Products & Services
Solar Photovoltaic Panels (SPV)

With returns on investment often averaging 5%, many people are choosing to install solar PV panels as an alternative to investing money in the bank or in an ISA.

Taking the retail cost of electricity at 16p per kWh with an assumed 50% usage the savings would be £283 per year, with the total benefit to the household in one year being £524 pounds. Rises in electricity prices will also increase the potential savings. For the last few years, electricity prices have risen by about 10% every year.

Saving costs & cutting emissions
The benefits of Solar PV
  • Reduce your electricity bills: sunlight is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation your electricity bills will be lower.

  • Get paid for the electricity you generate: the government’s Feed-In Tariffs pay you for the electricity you generate, even if you use it.

  • Sell electricity back to the grid: if your system is producing more electricity than you need, or when you can’t use it, you can sell the surplus back to the grid.

  • A typical home solar PV system could save over a tonne of carbon dioxide per year, that’s more than 30 tonnes over its lifetime.

How it works, Costs & Savings.
  • How Solar PV Works

    Solar panels generate electricity from sunlight using photovoltaic (PV) technology. This electricity provides power for the building to which the panel is connected. A well-designed solar PV system can provide up to 50% of the average home’s annual electricity needs.

    Electricity from a solar panel system is generated during daylight hours and used as it is made. When the panels aren’t generating enough power for the building, usually at night time and during periods of high demand, the system will automatically draw more electricity from the National Grid.

    Solar panels in the UK perform best when facing south, south-west, or south-east, though you can get benefits from systems that face in other directions. Photovoltaic panels can either be fixed to a roof or erected as a free-standing installation.

    PV solar cells are made from two layers of semi-conducting material (usually silicon) sandwiched between two electrodes. Groups of cells are mounted together in panels.

    When light hits a semi-conductor sandwich, it gives the electrons energy that makes them jump from one layer to the other. This creates a voltage across the solar panel, which then drives current around the external circuit.

    PV solar panels generate a direct current (DC). Each system therefore also includes an inverter to convert this into alternating current (AC) suitable for running electrical appliances.

    The more light that shines on the panel each year, the more solar electricity it produces. The light doesn’t have to be direct sunlight. Light diffused through clouds also works.

    When a PV solar system is connected to the National Grid, any electricity the building can’t use is automatically directed into the Grid. Any electricity the building needs beyond that produced by the solar panels comes from the grid.

  • Tariff Overview

    A typical south facing 4.0kWp system generates around 3,540 kilowatt hours of electricity a year. This is about three quarters of a typical households electricity needs.

    You earn and save money through the government’s Feed-In Tariff in three ways.

  • The Generation Tariff

    Currently homes with a grade D rated Energy Performance Certificate can expect to earn around £283 per year, based on a rate of 4.39p/kWh. You get paid for every kWh you generate, whether you use it yourself or whether you export it to the National Grid.

  • The Export Tariff

    You can expect to earn around £86 per year by exporting electricity to your electricity supplier, based on a rate of 4.85p/kWh. At the moment, you are paid on the assumption that you will export 50% of what you generate.

  • Savings on electricity bills

    The actual amount of generated electricity used by the household will translate into savings on the electricity bill.

    The more used the more saved.

    Taking the retail cost of electricity at 16p per kWh with an assumed 50% usage the savings would be £283 per year.

    The total benefit to the household in one year is £826 pounds.

    The payments are tax-free, increase in line with the retail price index and are guaranteed for 20 years.

    Rises in electricity prices will also increase the potential savings. For the last few years, electricity prices have risen by about 10% every year.

    With returns on investment often averaging 5%, many people are choosing to install solar PV panels as an alternative to investing money in the bank or in an ISA.

    We always recommend that people insulate their homes properly, so you could save money from insulating, and then save the money from generating your own electricity from Solar PV too.

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Solar PV FAQs
  • Where do solar PV panels work best?

    For best results, panels should be:

    • Un-shaded for most of the day.
    • Pitched at an angle of 30 – 45 degrees.
    • South, south-west or south-east facing – though panels facing in other directions can also give useful amounts of power.
  • How much sun do solar PV panels need?

    Solar PV systems take in both direct sunlight and diffuse (through cloud) sunlight. You don’t need any direct sunlight at all for the system to function. The amount of electricity the solar panels generate depends on the intensity of the radiation rather than on the amount of direct sunlight. You will therefore still get electricity on cloudy days.

  • How can I find out how effective solar panels are likely to be in my area?

    If you ask us to look at your site, we will prepare a detailed feasibility report so you can see exactly what to expect before you make a decision.

  • Can I still use solar panels if the building doesn't have a suitable roof?

    Yes.

    Where there is a separate building (such as a garage) with a more suitable roof, we can use that and connect through to where the power is needed.

    We also install panels that stand alone rather than being fixed to a roof.

  • How much electricity do solar panels produce?

    Solar panels are rated by how much power they produce under standard test conditions. This gives a measure in kWp (kilowatt peak). As a rough guide, a 1kWp system will generate an average of 850kWh of energy in the UK over the course of a year.

    Most domestic systems are between 1.5 and 3 kWp. A 1.5 kWp system would generate around 1,275 kWh, and a 3kWp system would generate 2,550 kWh. This compares to a typical usage figure of 3,300 kWh for an average 3-bedroom home.

  • Will I need planning permission?

    Not usually, unless the building is listed, or is in a conservation area, area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or national park. The installation must however meet the conditions for permitted development.

    You should always check with your local planning department to make sure. Solar tiles may be an option if you cannot get permission for solar PV panels.

    We can help you with any planning requirements.

  • How long will the system last?

    Most panels have an expected life time of 30 – 35 years or more. Manufacturers’ warranties are typically for 25 years. There is a small but gradual decrease in efficiency over time. The warranty will guarantee that your system will still perform at 80% of its installed efficiency level after 20 years. You may need to replace the inverter at some stage during the lifetime of the panels. Inverters are usually guaranteed for five years.

    Workmanship is guaranteed for two years.

  • How long does it take to install the panels?

    One to two days for a typical domestic system. Larger projects will vary depending on the size and scale of the system and on other elements such as ease of access.

  • What happens to the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) arrangements if the property is sold?

    The first owner of the system receives index-linked increases in the FIT as long as they remain the owner. Any subsequent owners receive the FIT rate in place at the time they buy the property.

  • Do firms installing solar PV panels need to be accredited in any way?

    Yes. In order for you to qualify for the Feed in Tariff, your installer should hold Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accreditation. All our installation teams are fully MCS accredited.

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