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National vs local: how to find a solar panel installer

You’ve done your research, had the surveys and even got a few quotes. You think you’re ready to push the button – you just need to decide who’s right for the job. Do you go with a national installer or a local business? There are pros and cons with both national vs local solar panel installers and this guide covers everything you need to know to help make the right decision for you.

Local solar panel installers

Your local solar panel installers are likely a small firm that only covers a small area. It makes sense for them to focus on local homeowners. Long travel time can quickly add costs to the service. Local firms tend to have more word-of-mouth business, so you’ll have extra reassurance about the quality of their work. You’ve also got the option to visit previous customers and have a look at the finished product.

Local installers may have limited options with the panels and kit they install. You may not get the exact panels you want. If you’ve done your research then you’ll have a good idea of the kind of technology you want based on your energy usage. You’ll also have an idea about what goes best with your property.

Often local businesses use sub-contractors to fulfil jobs which require bigger teams, like solar panel installations. Sometimes, this can be problematic as the subcontractor is new to the ‘company’ standard and can sometimes do things their own ‘way’. This can lead to inconsistency, and varying service levels and qualifications.

Cash flow?

Small companies have restricted cash flows – often small businesses require you to put in a downpayment so they can order parts. Or they require you to pay in full, upfront. It can be uncomfortable to part with any money while the job remains incomplete.

They may also pass on the burden of hidden extras like organising and paying for scaffolding, or applying for the G98/99 (so you can eventually export your surplus if you have a battery).

Local installers often have long lead times. This means that if you’re planning other work on your home, such as a loft conversion or extension, you will need to carefully plan your project around when local suppliers can do the job.

Can a local electrician fit my solar panels?

Not exactly. Solar panel installers often start out as electricians but need specialist training to install solar panels and battery systems. So while your local sparky might add this as a service if they’ve had some training, it’s unlikely they’ll install solar panels regularly. 

Make sure that whoever installs your panels are certified by the Microgeneration Certificate Scheme (MCS) – this accreditation is the gold standard in solar installation and without it, you may not be able to export your surplus energy (where you’re paid for the energy you generate through the Smart Export Guarantee.)

Pros and cons of local solar panel installers

Pros and cons of local solar panel installers

National solar panel installers

Getting a national company to install your solar panels is likely to give you more options on the kind of panels you want. As bigger companies, they have access to a wider range as they will cover lots of different types of properties across the country. Therefore can be an attractive option when looking at national vs local solar panel installers.

Likewise, your wait for an installation date may be much shorter with a national company as they have more capacity. Many national installers use local sub-contractors to deliver the work. Therefore, they have a more flexible workforce. The downside of this is that you cannot always guarantee the kind of installation experience you will get.

National companies are also more likely to have longer warranties as they are better protected against changes in the economy. This means they are less likely to go bust than smaller, local firms.

However, you don’t always get the same customer service from a national company. They may not know the local area and you’re not as likely to see their previous work in person.

Similar to smaller companies, large companies are more likely to use subcontractors to carry out the work (we know that Octopus, Sunsave and E-on all use sub-contractors – i.e. local tradesmen not directly employed by the big brands). This leads to the same disadvantages as above – inconsistent workmanship, varying levels of service, knowledge and often installations carried out based on the installer’s standard or way of doing things.

Are national solar panel installers cheaper?

Interestingly, the bigger the company doesn’t always mean a cheaper quote. Sometimes the opposite is true. While there should be the economy of scale, when it comes to solar panel installation, it seems that customers often overpay with a bigger name installer. You should always shop around and get a few quotes.

Pros and cons of national solar panel installers

A combination of both local and national solar panel installers

That’s where Glowb comes in. Our mission is to give all customers the very best experience from the get-go.

We are trusted. This is huge. HUGE. It’s one of our values – and we live and breathe this value across our business. We only employ true (in-house) experts, only use the best quality products, and have every badge under the sun (MCS, HIES, Which?).

You are protected. We’re a team of solar industry veterans and we’ve built the solar company we wanted for our own homes (and many of us already have a Glowb install at home). Collectively we have over 40 years of solar experience, almost as long as it’s been around. On top of the MCS accreditation, we offer the consumer protection HIES (an insurance-backed guarantee).  Glowb also holds the Trusted Trader status from Which? Both of these schemes are in place for extra reassurance and protection should anything ever go wrong.

We only install quality products. Our panels and kit are market-leading. We’ve tested most of the brands out there. As experts in our field, we will only make the best recommendations for you. For customers with a strong view of what they want, we can also offer flexibility. The panels carry a 30-year product warranty.

We front all the costs until you’re happy. We don’t ask for a penny until after your installation when you’re 100% happy. You don’t need to pay a deposit and we don’t charge for our surveys.

We won’t ever ‘sell’ to you – we know people hate being sold to – it’s the worst. Our promise is to give you the most consultative advice for your home and how you live. We offer a ‘no hard sell’ and ‘no upsell’ guarantee, too.

We only use our own installers. Your experience matters so much to us.  We know that we can give you the highest service when we use our own teams to work on your home. As we don’t rely on sub-contractors, we have total visibility and control of our resources.

We make things stress-free. From ordering the parts, organising and paying for scaffolding (and also making sure it’s removed after the installation), and applying for your G98/99 – we have everything covered. What you’re given in your quote includes absolutely everything you can think of. We’ll also spend time with you making sure you feel confident about your new system.  Plus, we’ll show you the ropes to get set up when we leave.

We offer finance. If you’re interested in finance, we can help there too.  We have our own FCA license. If it’s something you’re interested in using, we can arrange finance to make the upfront costs more manageable. We will never ‘sell’ this to you – but simply knowing that it’s there can be helpful. With an attractive interest rate or even the option to ‘buy now pay later’, let us know that you’re interested and we’ll share more details.

It means that from quote to installation, you only deal with the Glowb team.

Equally, as a national company, we can offer a greater choice of panels for your home. This means all that research into the best panels available isn’t going to waste. Our experts work with you to design the right solution for your property type and energy use.

Pros and cons of choosing Glowb

National vs local solar panel installers

The most important decision you can make is the right installer for your home. Whether you decide to go with a national, local or a company that is the best of both worlds, getting the best solar installation for your home will be beneficial for years to come. 

Book a free home survey with your local Glowb surveyor today!

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  • What your neighbours** are saying about us

    **ok fine, they may not live on your road, but they’re useful testimonials regardless!

    5/5

    “Glowb have been great and we are delighted with the finished product. The whole team (all the trades people) have been super helpful and friendly. They have also built a plan and design to suit our house which most solar companies won’t do. We are delighted with the end product”.

    Jeremy, London

    5/5

    “An amazing solar installation company. We were absolutely delighted by our whole experience with Glowb. We had received a number of other quotations from other suppliers but Glowb stood out. We are now producing an enormous amount of energy and pretty much self-sufficient most of the time. The whole system seems to be working even better than we had hoped. We would highly recommend anybody considering a solar installation to contact Glowb”.

    Clive, Staffordshire

    5/5

    “Glowb designed a solution for our home and usage that seemed more carefully thought out than other companies we got quotes from. The team were friendly and courteous and kept us in the loop, and we always felt that the guys on-site and those back at base were all determined to deliver the best outcome. It wasn’t the simplest installation, but everybody’s attitude, professionalism and expertise made it as stress-free for us as it could possibly have been”.

    Joel, Bedfordshire

    5/5

    “Glowb have been great and we are delighted with the finished product. The whole team (all the trades people) have been super helpful and friendly. They have also built a plan and design to suit our house which most solar companies won’t do. We are delighted with the end product”.

    5/5

    “An amazing solar installation company. We were absolutely delighted by our whole experience with Glowb. We had received a number of other quotations from other suppliers but Glowb stood out. We are now producing an enormous amount of energy and pretty much self-sufficient most of the time. The whole system seems to be working even better than we had hoped. We would highly recommend anybody considering a solar installation to contact Glowb”.

    5/5

    “Glowb designed a solution for our home and usage that seemed more carefully thought out than other companies we got quotes from. The team were friendly and courteous and kept us in the loop, and we always felt that the guys on-site and those back at base were all determined to deliver the best outcome. It wasn’t the simplest installation, but everybody’s attitude, professionalism and expertise made it as stress-free for us as it could possibly have been”.

    Jeremy, London

    Clive, Staffordshire

    Joel, Bedfordshire