Kilmarnock woman is left out of pocket after installation of faulty solar panel heating system

Martha Speirs with her useless solar panels and original paperwork from the installation company

A Kilmarnock woman has had her fingers burnt in a solar panels ‘scandal’.

Retired Martha Speirs, of Mure Avenue, says she is now thousands of pounds out of pocket and instead of having an energy efficient green energy heating system, she has been left with a very expensive ‘roof decoration’.

By her own admission it’s a case of tough luck, as Martha has been told by the Energy Ombudsman, Trading Standards, and liquidators that absolutely nothing can be done to sort out the mess she’s been landed with.

She said this week: “I had solar panels installed in 2013 by a company based in Paisley.

“I had wanted such a system for years and initially was happy with the work.

“But when trying to submit a meter reading in May, 2015, I discovered that the system was not working.

“I tried to contact the company via the contact details from relevant paperwork, but wasn’t able to do so.

“When I checked on the internet I discovered they had gone into liquidation a year earlier.”

Martha says she then contacted a local company dealing in the provision and installation of solar panels and they ‘very kindly’ came to investigate the problem with the system installed at her home.

“The problem is with the inverter,” she said.

“As the system was still under warranty, the local guys were able to source a replacement inverter from the manufacturer, which they installed.

“But the system still wouldn’t work.

“I now have a system that has not been functioning for a year and therefore for that time have had none of the expected financial returns.”

To make matters worse, as the original company who sold Martha the solar panels etc is no longer in existence, and there are no assets available for distribution to creditors, it looks like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.

She added: “Given the poor interest on savings I had, I decided to pay using cash and did not take out borrowing or credit to finance the purchase.

“Had I taken out credit to finance the panels I would have had some protection.

“However, I have been told that I would also have been protected had I taken out specific insurance or another protection policy.

“Since I did not, there is nothing that can be done – so unless I am able to get the system functioning again, I will be left with an extremely expensive roof decoration.

“I’d like to warn anyone else considering solar panels or suchlike what can happen.

“I feel that, while there are many reputable and trustworthy firms in existence, there should be more information publicised and generally brought to the attention of anyone considering installing any solar or other green energy systems about taking out additional insurance/protection to cover themselves in the event of equipment proving faulty or the dissolution of the installation company.”