Since the rise in energy prices, solar has become the most favoured source of renewable energy, with more homeowners than ever before choosing to generate their own solar electricity.
Find answers to some of our most commonly asked questions here.
Still not sure about something?
Our team is here to help!
What is solar electricity?
Solar electricity is electricity that’s generated through the use of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology. Solar PV panels are used to capture the sun’s free and clean renewable energy, turning it into electricity.
How does a solar PV system work?
Solar PV systems feature an array of cells which contain a solar PV material that can convert radiation from the sun into direct current (DC) electricity. Solar PV electric panels do not require bright sunlight in order to operate, meaning that you can still generate electricity on cloudy days. The electricity produced is either consumed directly by appliances around your home or, if more power than required is generated, it is exported to the grid. At night, or when the system is not producing enough energy, power is supplied by the grid in the normal way.
How does solar benefit the environment?
Because solar is a renewable source of energy, it won’t run out. Solar energy is environmentally friendly because it doesn’t generate greenhouse gases. Renewable energy technologies will help you reduce your carbon footprint, meaning you’ll be doing your bit for the environment.
Are there any other benefits of solar?
Reduced electricity bills: A 2.8 kWp system should be able to generate around 35% of an average household's annual electricity needs.
Potential income: The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) offers guaranteed payments for the excess electricity you generate and sell back to the grid.
Lower carbon emissions: Because solar panels don’t produce any carbon emissions, this will help to greatly reduce the impact your home has on the environment.
No running costs: once installed, you won’t have to worry about any operating costs as they create free renewable energy for your home.
Low maintenance: other than making sure the panels are getting enough light (make sure they’re not being obstructed) there’s not a lot else to worry about.
Charge an electric car for free: reduce your fuelling costs if you have an electric vehicle. Please get in touch to discuss installing an EV system.
How much roof space will I need?
This depends on the amount of power you want to produce, taking into account your energy usage, the number of people in your home and the size of your property. The more solar panels you have installed, the more energy they’ll be able to generate for your home. Normally, installations are a minimum of about 1kW peak power which will need approximate 10m² of roof space.
Please get in touch with our experienced team, who can help you decide what will work best for you.
How much energy will the PV system generate?
It is not possible to give an estimate of what your system will generate without visiting your property, as there are five main factors that will affect how much energy your system will generate:
Total size of the PV array (number of panels)
Latitude of the location
Direction the panels face
Angle the panels are mounted
Do I need constant sunshine for my Solar Panels to work?
No. Solar Panels don’t need constant direct sunlight to work and can still generate electricity when the weather is cloudy. They work in all daylight conditions as they only need light, rather than direct sunlight, to generate power. On a cloudy day, solar panels will typically generate 10-25% of their output on a clear day.
What happens if there is a power cut?
Our PV systems are entirely connected. If there is a power cut the system is automatically switched off as a safety measure to ensure power does not leak onto the grid in order to protect personnel working to restore the power supply. There will be no power to the building during the power cut.
Do I need to inform my energy supplier?
For systems less than 4kW peak power we will inform them once the installation is complete. For larger systems, permission will need to be gained in advance from the network operator.
Do I need planning permission?
In most cases, installing solar panels on your roof does not require planning permission as they are considered 'permitted development' under planning law. There are, however, some rules and exceptions that must be observed. For example, it is important to consult your local council's planning department for advice if your house is in an area of outstanding natural beauty or is a listed building. You will need to ensure that you have checked this and obtained the relevant permission (if required) before we can install the panels.
How long do Solar PV panels last?
This varies depending on manufacturer, but most come with a five year manufacturer’s warranty and have an expected life well in excess of 25 years.
What ongoing service and maintenance do Solar Panels require?
It is recommended that your Solar Panels are checked and serviced every 2 years. We offer a standard service and maintenance package to give you that extra piece of mind. Please Let us know if this is something that you would like to discuss.
Have I missed out on the Feed-in Tariff?
Yes. However, the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) was launched in January 2020 and is a government – backed incentive where you are guaranteed payments for the excess electricity you generate and sell back to the grid.
How long will the installation take?
Domestic installation normally takes 1-2 days, with no or minimal disruption. Typically, the scaffolding will be erected a couple of days before our installation team arrive. They will then mount the panels on the roof and install the inverter, finally carrying out the internal wiring.
Please also see our ‘Guide to Domestic Installation (what to expect)’
Can I add a battery to my system later on?
Yes this is called a retrofit system and there are options if you are on the FIT tariff too please get in touch for more information
Can I install a system on dormer windows?
It’s not generally possible to put panels on top of a dormer, as the roof structure isn’t strong
enough to support the weight.
Any extras to consider?
While installing this system, we also fitted bird protection. This consists of a specialist metal mesh around the edges of the array, preventing any birds from nesting under the panels and avoiding damage to the solar cells. It’s a lot cheaper and easier to do this while scaffolding is already in place, rather than a few years down the line after any feathered guests have moved in!
We also do EV chargers to consider which can be installed along with the inverter which will futureproof your property.