1What is The UK Feed in Tariff?
This is a financial incentive introduced to the UK in 2010 and provides tax fee income to homeowners who install qualifying renewable energy home improvements. find out more here
2How do I register for the feed in tariff?
Once your solar panels are installed the MCS registration will be done by the company that installed the system. The MCS will then produce a certificate of registration (7 to 10 days) and this will contain the details of the panels and the output or “declared capacity” of your solar panels. Once you have your MCS certificate, go to the website of your utility provider and download the FIT application form.
This form needs to be completed and returned to your utility provider along with a copy of your MCS certificate. You should receive your FIT rebate quarterly in arrears.
3What equipment is installed in a typical solar panel system for my home?
Normally a typical system would be made up of 3-4 main sections., the panels, the inverter, a generation meter & isolating switches . Your chosen number of solar panels are fitted to the roof by means of “rail mounts” and this would then be connected to an inverter, which is normally located in your loft or attic space.
Inverters do tend to “hum” quietly so it’s best not to site them where they may be heard, especially if your loft is converted into living space. Cables from the inverter are then run to a generation meter and onto your current household electrical system. Isolating switches, to enable the supply to be “cut off” from the national grid when needed for safety reasons, are fitted in a suitable location at ground level.
4How much VAT is charged on solar panels?
For qualifying renewable energy systems fitted to residential properties the current rate of VAT charged
for 5% of the cost of the installation - however this may be subject to increase due to EU legislation.
5Do I pay tax on the feed in tariff income?
Although the FITS and generation tariff are extra personal income, the government confirmed in 2009 that people who receive income in the form of tariffs will not be subject to income tax.
For a basic rate tax payer, this would represent a very good investment opportunity. For higher rate tax payers, such as yourself, the situation could a lot more efficient and productive as higher rate tax therefore also is not due – however, there is a phrase used in connection with the income being tax free and that is: “ so long as the electricity generated is predominately used for domestic purposes” – how and where the revenue may implement this is not clear as yet.
6What does kW, kWh & kWp mean for solar panel installations?
The kilowatt hour or kwh is most frequently referred to as the unit for energy provided to consumers by the power companies . Your Energy supplier would normally charge by the kWh for the electricity that you use. For our purposes, kWp generally refers to the size of a solar panel system. When we mention kilowatts peak , most people use it to mean the maximum power output from the panels under perfect conditions (normally test lab conditions).
7What is an inverter?
As the solar panels only create direct current (D/C) it has to be converted into Alternating current (A/C) in order to be able to be used in your home – your mains electricity supply is A/C. this is achieved by running the electricity produced by the panels through an inverter which transforms the electricity from D/C to A/C.
The inverter is chosen to match the power output of your solar panels in order to be able to handle the correct amount of power generated.
8What is the difference between thermodynamic & thermal panels?
The major differentiation between these two designs are in the way they collect & distribute heat. Solar thermal panels are tube like structures that need to absorb heat from direct sunlight and work most efficiently on bright days.
Thermodynamic panels, on the other hand absorb heat from the surrounding atmosphere & do not require sunlight to operate & can generate hot water even at night. Thermodynamic panels, however, may not qualify under the FIT tariff as yet.