters. Their solar PV and battery advice is generally up-to-date, and well worth a read. You will also find advice on home battery storage.
- The Energy Saving Trust has been providing objective advice on home energy, on behalf of the government, for some decades. Their solar panel guidance is well presented on their website along with their energy storage advice.
How can I choose a good contractor?
There are lots of companies installing solar panels and batteries – some are well-run with a good reputation, and others less so. It can be hard to tell the good from the bad. The following things might help:
- We would always recommend getting more than one quotation, whether or not you choose to use the council’s partner, MakeMyHouseGreen.
- When you’re comparing quotations, always look at the warranty periods offered for the equipment, and the length of the installer guarantee, i.e. to fix any problems that might arise from the installation itself.
- Always look for customer feedback through reputable review sites such as Trustpilot.
- Any installer should be registered with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), meaning they have to conform to strict quality standards in the installation.
- You should also make sure that any installer you might use is registered with a reputable consumer code that covers PV – typical ones are the Home Insulation and Energy Systems Quality Assured Contractors Scheme (HIES), the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC) and the government’s Trustmark scheme.
If I do want to use the Cotswold Home Solar scheme, what do I do next?
Cotswold Home Solar has been created to offer some simple advice and dos and don’ts for home solar, and then to invite district residents, with no pressure selling and no obligation, to get a price estimate from MakeMyHouseGreen.
We recommend that you get other estimates too, and compare those to the estimate you get from MakeMyHouseGreen, making sure you’re comparing like with like including customer satisfaction scores and warranty periods
- To start the process go to MakeMyHouseGreen, where you will find a page co-branded with the council, and follow the steps from there.
- If you decide to go ahead, you’ll sign a contract with MakeMyHouseGreen. The council is not involved in any contractual arrangement between you and MakeMyHouseGreen, and you’ll be able to track the whole process through their app.
- Your £250 discount will be subtracted from your estimate automatically.
For each successful installation, the council will be paid £50 by MakeMyHouseGreen, to help offset the costs of creating and running the scheme.