I'm thinking about installing solar pv but I need to know more!
Often we're being invited to visit a homeowner to discuss their needs and requirements for a Solar Pv system. We're finding that some homeowners are dubious about having a new technology installed like solar due to the horror stories. Most of these issues relate to uniformed sales companies who have no technical experience and are just looking to sell to homeowners for the largest possible price.
At Entire Services, we're different as we are experienced electricians and Solar Pv installers. Our knowledge in this industry is based on experience rather than false promises, so we try our best to answer as many of your questions as possible. Below are some of the main questions that we get asked during site surveys.
1) Are solar panels actually worth it?
This is probably the most common question we get asked and also the most vague question. Are solar panels worth it, the short answer is yes.
Typically to gain the MOST benefit for a domestic system you would be looking to install on a South facing roof or an East / West Split. The average UK household used 10kw - 15kw per day which is around 3650kw - 5475kw annually.
A 4kw Solar pv system on a South facing room could produce around 3,482kw annually which is a significant proportion of an average households electricity consumption. The current energy prices are around £0.33 per Kw therefore, a 4kw system could save you around £1,149 annually.
2) How many panels can I have?
Here in the UK we have to work to the DNO's (District Network Operator) regulations when connecting a generation to their network. An accredited renewable company will be registered with a competent persons scheme meaning that they can self notify installations post connect if certain criteria is met.
To connect to the grid without the DNO's permission means that we have to keep the installation equal to or less than 16amps per phase (G98 regulations). For domestic single phase properties this means we can connect a system with an inverter output of 3.68kw. Most modern inverters can have an increased amount of DC input from solar panels in comparison to the maximum 3.68kw output.
Simply put, a 3.68kw inverter could potentially have 7kw of solar panels attached and still be installed under the G98 regulations
For installations greater that 16amps per phase (G98), we would submit a G99 application to the DNO to request permission to connect a larger system to their network prior to any works being carried out.
"We approached several companies about solar panels. From initial approach, through design and installation Ben was reliable and responded quickly to questions and enquiries. No flannel, no videos, no sales pitch, no today only offers. Ben was knowledgeable and explored options to suit our personal needs and circumstances. The system was installed efficiently with a clear explanation of its operation and how the best benefits could be obtained. Ben is a tradesman not a slick salesman, what you get is a refreshing professional knowledge based delivery of facts. We are very happy with the whole experience." - Google Review - Tim from Northwich
3) Do I need planning permission?
In most circumstances Solar pv panels can be installed with out permission and can be notified to the DNO and to the LABC (Local Authority Building Control) post connection by an accredited and approved installer if they are a member of a registered competent persons scheme.
It is a good idea to notify your building insurer following the works.
4) What if I have different facing roofs.
Standard string inverters have 2x MPPTs (Maximum Power Point Tracking) meaning that we can only split the solar pv array into two. Therefore, if you have an installation over multiple roofs, orientations or elevations then the output of the array will be hugely impacted.
For installations such as this, it is recommended to use Solaredge which use small optimisers behind each panel which act as individual MTTPs. This means that we can install panels on various roofs, orientations and elevations with out causing output issue across the whole array. Each panel is capable of working to their own maximum output for that location.
5) Do solar panels take a lot of maintenance?
No. There isn't all too much that can go wrong with a solar pv system.
Once operational, there shouldn't be any issues arising. It is anticipated that Inverters last around 10 - 15 years, so it may be that an inverter fails with in this period and needs replacing, however with the advancement in technology this is becoming more uncommon.
It is advised to get the panels cleaned every so often. Some window cleaners no offer this service, but it isn't detrimental not to have them cleaned unless you're surrounded by trees, birds etc which can cause unwanted muck on the panels.
Any further questions?
So in general, these are the main questions that we get asked on a regular basis. As keen advocates of Solar Pv systems, were happy to answer any other questions you may have about your existing solar system of if you're exploring the options of installing a system.
Feel free to drop us an email and we will get back to you: Info@entire-services.co.uk