Frequently Asked Questions




  • 1.Solar PV
  • Why choose to install a Solar PV system?

    Jessica18-01-2015

    A solar PV system generates its electricity from the sunlight. Solar systems are connected directly into the buildings mains supply. On a daily basis any electricity generated by the panels on the roof reduces the amount of electricity that needs to be purchased from your electricity company, and you will also get paid for the electricity your solar system produces. If there are times when the electricity produced would not be required in your property this would be exported onto the grid and you would also be paid for this electricity.

  • What is Solar PV

    Jessica08-07-2015

    Solar PV systems contain panels full of solar cells and these cells convert the energy from the sun into electricity. It is the electricity produced that can be used to power electrical appliances within a building, alternatively any electricity produced that is not needed can be sold back to the grid.

  • What components make up a solar PV system?

    Jessica08-07-2015

    A solar PV system is made up of various different components. A system will include the panels (number of panels depending on the system size), the framework to hold the panels on the roof, an inverter to switch the DC current into AC (direct current into alternating current), and some switchgear and wiring.

  • How much electricity will solar panels produce?

    Jessica08-07-2015

    We are not able to provide customers with an exact figure because this is dependent on a number of factors. You need to consider the total size of the system (how many panels), the orientation of the system , the angle of the solar panels from the horizontal (30-45 degrees), whether the proposed location is subject to any shading, and the type of panels used.

  • Do solar PV systems need batteries to enable them to work?

    Jessica08-07-2015

    No! A solar system is connected to the national grid. The solar system only works during the daylight hours so during the night when the panels are not generating any energy the electricity is imported from the national grid in the normal way.  If there ends up being excess electricity generated during the day, for example when you at work, this would be exported back to the grid.

  • How do you connect a solar PV system to the national grid?

    Jessica08-07-2015

    You would not need to connect the solar system to the national grid – this would be carried out as part of the installation. You would need permission to connect a system to the distribution network but for smaller systems up to 4kWp this is usually not a problem.

  • If I sell my house will the feed-in-tariff change?

    Jessica08-07-2015

    The feed-in-tariff rate is set at the time that the solar PV system is installed and then this is index linked to the property – so this rate will increase with inflation. If you were to move properties the FIT rate would remain the same for the remainder of the 25years, the only instance where the rate would change would be if the original installed system changed. If you did alter the system the new installed section would have the current feed-in-tariff rate at that time of the install.

  • Do I pay as normal and then get money back? What will my new bills look like?

    Jessica08-07-2015

    It would be best to contact the utility company that you obtain your feed-in-tariff from and get them to send out their policies in writing. Each utility company is different and they are able to choose how they wish to organise their billing, generation (FIT or cash back), and export tariff arrangements. One utility company might bill as normal and then provide a personal cheque for what they owe the householder in quarterly intervals, whilst another utility company might deduct the amount from the amount owed on the electric bill.

  • What would happen if I produced more electricity through my solar PV system than I need?

    Jessica08-07-2015

    If you ever end up producing more electricity than your home is using, it would be exported back to the national grid. As long as you have agreed this with your energy company you will be paid for this electricity.

  • Is it possible to get a grant for installing a solar PV system?

    Jessica08-07-2015

    No, you were at one point able to access a grant from the Low Carbon Buildings Programme, but the Government put a stop to this and introduced the feed-in-tariff which offers longer term benefits.

  • Is planning permission required to install a solar PV system?

    Jessica08-07-2015

    In all cases you would need to contact your local authority to confirm any issues with regards to planning permission however, planning permission is generally not needed on most domestic properties. There are some exceptions to this and that is if the property is a listed building or if the property is situated in a National Park, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or in a conservation area.

     

  • What are the effects of shade on a solar PV system?

    Jessica08-07-2015

    Even minor shading can result in a significant loss of energy so shading is critical to the performance of the system. Where possible it is best to avoid shading, especially from any trees or buildings to the south of the array.  The reason for this is because the cell with the lowest illumination determines the operating current of the series string in which it is connected and so shading to just the one cell can reduce the power output to 50% of its full capacity. On the initial assessment of the property it would be established that there were no shading issues and that the building is suitable for a solar PV installation.

  • How long does it take to install a solar PV system?

    Jessica08-07-2015

    An average domestic installation takes approximately 1-2 days on site to install, depending on the size of the installation.

  • How long will a solar PV system last and what are the guarantee periods?

    Jessica08-07-2015

    The majority of solar PV systems have a manufacturer’s warranty of 25 years with the expected lifetime of the system being 40 years. The inverters are generally under guarantee for at least 5 years, although this is extendable.

  • What happens to the solar PV system if there is a power cut?

    Jessica08-07-2015

    All our systems are entirely grid connected so in the event of a power cut the PV system will be automatically switched off as a safety measure. This is designed to stop electricity leaking on to the national grid and also to protect individuals who may be working to restore the power supply.

  • How do I get my power back?

    Jessica08-07-2015

    Your solar PV system will come with instructions on how to turn the system back on if necessary.

  • What if I need to expand the solar PV system in future years?

    Jessica08-07-2015

    This is something that could be done. The only thing which could occur by adding additional panels would be the possibility of upgrading some components from the original system.

  • Will a solar PV system work in the UK, and will it work during the winter?

    Jessica08-07-2015

    Yes it will work in the winter, however, due to the seasons – longer summer days and shorter winter days the solar PV energy output will vary.

  • Will cloud affect the output of my solar PV system?

    Jessica08-07-2015

    Yes cloud will affect the performance of your solar PV system.  You need to bear in mind that solar power depends on the intensity of radiation, so it is not necessarily direct sunlight.  This means that electricity will still be generated even on a cloudy day though it would be at a lesser rate than on a day without cloud.  The PV system will take in direct sunlight and diffuse (through cloud) sunlight. Even in mid-summer diffuse can actually be greater than direct, so clouds are not an issue.

  • If my house is not south facing can I have split panels, one on the front and one on the back?

    Jessica08-07-2015

    Yes it is possible to have a split system.

  • Could you put panels on your garage roof?

    Jessica08-07-2015

    As long as the garage roof is suitable and in good condition it is possible to fit a system onto a garage roof in most circumstances.

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