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Tony Reid

Tony Reid
County Waterford

Can you give some information about your home?

It’s a three-bed, detached house in an estate. I have spent a lot of time in the house as I work from home since Covid.

What was the reason you decided to look into sustainable energy options? And how was it affecting you?

I had been looking at it for four or five years, but then in the last year I really felt it was something I needed to do. This was for three reasons, firstly, fossil fuels are probably going to go up in cost and maybe even become harder to use, you can see that with coal for instance. The second reason is green energy, and becoming more conscious about it and the use of solar energy. Then lastly, as I become closer to retirement, I wanted to reduce my utility costs.

Were you knowledgeable about solar energy, had you done much research?

Yes, I did a lot of research and investigation into what was involved. I did find that there was a lot of conflicting and confusing information. I found that when I went looking for quotes they varied so much in price that it was hard to measure and compare them to the different specifications.

When looking at your different solar providers, what made you choose Caldor Solar?

The answer to that is very simple, Roy. I had a few guys call here and had a couple of Zoom meetings and got some quotes, but when Roy came down here he explained and went through all the ins and outs of it in a way the other guys hadn’t done. I got the feeling the other guys were just selling it to me, Roy was selling it to me but he was also explaining why and he wasn’t overselling it. To be honest, straightaway I said I wasn’t going to go anywhere else.

After discussing your different options with the Caldor team, what system did you decide to move ahead with?

I have a slightly southeast/northwest facing house, so what I got is a 5.5kw system with 18 panels and a battery, 11 panels on one side and 7 on the other. In fact, no other provider was going to put panels on the offside roof except Caldor and Roy said I would generate something from it for a part of the year. If I didn’t have them there it would have made a huge difference to my system.

How smooth did you find the installation process with Caldor?

The guys arrived exactly at the time they said they would, went about their business and then were gone in the afternoon. There was no messing about and they did a neat job. I had got a 300 litre joul immersion that had been installed poorly, and one of the lads actually highlighted that to me, so it just shows how much they were paying attention to the detail. Seamless is the best way to describe it, if you want guys to come in and do work they’re the type of guys you want.

Once your system was installed, what results did you start seeing?

With the app it was easy to see what was happening, you could instantly observe what you were generating. Then obviously we also noticed the significant reduction in the electricity bill.

Considering the previous question, what results would you like to see in the next 5 to 10 years?

I suppose I’m just planning on whatever tweaks I need to make to the system, adding an electric car charger for example might mean I’ll need a bigger battery. It will also be nice to see that the system has paid for itself in the next few years.

When looking back, is there anything you would do differently?

No, I wouldn’t charge anything or do anything differently.

What would you say to anyone thinking about getting solar?

The key thing I would say is be careful. The reason I say that is because I had two guys come up and do a survey from Cork, they gave a quote and it was cheap but you have to remember if it’s too good to be true it probably is. Anyway, these two just disappeared overnight, and if I had paid them a deposit it would have been gone. So one piece of advice I’d give to people is to go with an established company. Also, it helps to be guided by people as well. Roy’s background is engineering, all the other lads that came to me were just salesmen, so he understood the system and was able to explain it to me.

Liam Sweeney

Liam Sweeney
County Wicklow

Can you give some information about your home?

We’re a family of five in a detached bungalow that we recently renovated to make it as energy efficient as possible.

What was the reason you decided to look into sustainable energy options? And how was it affecting you

We put in underfloor heating with a heat pump so the full house is only run on electricity, so finding the cheapest and most efficient electricity was top of my priority list.

Were you knowledgeable about solar energy, had you done much research?

I did a lot of research. That was due to the fact that we had the heat pump which caused a few complications and I wanted to find out if the power diverter for the water was of any use to us. I wanted to look at all the different options and different costs, I was a bit of an anorak about it.

When looking at your different solar providers, what made you choose Caldor?

I was very impressed with the depth of knowledge and commitment to the company and product that you were providing. Eoin came to the house and he obviously knew his stuff but he was also invested in it and so enthusiastic about what he was doing. I compared a couple of other providers, but Eoin came out and did the site visit when he said he would, so at that stage I stopped looking.

After discussing your different options with the Caldor team, what system did you decide to move ahead with?

We went ahead with the twelve panel system, we didn’t get the power diverter for water because of our heat pump but instead went for a battery.

How smooth did you find the installation process with Caldor?

Very smooth, it was seamless. Caldor did it all. The guys who came to install were great, they all had their own systems installed and were so enthusiastic to talk about what they had done and what they were using. It gave me great confidence, the whole process was only a day. Caldor looked after the BER and took the responsibility for the grant payment too.

Once your system was installed, what results did you start seeing?

I had been tracking the electricity closely and I couldn’t believe it, even though it was a particularly mild summer, it halved my costs instantly. Obviously in the winter time you won’t be getting the same results, but we’ve still seen a significant saving.

Considering the previous question, what results would you like to see in the next 5 to 10 years?

I’m hoping for the new government electricity buy back scheme to come into effect so my costs will be even less.

When looking back, is there anything you would do differently?

No nothing really, maybe get another battery but no I wouldn’t change anything.

What would you say to anyone thinking about getting solar?

I would say do it in a heartbeat. It makes ethical sense, it saves money in the long run plus you have the warm fuzzy feeling you’re doing something for the environment. We are into our second year, our electricity costs are down. We’ve had no problems with the system but you guys are still independently following up to check on us, that’s impressive.

Henrique Peinado

Henrique Peinado
County Clare

Can you give some information about your home?

It is a four bedroom house that was built in 2003 and runs on a gas heating system. There are four people living here, myself, my wife and our two kids.

What was the reason you decided to look into sustainable energy options? And how was it affecting you

The main reason was I wanted to reduce my house’s carbon footprint, and then also I wanted to reduce my costs. These were the two main driving factors.

Were you knowledgeable about solar energy, had you done much research?

I did a little bit of research but Roy’s input was crucial. Throughout all the research it was Roy that gave me the best understanding of everything, like how to get the maximum amount of energy in the winter time.

When looking at your different solar providers, what made you choose Caldor?

It was the assurance that Roy gave me. During the site survey he explained why and what he was doing, this was definitely when I said wow these guys really know they’re stuff and are not just trying to sell me something. I had looked around at other providers and they said they could only fit up to 6 or 7 panels but then Roy came and said he could fit up to 17, that made me wonder why there was such a difference, but Roy explained how he could do it.

After discussing your different options with the Caldor team, what system did you decide to move ahead with?

I have a 17 panel system that is generating around 6.1kw of energy with a 3.5kw battery.

How smooth did you find the installation process with Caldor?

The installation was very good. The guys came here early in the morning and had the whole system ready to go by the following morning. There was no mess, I noticed the guys took a lot of care when bringing things up through the house into the attic.

Once your system was installed, what results did you start seeing?

When our first electricity bill came in, it was reduced by half. Now in the summertime I think I’m only paying 30% of what I used to pay.

Considering the previous question, what results would you like to see in the next 5 to 10 years?

Well to continue saving money really. I’m not afraid of using electricity anymore, because I used to be very cautious, so I see myself even becoming more comfortable.

When looking back, is there anything you would do differently?

No, I’m very happy. I think whenI get my second battery my system will be completed as I will be fully self-sufficient during the summer time.

What would you say to anyone thinking about getting solar?

Don’t think twice. You are saving money and you’re saving the environment, it’s a win-win in all aspects. Yes it can be initially expensive but if you get the right system from the start you will see the benefits, for example if I had gone with the other guys and the fewer panels I wouldn’t be seeing the same return. Although Caldor may have been more expensive, it’s about the long term and I’m so happy with the results.

Malachy Mulhall

Malachy Mulhall
County Offaly

Can you give some information about your home?

There are four of us living here, it’s a two story, detached house.

What was the reason you decided to look into sustainable energy options? And how was it affecting you

The reason was not hot water during the summer months, it would save me from lighting a pellet burner.

Were you knowledgeable about solar energy, had you done much research?

I was seeing them on other people’s houses, and I would think to myself, well he is no fool and he put them up. So the research was basically done for me, it was straightforward.

When looking at your different solar providers, what made you choose Caldor?

I actually rang one other company and he wanted to put them down on the ground and that wasn’t happening. The main reason I went with Caldor was because Eoin is a young enough man and he’s big into this, but he’ll be around in 20 years if you have a problem with them.

After discussing your different options with the Caldor team, what system did you decide to move ahead with?

I got a 6000 watts system with one battery.

How smooth did you find the installation process with Caldor?

It was perfect, they came and did it in 5 or 6 hours and then they were done. They worked very hard.

Once your system was installed, what results did you start seeing?

Well I noticed it instantly because I didn’t have to turn on the pellet burner for the hot water.

Considering the previous question, what results would you like to see in the next 5 to 10 years?

I know that the panels I have on my roof are going to last a long time, there is no point waiting another 10 years because the sooner you put them up the sooner they pay for themselves.

When looking back, is there anything you would do differently?

I’m building a new house at the moment, and when I go to get my PV system I don’t know if I will bother with a battery just because of the cost.

What would you say to anyone thinking about getting solar?

Batteries are expensive but they will come down in price eventually and they are going to be a critical element of your solar system in the future.

Kilian Kiernan

Kilian Keirnan
County Sligo

Can you give some information about your home?

There are four of us living in the house and it’s a bungalow situated in a rural area.

What was the reason you decided to look into sustainable energy options? And how was it affecting you

I was planning on the house going all electric and I was looking at my different options of how we could reduce our costs as I’m coming up to retirement.

Were you knowledgeable about solar energy, had you done much research?

I did, I spoke to a lot of people and I went to the SEAI exhibition in Dublin. There I spoke to all the solar providers and I actually found them very poor when it came to their knowledge of domestic systems. They were more focused on industrial commercial systems, if it was for anything else I wouldn’t have even gone for it but I wasn’t giving up because I knew it’s potential.

When looking at your different solar providers, what made you choose Caldor?

Firstly, yous sent somebody out to me quickly and secondly, I found that yous were able to speak my language. I wasn’t being bamboozled by technology, it was very straightforward. It was about knowing my house and knowing what I could and couldn’t do and I was able to understand everything.

After discussing your different options with the Caldor team, what system did you decide to move ahead with?

We decided on a 14 panel system with a battery. The thought behind the battery is that we would eventually get our money back from sending the supply back to the ESB when this scheme comes in. At the moment, even on dull days we are pumping a lot back into the grid.

How smooth did you find the installation process with Caldor?

Oh god it was fantastic, the boys were in and out in no time. No hassle whatsoever, they were absolutely brilliant and explained everything to me.

Once your system was installed, what results did you start seeing?

Within the first month we could see the difference with the electricity but also, with the app, it was actually teaching me what was going on in my house. There was one day where we had the whole house running, the washing machine was going, the drier was going and the dishwasher was running and we didn’t use a drop of electricity, the whole lot was powered by the solar panels.

Considering the previous question, what results would you like to see in the next 5 to 10 years?

I suppose that the whole thing continues to be as efficient as it is now and that we have made our money back. I also think maybe I will add a few more panels too. At the moment we are heating the immersion separately so I would like to do something about that.

When looking back, is there anything you would do differently?

Like I said, the immersion isn’t connected and the boys were advising me at the time to connect it up so I probably should have done that.

What would you say to anyone thinking about getting solar?

Talk to yourselves, that’s exactly what I would say. Because I’ve been out there and I’ve spoken to loads of people and I didn’t find them helpful. In fact, they were actually discouraging me from getting it, but I have to say that I have found yous absolutely fantastic.

Michelle Nolan

Michelle Nolan
County Dublin

Can you give some information about your home?

It’s a terraced house and there’s two of us in the home.

What was the reason you decided to look into sustainable energy options? And how was it affecting you

The reason was climate change and the environment, that’s my background so I would be aware of energy use.

Were you knowledgeable about solar energy, had you done much research?

I spoke to a couple of people about it and then also did my own research on Google.

When looking at your different solar providers, what made you choose Caldor?

I liked Roy from the beginning and the conversations we had. He was quite knowledgeable and I liked how he was straightforward and honest about the whole thing. I had emailed a few other companies but none of them came back to me.

After discussing your different options with the Caldor team, what system did you decide to move ahead with?

I went for an 8 panel system with no battery.

How smooth did you find the installation process with Caldor?

When they came it was great, the lads were super efficient and very polite. They were in and out and there was no hassle.

Once your system was installed, what results did you start seeing?

I could see it on the app and straightaway I had hot water so that was great.

Considering the previous question, what results would you like to see in the next 5 to 10 years?

I obviously want to get my investment back, but the important thing for me is not necessarily financial, it’s environmental and reducing my carbon footprint.

When looking back, is there anything you would do differently?

No, there’s nothing really I would change.

What would you say to anyone thinking about getting solar?

I think it’s great, I’m even going on about it at work and showing people my generation on the app. I think because I’m particularly enthusiastic about our carbon footprint and the environment I think it’s super positive and I hope other people feel the same way.

Mandy O’Callaghan

Mandy O’Callaghan
County Wexford

Can you give some information about your home?

It’s a detached house that was built in 1998 and there are six people living in it, 3 adults and 3 teenagers. 

What was the reason you decided to look into sustainable energy options? And how was it affecting you initially?

I saw an ad on Facebook and looked into it and that was how the whole thing grew. The potential cost savings were definitely the main reason.

Were you knowledgeable about solar energy, had you done much research? 

No, not before I started properly looking into it.

When looking at your different solar providers, what made you choose Caldor Solar? 

The price was competitive for the number of panels we needed including a battery. The area for placement of panels was important to us and Caldor ensured that even though the panels would not be south facing, that they would still generate enough power in the day to run the house and heat the water when we had sufficient sunlight.  

After discussing your different options with the Caldor team, what system did you decide to move ahead with? 

We went for a 14-panel system with a battery.

How smooth did you find the installation process with Caldor?

Very smooth, they installed the system within one day. There was a slight issue with the WiFi initially but that was more to do with the distance from the house where the operating system was installed.  The guys were very clean with no work left for us to do when the left us that evening. 

Once your system was installed, what results did you start seeing? 

Having constant hot water was important for us so I suppose that was the first result we noticed. 

Considering the previous question, what results would you like to see in the next 5 to 10 years? 

I would like to see the same continued results really as I’m very happy with the results so far. I’d like to start getting credit for all the energy going back to the grid when we are not home to use it,  so hopefully that scheme will come in soon.

When looking back, is there anything you would do differently?

No. We are very happy with the system, although we might consider getting a second battery in the future as we find that because we have the panels east facing, we don’t generally generate power after 4pm, depending on the time of the year, and a second battery might see us using the solar power generated later into the evening.  

What would you say to anyone thinking about getting solar?

We are very happy with our decision. It will take a few years for the system to pay for itself but once it has, the money invested will give us savings as we get older.  I would say if you have the money, absolutely go for it -e specially if you’re younger as you have plenty of time to enjoy the savings after it pays for itself. Also, it has definitely made us more energy conscious. Before we installed the solar panels, we were not fully aware of how much energy we were using but now I can check what the house is using through an App that shows us power being generated and when and how much  is being used etc at any time of the day or night!

Pat Payne

Pat Payne
County Kildare

Can you give some information about your home?

It’s a family home that I designed myself and we are based out in the country. There are usually two people in the house, my partner and myself.

What was the reason you decided to look into sustainable energy options? And how was it affecting you

The reason was that I wanted to make my house less reliant on carbon energy and reduce my carbon usage. I use 3kw of power every hour because all the equipment I have running on electricity, so I wanted to reduce my electricity costs also.

Were you knowledgeable about solar energy, had you done much research?

I had done research into what I potentially could get out of it, recognising that I may not get much out of it in the winter time, that it would be basically eight months of the year where I would be able to cover my energy usage and maybe with a little bit of surplus. So I had done enough research to know what I should expect to get.

When looking at your different solar providers, what made you choose Caldor?

I think the main reason why I chose Caldor was because you never oversold the system. Roy was really good, he said this is what it is, this is what you’ll get from it and he never overpushed it. So I had an instinct that yous were trustworthy and reliable and yous were kind of authentic with it.

After discussing your different options with the Caldor team, what system did you decide to move ahead with?

It’s a 5kw ground mounted system with 18 panels, that was enough to cover my needs. My son said well if your overproducing isn’t that a good thing, so he suggested going for a bit more productive rather than under, on the basis that at least I’ll be playing a part in the reduction of carbon.

How smooth did you find the installation process with Caldor?

Absolutely top class, the guys were really good. I am very impressed with your electricians, I gave them all a tip. The installation took one day.

Once your system was installed, what results did you start seeing?

Well effectively what happened was, I had a tree that was blocking the sunlight at around 2 and 3 o’clock so my results didn’t appear to be that good initially. But when I cut the tree down my results improved significantly. I know this year, I’m really generating a lot of energy during the day, so it has met my expectations.

Considering the previous question, what results would you like to see in the next 5 to 10 years?

Well I worked out that in the summertime, I am returning 66% of the energy I’m generating back to the grid free of charge, so I’m waiting for the sell-back scheme to kick in. Because I’m 70, I’m getting €35 a month contribution towards my ESB bill, my ESB bill for April/May was €33 when it would normally be €100, so what I’m hoping to do is generate enough energy that will bring the bill down to zero. I want it that just the social welfare payment will cover it and not have to pay anything to the ESB at all.

When looking back, is there anything you would do differently?

At 4pm and 5pm due to the trees and shrubs in my garden I am not getting much light so I might have put one or two of the panels on the shed roof where the inverter is.

What would you say to anyone thinking about getting solar?

To be realistic about your expectations and from that pick a system that will suit you. Don’t get greedy and focus on making a profit because then you may end up spending too much, your aim is to reduce your costs.

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