How do I know if I need a battery?
If you have a medium to high consumption of energy, it is likely that a battery alongside your solar will be beneficial. We use our software to calculate how much of the battery you will use with your property’s consumption and can compare what your usage would be with and without a battery. You can then decide which system will work best for you and your energy consumption.
Where is the battery installed?
Most batteries that we install are rated as IP65, meaning they can be installed outdoors. However they should have a canopy over them to protect them from the elements. They can also be installed inside your property on a wall. They ideally need 300mm clearance around them for ventilation and cooling as well as access for any future maintenance. Dimensions of the batteries can be found on the datasheets.
Why should I think about battery storage?
Adding battery storage to your solar PV system enables you to store any excess solar energy to use in your property at a later date. This means that at night or in low solar weather, the battery can power your property without needing to use the grid. This saves you money on your electricity bills as you will only start buying energy when the battery runs out. Many energy providers now have flexible tariffs where you can use a cheaper night rate tarrif to charge your battery too.
My roof is old and in fairly poor condition – can I still install a Solar PV system on it?
All of the Solar PV solutions on our website are designed to be mounted on top of an existing or new roof. Although Solar PV systems are not normally heavy enough to cause structural problems, if your roof is in poor condition we would recommend that you undertake a structural survey before proceeding with your installation. If your roof is in need of repair or replacement we would recommend combining this work with your PV installation as this will help to reduce cost.
You ask in your survey “What material is your roof made from?” – What difference does it make?
The cost of the installation may be increased for slate or clay tiled roofs, as the PV systems are secured to the roof using stainless steel “roof hooks”. These hooks provide a very robust means of attachment and don’t compromise the weather proofing of the existing roof. Fixing these hooks to concrete tiled roofs is a relatively straightforward process. However, due to the way slate and clay tiles are laid, many more need to be removed to fit the hook, and layers of flashing are needed for weatherproofing – hence these installations are slower and more costly in terms of labour.
I have no access to my loft – will that be a problem?
The reason why the installers need access to the loft is because this can be a way to run the cables through your property. Gaining a look in the loft is also useful at survey to briefly assess the structural circumstances of the roof from the inside. Being able to see how far apart batons or purlins are may provide useful information for the designer to plan out the requirements of the mounting system too. If you do not have access to your loft, we can discuss other means of carrying out these checks and alternative routes for the cables to run.
How do Solar PV Cells work?
Photovoltaic (PV) cells convert radiation from the sun into electricity. A typical PV cell consists of a wafer of semi-conducting material, usually silicon, manufactured with two electrically different layers. When sunlight hits the cell it excites the electrons within the silicon, creating an electric field across the layers and causing a flow of electricity.
How much electricity do solar PV systems generate?
An optimally orientated, un-shaded 1kWp array will, each year, generate approx 850kWh (units) of electricity.
What size do Solar PV Panels come in?
PV systems are modular, allowing a great degree of flexibility in design and spcification. The physical size of individual panels varies. Smaller output panels tend to be smaller in size and the very high output panels are much larger. The size of an array is determined by the available roof space and energy requirement of the property. We work with our customers to ensure that we provide a system that meets their requirements and available roof space.
Where can I place my Solar PV Panels?
Solar panels can be mounted in a range of locations, from a roof to the ground and even bespoke frames. We install on a range of roof types, including flat roofs. Ground mounted systems use ballast or specially designed mounting frames. Solar panels are best if they are south facing, but east and west facing roofs are are suitable, although output will be slightly less. A roof pitch of between 10 and 50 degrees is best and preferably with little or no shade. If shade cannot be avoided then we can include optimisers to reduce the shading impact.
Why is shade a problem for Solar PV systems?
Any shade, such as from trees or neighbouring buildings, can have a large impact on the performance of a PV system. Because modules are constructed from a number of PV cells interconnected together, if one cell is shaded it has a knock-on effect that prohibits the whole module from generating electricity. To work effectively, we recommend that whole PV array needs to be free from shade for the majority of the day.
I already have solar, can I have more?
Yes! There are some restrictions that may limit how much you can have. We would need to submit another DNO application to see how much solar you will be allowed. This can take a couple of months to come back and they may impose an export limitation on your system.
Do I need planning permission?
Most of the time the answer is no. However, if you live in a protected area such as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or a National Park such as the South Downs, then you may need permission, but not always. We can advise you on this.. Some authorities will ask that you have a bat or bird survey first or that your system meets certain aesthetic criteria such as it being an ‘in-roof’ system where the panels sit flush with the roof tiles. We can work with your needs and design a system that meets the necessary criteria. Some new build properties may also have restrictions on what can be installed. In these cases, we recommend that you check with your estate management company.
What happens if I enquire?
We will contact you to arrange a survey of the property, where our surveyor will take roof measurements, look at shading and any other site specific complications as well as providing any more information you require. We will then design you a system that meets your requirements. You then decide if you want to go ahead with the system proposed. If you purchase a system, we will ask you to sign a letter of authority that grants permission for us to apply for grid connection. We will then book in scaffolding if needed and arrange dates for the install. After the install, you will be asked to pay the remainder of the balance and we will send you a handover pack with all of the information about your installation.