All about customer service

Dependable people, job well done!

“Installing solar panels was the last thing on our minds – it simply wasn’t on the agenda.”

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When John and Alyson first moved to their hillside home in Upper Llandwrog, near Caernarfon, there were so many other tasks that needed doing in their new home that energy savings weren’t on top of their list. Ironically, however, it was through those other jobs that they found the company that would install the solar photovoltaics (PV) system that will now save them money – just as energy costs go up once again.

Here’s how it all came about.

Word of mouth

Back in 2010, John and Alyson moved to their windy and isolated 19th century farmhouse a few miles outside Caernarfon, close to the mountainous slopes of Snowdonia.

With friends in the area, they soon settled in to the community. And found their new home needed “some work done”, as John tactfully puts it. That included reviewing the electrical systems, and adding new electrical to the garage. Word-of-mouth recommendations led to local companies, including Gemini Solar, which offers high-efficiency gas heating and biomass technology systems in addition to solar photovoltaics (PV) installations.

With the necessary modernisation work well in hand, John and Alyson’s thoughts turned to their friends’ comments about the savings available through solar energy.

“Our friends kept on saying how wonderful it was to save money on the energy bills,” says Alyson. “So we thought we’d better check it out. We talked to Dave, and Alan McCarthy from Gemini Solar came out to see us. He went over all the financial details, and spent time telling us how it would work and be set up. Then we decided to go ahead.”


No need for other quotations

“People have asked us why we didn’t get any other quotations,” comments John. “It was simple really – we’d already seen the quality of Dave’s work, and knew that Gemini Solar could be relied on to do the job well. Our friends had an installation done by them too, and were very pleased with the results. And, we’d already checked out the average cost, so we knew they were in the right price range, too.”

DSC_0564John adds that when Alan came out to the house, he was very aware of the local environmental challenges, including the high winds and potential for heavy snow.

“He also mentioned the pine tree out the front might block some of the sunlight from the array,” he adds. “So we’ve had a tree surgeon in to lop off some of the branches. We were also advised that total removal of the tree would provide the full benefit of the installation. It had really spread very wide, and become quite dense.”

John an Alyson gave Alan the 20% deposit, and arranged the installation date.


A few weeks later…

It did take a few weeks to get it all done,” says John. “However, that was because other tradesmen were also here, including a plumber and a carpenter, which meant some unavoidable delays.”

“The scaffolding was actually up for about six weeks altogether,” adds Alyson. “Again, that was a separate contractor, so we understood that Gemini Solar wasn’t responsible for that, and at least it was all up ready for the installation.”

PV modules were mounted on the south-facing roof, and power from the array was then fed to an inverter that converts the power to mains electricity, which can either be used to power the home, or can be exported to the grid for profit.

Alyson comments that there was a lot of work inside too, such as installing the boxes and a new cylinder in the loft, and taking care of any subsequent problems, such as air in the pipes.

“There weDSC_0573re some small snags along the way,” adds John. “For example, the loft hatch had to be enlarged so the cylinder could be put up there. That turned out to be a good thing, because we’ve now got a really handy new hatch cover with a ladder!”




“The tradesmen also gave us information about using the appliances, and Gemini Solar gave us two booklets – one for the PV and one for the solar panels,” says Alyson.


Ongoing awareness

John and Alyson’s investment on their home’s south-facing roof will give them an estimated return of approximately £1150 the first year, with subsequent years’ increases linked to inflation. With recent increases in electricity rates, that’s a welcome amount.

“We’re now really mindful of the electricity we use,” says Alyson. “I tend to use just one appliance at a time – instead of running the dishwasher, washing machine and something else all at the same time!”

John comments, “We tend to watch the monitor, and make sure we use only the energy we produce, so that we don’t start drawing off the grid.”

He adds, “It’s only been three months since we got it installed, and we’re already seeing a difference. Obviously, we don’t know yet how the bills will work out, but we know it’s got to be better than the interest we’d get if we left the money in the bank!”

Under the government’s Feed-In Tariff (FiT)¹, John and Alyson will get payments for all the electricity they generate, and may even get a bonus payment if they generate more than they consume.

“We’re really pleased that we followed our friends’ advice,” concludes John. “Not only for the energy savings, but also because we’ve found a company that is dependable, conscientious and simply does the job right.”








¹ The Feed in Tariff (FiT) is a government-backed scheme allowing households and businesses to benefit financially from generating their own electricity from renewable or low-carbon sources such as solar photovoltaic (PV). The scheme gives you the opportunity to be paid for the electricity you generate, which you use yourself, and any surplus electricity is feed back into the grid. You will receive a bonus payment if you generate more than you use. The FiT is subject to periodic change in line with government policy.

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