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Top Tips for Solar featuring Which? Magazine’s Emily Seymour

Top Tips For Solar

We recently watched a programme on Channel 5 called ‘Solar Panels: Are They Really Worth It’ and it struck up some fascinating internal discussions and ‘nods of approval’ from the team. It was great to see that solar got national recognition with a programme that knew what it was talking about.

Your house will benefit from solar panels. Let’s be clear about that and address it first. They can help you save up to 90% on your energy bills, increase the value of your home and help you tackle climate change daily. To further reduce your expenses, you may even sell any extra solar energy you generate back to the grid if you have battery storage for your solar panels, which will enable you to use solar power at night. This is the message we try to get across to our customers and the documentation of that on Channel 5 was a brilliant watch.

So, what did Channel 5 and their programme get right? Nearly all of it. The programme delved into the world of solar and home improvement systems. It talked about the good, the bad and the ugly and what you should look for when you start your solar journey.

Solar isn’t right for every household; we know this and are constantly (sorry!) turning people away from solar for several reasons. These could be anything from not being able to afford solar, to their house not being suitable or property even facing the wrong way. At Spark, we won’t install solar where it doesn’t benefit the customer. The system has to be safe, viable and have a real-world return on investment for our customers. This is why we have an assessment of you, your situation, and your property before we get the contracts going.

The programme talked about the negative factors of solar, one being the initial cost. We know this is a barrier and can seem like a lot of money for people, but again, we look into people’s affordability factor before we go ahead. We also have our partnership with HomeTree Finance that allows a low-cost entry point to solar from only £75 a month. Again, with all of Sparks’ promises, this can only be obtained if suitable for you and your situation.

Channel 5’s programme follows the Manning family (2 adults and 2 children), living in a 3-bedroom semi-detached house in Kent. They opted for having 10 solar panels, battery storage and an Electric Vehicle (EV) charger installed at around £10,000. The programme followed their journey while also discussing solar farms, larger solar panel installations, the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), Air Source Heat Pumps and ECO4 government scheme to help lower-income families improve their house EPC rating.

Top Solar Tips from Which? Magazine’s Emily Seymour

One of the most interesting aspects of the programme was Emily Seymour from Which? Magazine giving her ‘top tips’ when looking into solar. We completely agree with them.

Top Tip #1 – Find out how much energy you need
At Spark, we do exactly this. In our home assessment, we’ll get into the nitty gritty with you. We ask for your current energy bills so we can look at exactly how much energy you currently use. We then pair this with our recommended system for you and showcase how much energy you can generate. Then it’s some quick maths and then show you how much you can save in your home! You might want a smaller system; you might want a bigger system – we’ll show you all the options available to you.

Top Tip #2 – Consider investing in batteries
Batteries and solar go hand in hand. Adding a battery to your solar system means you can store the energy you generate. This means you don’t have to use the energy you generate in real-time and can store your energy for when you need it most. Excess energy generated isn’t wasted though, you can still sell back to the grid through the SEG with or without a battery system, a battery just means you supply yourself with as much energy as you can store first! The programme says ‘consider investing in batteries’ but we believe that it’s a huge waste of potential savings if you don’t get one installed!

Top Tip #3 – Don’t get ripped off
Quite a simple tip – get a few quotes from other suppliers. While we think Spark are the best thing since solar panels (see what we did there?), we might not be the absolute cheapest quote you can find but we are competitive in that aspect. What we do have though is accreditations which are hugely important in this relatively new sector. We also offer unmatched guarantees of service, manufacturing and warranties of all our products giving you peace of mind throughout your solar journey.

There are a lot of ‘cowboys’ in any line of home improvement products and it’s essential that you do your research into any company you use. Such sites as Trustpilot are a good place to start. As you’d expect, our installers are Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), NAPIT, Quality Mark Protected, and Renewable Energy Customer Code (RECC) registered which gives you further guarantees. You can find out more about our accreditations here.

Top Tip #4 – If you can, pay cash
While paying cash is ideal, it’s not suitable for everyone as paying for a solar system in cash, upfront can be a struggle for even the most money-smart people. There are financing options available with Spark but there are additional costs involved as you’d expect. The benefits of financing, however, are that it makes it affordable, and others further guarantees during your payment period. We don’t accept financing for people who can’t afford it and we’d only ever accept if it was the right option for a customer! If you can pay cash, upfront, that is the most beneficial option. We do, however, have that previously mentioned partnership with Hometree for those who can’t pay cash!

We fully stand by Emily’s tips, but we stand even further behind our promises which fall in line with them. If you don’t know what the Spark promises are, then just visit to find out more!