Not all Sunshine for the UK Solar Panel Industry

UK consumer organisation Which? has heavily criticised solar thermal sellers for exaggerating the potential savings as well as using high pressure sales techniques.

Via an undercover investigation, Which? discovered that 10 out of 14 installers had exaggerated their claims, with two companies, Everest and Ideal Solar Energy, potentially breaking UK law by offering major discounts for immediate sales.

Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith stated: “Most of the firms in our investigation behaved like true cowboys – they promised huge savings that bore no relation to reality, and some really piled pressure on the homeowner to sign up immediately or risk losing a one off ‘special offer’.”

During 2009 the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) received a thousand complaints about solar panel companies, and according to Which? this is far too high for an industry that has only installed 100,000 systems.

“[The solar industry] needs to clean up its act, and if it won’t, the OFT and the government will have to step in,” said Vicary-Smith.

The full investigations findings will be handed over to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and relevant trade organisations.

The companies named and criticised by Which? defended their sales approach, although Everest did comment:

“We’re disappointed that our representative failed to use the sales support documentation provided and made claims he knew to be false.”

Wednesday 28th April 2010


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