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Solar Panel FAQs & Solar Energy FAQs

To determine if solar electricity is right for you, there are a few key questions to consider:

    • Do I need a sunny place to put it? Ideally you need a roof or space that faces within 90 degrees of south, and isn't overshadowed by trees or buildings. If the surface is in shadow for parts of the day, your system will generate less energy but will still produce some electricity.
    • Is my roof strong enough? Solar panels are not light and the roof must be strong enough to take their weight, especially if the panel is placed on top of existing tiles. If in doubt, ask a construction expert or an installer. In all cases we would recommend a roof survey before commencing with an installation.
    • Do I need planning permission? It is our understanding that you do not need planning permission for most home solar systems, as long as they are below a certain size and are not in a conservation area – but you should check with your local planning officer, especially if your home is a listed building, or is in a conservation area etc.
    • How well do solar panels work in cloudy conditions? Some people believe that there isn’t enough sunlight in the UK to generate electricity through a solar PV system, this is incorrect. A PV system will produce electricity even on a cloudy day, the pv system runs off sunlight, not from the heat. The important thing to remember is that solar power depends on intensity of light, not necessarily direct sunlight. Solar panels are most effective when they are south facing and are at a 30 degree angle to the sun, preferably without any shading from trees, buildings etc. Solar panels can still be effective on east or west facing roofs but south facing is the most effective.
    • How long will the installation take? This will depend on the size of your system but the average sized house will take up to 2 days to complete. Scaffolding would normally be erected the day before an install and taken down once completed. You will be advised on this before installation commences.
    • How much will I be paid through the Feed in Tariffs? This will depend on the size and kind of system you install. The diagram below gives a description of how much you will be paid for each unit of electricity generated. Additionally, any excess electricity that is produced which you do not use will be sold back to the national grid and you will receive an additional 4.64p/kWh (export tariff). The amount that you receive is fixed for 20 years based on the rate in place on completion. The FIT’s are index linked, tax free and the return on investment are typically 8-12%. The highest rates are available until the end of June 2013, after this time the government are reducing this rate. So, to get the best FIT rates, the sooner you install your solar PV system the better. See our case study page for some real life examples of incomes and savings.
       Generation Tariff level for new Installations.
      Note that Tariffs will be inflated annually.
      Scale of PV InstallationFeed in tariff rate
      From the 1st July 2015 - 30th Sept 2015
      Export Tariff
      < 4kWp (new build) 12.92p 4.85p
      < 4kWp (retrofit) 12.92p 4.85p
      4-10kWp 11.71p 4.85p
      10-50kWp 11.71p 4.85p
      50-100kWp 9.63p 4.85p
    • What size PV system will I need? There are many factors to be considered when deciding on the size of system you will need. The size of your roof, the orientation, any shading factors, how much you want to invest, how much electricity you would like to produce, etc. For a clearer answer to this we would carry out a free site visit and give you a quote based on these factors.
    • What is MCS? MCS stands for Microgeneration Certification Scheme and this is the scheme installers and products must be a part of for customers to be able to qualify for the Feed in Tariffs. You must ensure that the company that installs your system is part of the MCS scheme. Take a look at our accredtation page for a more detailed description of the MCS.
    • What kind of return will I get for my investment? There is no short answer to this. Each installation is different and various factors play a part in what kind of return you will receive. The best way to gaige this is to allow us to carry out a site survey and assessment and produce a quotation to suit your individual installation needs. We would then provide you with a full calculation of your potential savings and income. Please see our case studies page for some real life examples.
    • What is an EPC and why do I need one? EPC stands for Energy Performance certificate. From the 1st April 2012 all PV installations require an EPC of Grade D or above in order to qualify for the Feed in Tariff. This is an easy process and we can arrange this for you or you can arrange this yourself. This Certificate reports on the energy rating of your property and makes recommendations on how to improve it.
    • How do I apply for my Feed in Tariff? Once your installation is complete we will then immediately register it with the MCS. You will be sent an MCS certificate which you will need to send along with your Feed in Tariff application form to your chosen FIT licensee/energy provider.There is a wide choice of licensee’s, but most people tend to use the energy provider they buy their electricity from. We can help you with your application form if you like, most are very straight forward. Once this is registered with them you will need to keep them updated with meter readings and you will start receiving your income, normally every quarter.

Telephone: 0115 920 9816
Fax: 0115 978 0670
Arnold Electrical (Eco Energy)
Aggregate House
50 Church Street
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