Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels harness the power of the sun by converting solar irradiation (sunlight) into clean, renewable electricity. With electricity prices at record levels and set to rise significantly in the future, there has never been a better time to invest in a PV system.
Although this is the optimal orientation, systems facing East and West still generate substantial amounts of electricity and can produce a return on investment (ROI) of 12.5%.
PV systems generate electricity throughout the year as they do not require direct sunlight to work. This means that they will even operate in diffuse sunlight on overcast days.
Solar panels make an excellent financial investment because not only can you use any of the electricity that you generate for free, the government backed Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) also pays you a premium for all the electricity that you generate and export (index linked and tax free). These payments and savings will easily pay the system cost and a profit over the lifetime of the scheme.
Reasons to install a PV system
Get paid for generating your own electricity whether you use it on not with the FIT scheme
Receive an export payment for selling unused electricity back to the national grid
FIT scheme is index linked, tax free and government backed for 20 years
Reduce your electricity bills by using any electricity that you generate yourself
Protect yourself from rising electricity costs
Reduce your CO² emissions and carbon footprint
Typical annual benefit of a 4KWp system is £800*
How Solar PV Works
Solar panels are usually attached to a stainless steel and aluminium mounting system, which is secured directly to the rafters in a roof. Alternatively they can be integrated into the roof in place of the roof tiles, surrounded by a flashing (similar to a Velux window) or on a ground mounted system in a field.
When the sun shines, the panels generate a direct current (DC) which flows through a box called an inverter that converts the electricity into alternating current (AC). The AC flows from the inverter into the fuse box and is immediately used by any appliances currently running such as TVs, washing machines, chargers or fridge freezers. If there is not enough electricity to run these they will be topped up by the national grid. If the electricity is not required it will flow directly into the national grid so that someone else can use it – effectively making your house a mini power station (hence the term ‘home generation’).
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How we can help you
Having thoroughly surveyed your property, our expert design team will produce a quote with performance estimates that are calculated using robust MCS approved standards. We are so confident in our designs that if your system does not generate the predicted amount in the first year, we will pay you the difference.
In order to qualify for the Feed-in-Tariff a property must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). EPC’s indicate how energy efficient a property is by measuring floor areas, ceiling heights, wall thickness, current heating system and insulation etc. Once all the relevant data is collected, an energy assessor can produce the certificate. Our in house assessor can do this for you.
In order to qualify for the highest FIT rate your property needs to achieve a grade D or above.
Do I need planning permission?
Installations are usually covered by permitted development rights meaning planning permission is not required. Some exceptions to this rule are for listed buildings, conservation areas, national parks etc. It is always advisable to contact your Local Authority prior to installing a system to be sure.
How much maintenance is required?
Solar panels have no moving parts so require very little maintenance. An annual inspection by an engineer is recommended to ensure everything is running efficiently
What is the FIT payment?
The Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) payment is a government backed subsidy which pays people who install electricity generating renewable technology. Click here to find out more.’
How long will it take to install?
This depends on the size of system but an average 4kWP sized domestic roof mounted system should be completed in a single day.
Is my roof suitable?
Pitched, flat, slate or concrete, most roofs are suitable for solar as long as they are structurally sound and in a serviceable condition. It is preferable for them to be unshaded to for optimum performance.
What are micro inverters?
Instead of using a single inverter for a PV system, micro inverters can be attached to each panel individually. This enables greater control/monitoring of a system and is ideal for systems occasionally affected by shade.
Is the system covered by my house insurance?
Insurance companies will cover your PV system but you must inform them, it is not automatically included.
What happens if I want to move?
Although technically you could take your PV system with you, generally they are left attached to the property for the new owners to take responsibility of, including any remaining FIT payments. This could increase the value of your property as there is an income attached to it. If you did take the PV system with you it would no longer be covered by MCS for FIT payments.
Does PV only work on sunny days?
PV systems do not required direct sunlight to work. They are at their optimum performance in bright sunlight but will continue to work in overcast conditions as well. This is known as diffuse sunlight. The standardised MCS calculation used to estimate system performance takes account of the annual solar irradiation, not just the peak summer months.
How long will a PV system last?
A PV system should last well over the 20 years FIT scheme. As there are no moving parts, PV panels can last up to 40 years however you may need to replace the inverter during the systems life time. Inverters typically come with a 10 year warranty as standard.
Do I need to be connected to the grid?
No. Although this is typically the case, PV systems can be connected to battery packs so can work in remote locations.
Do the panels have to go on my roof?
No. PV panels can also be mounted on walls and on ground mounted frames.
*Prediction based on a south facing roof, 35 degree pitch with no shade, taking into account generation and export payments and savings from your electricity bill