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Can I trust ‘EDF partner’ offering solar panel deal?

I have received unsolicited calls from a company alleging that it is representing EDF and offering to visit my home and assess if I qualify for solar energy with a government grant. However I rang EDF’s English-speaking helpline and the assistant did not recognise the firm. It has called again – is there a list of EDF partner companies? B.A.

20 December 2017
By Oliver Rowland

The fact that the firm is repeatedly cold-calling you is a bad sign, especially as unscrupulous companies scamming people over solar panel deals is a recognised problem - so much so that the government’s consumer protection agency DGCCRF, among others, has issued warnings.

An EDF spokesman said it and its partners never cold call people making offers. “If you are contacted like this, by people talking about grants, it can’t be us,” he said. “You should take care because it’s often a scam.”

The spokesman said a better way to find local firms which can do this type of work and which are genuine EDF partners (called partenaires solutions d’habitat d’EDF) is at travaux.edf.fr.

He said: “You can find a professional to do whatever work you want for energy savings and they are rated by other users.”

When it comes to solar panels, until recently most people instal­led them with a view to selling the electricity back to the grid; however there has been increasing interest in autoconsommation (producing electricity for your own use). This has become more financially interesting, especially for residents in the south of France, as the price of electricity for the consumer has gone up.

This year the government did in fact introduce state grants to help towards installing panels for this purpose. There are no grants for installing panels aimed at selling the energy produced but the rates offered for this can make it worthwhile.

There are various scenarios for autoconsommation. If your panels cannot provide for all your needs, you can produce part of your supply and buy the rest. If you make a surplus you can sell it. There is also a possibility of installing batteries to store energy when it is sunny to use later on.

Autoconsommation offers which include the possibility of receiving a grant include Mon Soleil & Moi by EDF subsidiary EDF ENR (edfenr.com) or Engie’s My Power (http://tinyurl.com/engie-my-power).

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