Here are some of our Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need permission to install a solar PV system?
Solar PV panels are considered ‘permitted developments’ and often don’t require planning permission. However, exceptions apply and it’s best to check with your local planning office for guidance. If you live in a listed building, conservation area or national park, additional restrictions may apply.
If you’re planning to install a solar PV system in your home, you must register it with your Distribution Network Operator (DNO). The DNO is the company responsible for bringing electricity to your home. Usually we will do this for you.
Do I have enough space?
Space is a key consideration. The average system size is around 4.2kWp and this will typically take up around 25m2 roof area.
An unshaded, South facing roof is ideal for maximum electrical output. East or West facing roofs could still be considered, but North facing roofs are not recommended. A system facing East or West will yield around 15-20% less energy than one facing directly South.
How do solar panels work?
A solar PV panel consists of many cells made from layers of semi-conducting material, most commonly silicon. When light shines on this material, a flow of electricity is created.
The cells don’t need direct sunlight to work and can even work on cloudy days. However, the stronger the sunshine, the more electricity generated.
Solar PV systems are made up of several panels, with each panel generating up to 400W of energy in strong sunlight. Typical systems contain around 15 panels and generate direct current (DC) electricity. Because the electricity used for household appliances is alternating current (AC), an inverter is installed along with the system to convert DC electricity to AC. This electricity can be used throughout your home, stored in a battery to use later, or exported to the grid.
How long will my Solar Panels last for?
Solar PV systems have no moving parts apart from the inverter and as such have very long life spans. The inverter should last for over 10 years, however you can buy an extended 20 year warranty. You should expect the panels to last for at least 25 years.
Do Solar Panels need cleaning?
Solar panels are generally self-cleaning if positioned at an angle of over 15 degrees. However it is advised to visually inspect them annually and clean if necessary
How do I know I’m using the power from the PV panels?
An inverter monitors and manages grid voltage and ensures that it is putting the power from your inverter into your system at a slightly higher voltage than the grid. Voltage is best thought of as pressure, the force behind the electric. If the inverter produces a higher voltage when you switch an electrical appliance on it will naturally use the power from the panels first.
Do I need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?
Since the end of the Feed in Tariff, there is no longer a need for any property with a PV installation to have an EPC. Solar PV owners can now be paid for their exported electric by their energy supplier without the need for an EPC.