Skip to content
Home » Blog » The top 5 things you should consider before buying solar & battery storage.

The top 5 things you should consider before buying solar & battery storage.

Investing in solar and battery storage for your home brings long-lasting benefits. But it is a big decision, and navigating all the options and installers can be overwhelming.

We’ve compiled the top five factors you should consider, to help you make an informed decision about solar and battery storage systems. From selecting the right installer to understanding the nuances of solar panels, inverters, batteries, and aftercare, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive into the essential considerations that will ensure you maximise your investment in renewable energy.

1 – The Installer 

Picking the right installer is the most important thing you can do. You could invest in the best equipment on the market, but if it’s poorly installed, you won’t get the results you want. Or in the worst case, left with costly roof repairs and an effectively useless system.

Do check their accreditations, as a minimum, they should be;

  • HIES or RECC registered to sell solar
  • MCS registered to install solar
  • NAPIT or NICEIC-approved electricians

If anyone asks for deposits or survey fees before visiting your property, avoid them.

Social media is flooded with installers. Some will be promising grants (that don’t usually exist), a form of special government incentive or a discounted package price. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Personally, we don’t buy into packaged prices, they’re usually filled with hidden costs. Every home and energy usage is different, so we believe in building you the best system, not the cheapest.

We have put together a checklist you can print out to help you when comparing installers, download your copy here.

Solar is a purchase you should only make once or twice in a lifetime (unless you move home); so choosing the right installer really is essential.

2 – The Solar Panels

Panels are panels, right? Don’t they all do the same thing?

All MCS-approved solar panels meet the industry standards (Classed as Tier 1). This means they will work in a primary function and are safe to install. But, this is not an indicator of performance or longevity.

Polycrystalline vs Mono-crystalline Solar Panels

This sales comparison is still used. But almost every solar panel sold now is mono-crystalline as standard. If you encounter a salesperson trying to tell you they are “cutting-edge”, they aren’t.

P-Type vs N-Type Mono-crystalline

P-type panels are a much older technology and last around half the lifetime (yes, half!) compared to the N-types. They are much cheaper and inferior products often found in your cheap package deals.

N-type panels are the more modern technology. They have extra manufacturing steps to prevent light-induced degradation. N-types are also significantly more efficient at producing energy.

N-type panels are only around £20 – 30 more per panel; over the lifetime, they will create much better ROI. 

All Black vs Black framed solar panels

This is another area of caution. All black panels are what they say they are: black glass, frame and black back sheet (everything you can see is black).

These are not the same as “black framed”. These panels have very visible white lines on the front. If you’re not bothered about the aesthetics, then black frames are a good way to save on cost. We don’t want you to be disappointed if you were expecting an all-black look.

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?

Determining the number of solar panels required for your home is a crucial step in the decision-making process. Generally, the more electricity your household consumes, the more panels you’ll need. When building a system we consider the below key factors:

  1. size of your home / electricity usage
  2. available roof space
  3. panel efficiency & output
  4. sunlight exposure & any shading
  5. budget & goals

The primary consideration is your available roof space, to dictate the maximum number of panels. The efficiency of the solar panels you choose also influences the number needed. Higher efficiency panels can generate more electricity per square meter, potentially reducing the overall number of panels required to meet your energy needs.

Homes with less sunlight exposure, whether due to roof orientation or shading from trees, buildings, or other obstructions, may require optimisers or more panels to meet the desired generation.

While a larger solar panel system may offer greater energy independence, it may also come with a higher upfront cost. A common misconception is that bigger is better, and that isn’t always the case. Especially if your goal is ROI and minimal payback periods. We offer a free introductory call, where we simply look at your electricity usage and your property and advise you on the right sized system for you.

3 – The Inverter

The inverter is the brain of the operation. Yet, not all inverters are made equal, and nothing works without the inverter, so choose wisely.

The three key things to consider when comparing inverters are:

  1. Warranty – Can you claim on it if something goes wrong and your system is down?
  2. Technology & Reliability – what capabilities does your inverter have? Is there an app to track your generation & performance?
  3. Size – your inverter determines the maximum kWh that can be utilised. So even if you have panels capable of generating 5kW every hour, but you only have a 3kW inverter, you will be limited.

We highly recommend GivEnergy. The 12-year warranty is market-leading, and the company manufactures its own products. Lots of brands white-label the products, which can cause issues with warranties. GivEnergy is compatible with autonomous energy management, scheduling for cheap night tariffs, and the GivBack scheme.

The Powerwall 3 from Tesla Energy, launching in 2024, has a battery & inverter in one, which has weather forecasting and uses AI to manage your energy autonomously.

4 – The Battery

Like the inverter, you need to make sure the technologies are compatible, and the warranty is good. Batteries by nature have a complex chemical set up, and there are some extra things to consider.

We won’t get too technical, but the industry as a whole is moving toward Lithium Ion batteries. If you’re offered a cheaper battery, it could be a Lithium/Cobalt Phosphate. Cobalt is mined in politically unstable countries and widely linked to child labour.

Cycle limits

This is how many times your battery can charge and discharge. Every battery has a cycle limit which works alongside the warranty. The average house rungs two cycles per day. So, if a battery has a 10-year warranty but is limited by 1000 cycles, then the warranty is only two years.

Capacity & Depth of discharge (DoD)

Capacity = the maximum kW the battery can hold e.g. 10kW

Depth of Discharge (DoD) = how much of the battery capacity can be used e.g. 70%

So if you had a battery with a 10kWh capacity and a 70% DoD, you can only use 7kW. Bigger is not always better, you would be better opting for a smaller but more efficient battery. Consider how much you want to get out of your battery, and make sure you will have that with the DoD.

GivEnergy DoD is 80% in their 5.2kW capacity and 100% in their 9.5kW capacity.

Powerwall 2 DoD is 100%, with 13.kW capacity.

Scalability & Expansion

Your energy usage is likely to change. Make sure you are future-proofing your system to protect your investment.

Consider how easily your system can be expanded. Could you add another battery on if you wanted to? Most of the battery systems are “stackable” meaning you can keep adding to them as required.

 5 – Aftercare

Insurance-backed Guarantee

Not all installers offer an insurance-backed guarantee. Especially if they are focussed on low cost, it’s an easy place to shave off a few ££s. An insurance-backed guarantee protects you in the event your installer goes out of business. In the unlikely event the company ceases to trade, you can still make a claim under the terms of the original guarantee.

The installer’s workforce

This might sound obvious, but make sure the company who are selling to you, employs the installation team. There are a lot of aggregate sale companies out there who will, quote up your system and then sell off the work to the lowest bidder.

If you have an issue with your system, you need to be able to call the company to return and fix the problem. Ask the company about installing your system, and whether how they manage warranty issues.


Always check out the company’s online reviews; take the time to read into any bad press they have had. If you are considering going ahead, ask them for references you can speak with and go over and visit.

In conclusion, the journey towards solar and battery storage requires careful consideration and attention to detail. By considering factors such as choosing a reputable installer, selecting high-quality components like N-type solar panels and reliable inverters such as GivEnergy or Powerwall by Tesla Energy, and understanding the intricacies of battery technology, you can maximise the benefits of your investment. Moreover, don’t overlook the importance of aftercare, including insurance-backed warranties and a responsive installation team. By following these guidelines, you’ll make a sustainable choice for your home and pave the way for a brighter, greener future.