Solar Panels

Solar Panels for your home

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solar panels

With ever increasing costs in energy prices, installing solar panels for your home still represents one of the best UK investments around. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • Tax free Income* from the feed in tariff for solar panels.
  • Reduced electricity bills – you buy less from a utility company.
  • Additional income from exporting electricity from solar panels.
  • You will be less affected by increasing electricity costs
  • Positive environmental impact

It’s not a new idea to use solar power, and solar panels have been around a long time. However, since the UK government introduced the feed in tariff in from April 2010, you can now receive a tax free income for generating your own electricity.

Additionally, by exporting unused power back to the national Grid, you can also earn a bonus “export tariff” payment. So not only can you make tax free income, but you can also save money on your domestic energy bills by using the electricity that you produce.

Solar Panels are a source of generating renewable, non-polluting energy, producing free electricity from daylight. They convert solar radiation into direct current electricity (DC) which, by means of an inverter, is further converted into alternating current (AC) that can be used around the house.

solar pvSolar Panels for your home never need refueling; they have no moving parts, they don’t pollute and need virtually no maintenance. Because they work on solar radiation, not just on direct sunlight, British weather does not really present any problems and a good quality installation will provide you with plenty of free energy from solar power.

Solar PV can be fitted to most types of roof, although the surface needs to be in good condition because modern products are designed to last 25 years or more.

Once you have installed them it would be expensive thing to find out you have to take them off within a year or two in order to repair or replace your roof.

Is my property suitable?

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fully fitted solar panelsThe easiest method is to go to Google maps, enter the address and look at a satellite or ‘Google earth’ image. North will be indicated or you can assume north is at the top of the page. From the image you can see which way the house is oriented.

Due South is the best facing roof to use, however, orientations of East & West are also able to be used for solar panels; although solar panels fitted facing East & West will not be quite as efficient.

  • A North facing roof is generally considered unsuitable.

Although you may be able to estimate the area of roof that you have, it’s not always the case that you can use every inch of space to fit a system, having your roof professionally surveyed by a properly qualified installer is the sure way to find out the cost of solar panels for your home.

Most ‘modern’ roofs can accept installation, but not all homes are suited, due mainly to a problem with the roof. Possibly the roof itself is in bad repair, or it is too small.

You should also check to see if your building is listed or in a conservation area or whether you need planning permission for the system that you are proposing to install.

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Warranties & Guarantees for installations

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MCSThe solar panels that you buy should have a performance warranty that runs for at least 20 to 25 years. This will ensure that in the event that they lose more than a small percentage of their efficiency during the lifetime of the warranty, you are protected.

To protect yourself in the event that anything goes wrong with the work that the installer does to fit the system, you should ensure that the installer offers workmanship guarantee of between 2 & 5 Years. Try to confirm with your installer that “if it breaks – they fix it”.

Making sure the installer is registered with the Micro-generation Certification Scheme (MCS) should be the first thing on your list.

This is especially important because not only does it cover the standard of the installation but the MCS certification of your installation is also necessary in order for you to register your installation with your utility provider and qualify for the Feed In tariff.

  • If the installer is not certified & registered with the MCS, then your system cannot be certified and you may not be eligible for the Feed in Tariff payment.

Most domestic solar panel installations can be done in a few days from start to finish. A typical installation schedule will include delivery of the equipment, erecting scaffold or other access equipment, installing the system, testing system, dismantling scaffold and cleaning up the site and finally the installer will commission the system (Turn it on).

Once the solar PV panels are fully installed & tested, the installer will send the details to the MCS and they will provide you with a certificate within 7 to 10 working days (normally).

The MCS registration certificate then needs to be provided to your power supplier who will register your solar panel installation on the grid. Once this has been competed, you will then be eligible for the appropriate feed in tariff income.

Common practice for registering your solar panel installation with your utility provider is to go to their website and download the appropriate FIT form.

You may be able to register online, but if not, you should return it to the utility provider using registered mail or recorded delivery.

As a general guide they will assume you export 50% of the power generated and work out an assumed payment based on the configuration shown on the MCS certificate until they come to read the new generation meter.

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