Making a Choice

Once you have 3 or 4 quotes from PV suppliers/installers, how do you decide which one to choose? The following questions may help you decide.

1. Has the company installed PV systems in Seychelles? 

A supplier with experience in installing grid-connected systems is valuable, particularly if you are installing a PV system on Mahé, Praslin or La Digue, as they will already know the PUC requirements and approval/commissioning procedures.  

If you are installing an off-gird or stand-alone systems, then you should choose a supplier with the relevant experience as grid-independent systems are more technically complex than grid-tied systems.

NOTE: grid- connected systems benefit from the net metring system and a legible under the PC rebate scheme.

Number of PV installation based on type of connection (updated 2014) 

2. How many years of experience does the company have installing PV systems?

A contractor who has been in business a long time probably understands how to work with customers and to compete effectively with other firms.

Annual trend in PV  installation capacity (2009 - 2014)

3. Is the company properly licensed?

PV systems should be installed by an appropriately licensed contractor. This usually means that either the installer or a subcontractor has an electrical contractor's license. PUC can tell you whether a contractor has a valid electrician's license.

SEC has a list of endorsed PV supplier/installers.

4. Does the company have any pending or active judgments or liens against it?

Due diligence is recommended for any project that requires a contractor. PUC or SEC can advise you if there are any issues with a particular PV supplier/installer or you can get a reference from their clients.

5. How do you choose among competing bids?

We strongly recommend that you get more than one quote. However remember to compare similar quotes. For example, a quote for a system mounted on the ground is usually very different from a rooftop system. 

Quotes should clearly state the maximum generating capacity of the system (measured in watts, W, or kilowatts, kW) and include the specifications of the component parts so you can not only compare panel efficiency but decide if you prefer a system that allows you to monitor your power production via your android phone.

You can request an estimate of the amount of energy that the system will produce on an annual basis (measured in kilowatt-hours, kWh) but remember that the amount of energy depends on the amount of sunlight, which varies by location and time of year so it’s unlikely the contractor will quote a specific figure.

Quotes should also include the total cost of getting the PV system up and running, that is hardware, shipping, installation, connection to the grid and warranty etc.

Your warranty is a very important factor for evaluating bids. Most PV supplier/installers provide customers with a 25 year product warranty on PV panels and 5 to 10 year product warranty on the inverter from the manufacturer. No warranty is provided for installation but some companies offer after-care service.

6. Is the lowest price the “best deal”?

You generally get what you pay for. Companies that plan to stay in business must charge enough for their products and services to cover their costs, plus a fair profit margin. Therefore, price should not be the only consideration, and quality should probably rank high on the list.

7. What should you know about warranties?

Warranties are key to ensuring that your PV system will be repaired if something should malfunction during the warranty period. A full warranty should cover all parts and labour, including the cost of removing any defective component, shipping it to the manufacturer, and reinstalling the component after it is repaired or replaced. A limited warranty may only cover the component parts.

Be sure you know who is responsible for honouring the various warranties associated with your system - the installer, the dealer or the manufacturer. The supplier should disclose the warranty responsibility of each party.

IMPORTANT: A warranty does not guarantee that the company will remain in business).