Confidence boost for solar sector with new repair scheme
A new solar trade agreement has been launched which allows member companies of the Solar Trade Association (STA) to repair and maintain damaged installations that were constructed by other companies.
With solar systems believed to have a lifetime of around 30 years, the Solar Repair Agreement aims to give customers certainty over any potential repairs that installations may need during this time period.
Chris Roberts, technical specialist at the Solar Trade Association said: “There is a problem in the solar sector where faulty systems don’t get fixed when installers stop trading. Many installers naturally avoid other companies work, especially when they suspect a bad quality install.
“Our new repair agreement hopes to put an end to this by clearly setting out what the customer should expect from a repair, as well as what the installer is responsible for during the work. We hope this will lead to improved confidence in the secondary maintenance and repair market.”
The Solar Repair Agreement provides a more solid foundation for repairing arrays at the heart of an otherwise complex sector. Many traders are apparently unwilling to take on another installer’s work due to a fear of being found liable for hidden faults. The Agreement waivers any liability that an installer has on an installation other than the repair process.
This new Agreement comes during a particularly intricate time for the solar industry. A surge of government policy changes has left the industry in a volatile state, with 70% of solar installers admitting to financial concerns over the soon-to-be implemented Feed-in-Tariff cuts.
With domestic solar tariffs set to be cut by 64% on 8 February, the STA says it has launched this Agreement to allow customers to have repairs made, even if the installers have gone into administration - such as the Mark Group, which lost 1,000 jobs in the process.
This is the latest in a line of initiatives launched by the STA in an attempt to restore confidence in the sector. In October last year, the STA announced plans to 'save the solar industry' by adding £1 on to consumer bills, which could create £95m over the next three years.
Feed-in tariff: Timeline of events