Struggling to pay your energy bills? You’re not alone. Millions of people across the UK are struggling with rising energy costs and solar panels are a great way to generate your own electricity and reduce those ever-increasing energy bills.
Installing solar panels is great for the environment too. Using a solar PV system can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint.
How do solar panels work?
Our sun is an unlimited power source and with the use of a device, called a photovoltaic cell, we can efficiently harness this renewable energy source.
Solar panels are made up of many photovoltaic cells that turn the suns solar energy into electricity. The photovoltaic cell is a very thin semiconductor sandwich made with multiple layers of highly purified silicon. Photovoltaic cells allow electrons on the surface of a solar panel to be knocked loose by the incoming rays of the sun. These loose electrons create a direct current (DC) of electricity as they follow a pre-determined pathway on the solar panel.
The DC electricity is then either stored in batteries or converted to alternating current (AC) via an inverter to power standard electronic appliances, such as computers, lighting and heating.
The generated electricity passes through the solar PV meter, which records the amount of electricity the PV system is generating. The generated electricity then passes into your consumer unit/fuse board to be used throughout your property.
When demand for electricity in your property is lower than the amount being generated by the solar PV system, the surplus electricity is exported to the National Grid. When demand for electricity is greater than that being generated by the solar panels (at night, for example) you will import electricity from your energy supplier in the normal way.
The solar panels are installed on your roof into groups called arrays. These arrays are mounted in such a way that they face as close to south as possible and at an optimum angle or pitch. This is to ensure that the modules receive the maximum amount of sunlight. Due to the location and elevation of the UK the optimum position of a solar PV array is facing due south and angled between 30-40 degrees.
Is my home suitable for solar panels?
There are a few checks that can be done to check that home is suitable for solar panels.
Orientation: South facing roofs (south-east to south-west) are the best for installing solar PV panels. Flat roofs are also fine. You also have the option of having the solar system installed at ground level.
Angle/ Pitch: Based on the location of the UK in respect to the suns path throughout the day, the best angle/ pitch for maximum yield of your solar panel system is between 30- 40 degrees. (This can be achieved using various mounting systems)
Shading: You will need an area that is sufficiently exposed to sunlight for most part of the day.
Size: The selected roof / ground area should be sufficiently large enough to allow installation of the solar PV panels.
Planning: While planning permission for solar PV systems is not required in most cases, you should still check with the local authorities to confirm that the area is not marked as a heritage site or a conservation area or a listed building or a wildlife protected area.
Roof Material: Due to the inherent hazards of Asbestos with health and safety issues, we advise the proposed roof be replaced with non-asbestos roof materials, before considering the installation of a solar PV system. (Roofs built post 1999 should not contain any asbestos)
Electricity supply: The size of the incoming lines into your property can affect the size of installation you can invest in.
Roof Construction: There are solutions for all roof types, including corrugated roofs, slate or tiled roofs, sealed roofs which require no penetration.
How long is a solar panel installation?
Most solar panel installations can be completed within one to two days. We can usually tell which projects are likely to take longer, so it will be planned for well in advance and will be discussed with you at survey stage.