What happens if there is a power cut?

Solar electric systems for homes are entirely grid connected. If there is a power cut your system is automatically switched off. This is a safety measure designed to stop electricity leaking on to the national grid and to protect people who may be working to restore the power supply.

How efficient are solar panels and tiles?

The ‘efficiency’ of solar panels is less relevant than you might imagine, because the sun contains an incredible amount of energy! More important is the kWh/kWp (kilo watt hours (or ‘units’) per kilo watt peak) you will generate. The government quote this as 850kWhs/kWp for the UK, but we have seen 1000kWhs/kWp for some system in the UK.
So if you had a 4kWp system (about 30m2) you could generate 4×850=3400 units a year (at the gov figures), which is more than you need in a 3 bed house with all mod cons AS LONG as you are ‘energy aware’ and not frivolous with your usage.

How can the energy benefits of the system be maximised?

The solar system output will be effected by: orientation, shading and the temperature of the solar system.

Orientation – The optimum orientation for a PV panel is between 30 – 40 degrees. However if you are looking to install a system on a flat roof or field, we can install a bespoke frame that can secure the optimum orientation.

Shading – Shading such as neighbouring properties and trees, also effect the efficiency of a Solar PV System, always check the number and position of diodes within each panel.

I understand the system swiching off to prevent reversal into the grid when there is a power cut. But what is not clear, is there power to the home from the PV system when the grid is down? This is most important and a feature not mentioned on your site, or have I missed something in the FAQ’s?

No, the system shuts down completely. This is to protect people working on the grid. It is possible to make a grid connected system ‘stand alone’ in the event of a power cut, but you would also require a UPS (uninterrupted power supply) system (which flicks from mains / solar to batteries / other power source, AND batteries (which are not at all environmentally friendly) of another back-up system.

Our installers would be able to advise you on this, but we do not do it as part of our standard offers as the cost would be prohibitive for most people.

Who pays for the Feed in Tariff?

The energy suppliers (not the government) will be paying the consumer direct. This will be generated by a small levy on every UK energy consumer, which means an increase in energy prices. The Solar PV System will help protect you against increasing energy bills.

Are the FIT rates really guaranteed for the full 25 years? Can future governments change their mind?

The Feed-in tariff is Primary Legislation, and it would be a breach of the Governments contract if it didn’t last for 25 years. Payments to individuals will not change over this time – in fact they will increase with inflation as they are index linked.

Why should I invest now and not in the future?

The feed-in-tariff is set to be reviewed in 2012, with prices likely to decrease as an incentive to invest now. Material and technological advances are unlikely to drive system costs down in the short term, so now really is a good time to invest.

Is the Feed In Tariff paid from the install date or commissioned date?

The FIT would start from the date of commissioning.

What happens if my property is let to tenants?

The Feed-in-tariff payment will be paid direct to a selected person, this could be the: landlord, tenant or housing association; it does not need to go direct to the housing occupier. This creates an ideal opportunity for a landlord to gain an additional source of income while adding value to the property in the form of an additional asset. The payments may also be given to the tenants providing a much more sustainable rentable property.

Is the Feed in Tariff available to businesses?

The commercial and residential rates are identical, however once a system goes over 4KW the rates drop slightly.

What if I was to move house?

Upon installing a solar system the ‘Feed-in Tariff’ will help lower bills and provide a steady income. These benefits can then be transferred to the new home owner offering added value and offering additional benefits when you come to sell your home. It is also possible to rent the roof space back from the new home owner and keep the FIT payments.

Can I install the system myself with an electrician to wire it up to the grid?

In order to connect to the grid the Solar PV panels and the installer must be MCS accredited.

What happens if the panels get dirty?

The majority of Solar Panels are manufactured using self cleaning glass, so as long as they are installed at an angle of at least 15 degrees there should be no problems.

What is the life cycle of a Solar Panel?

Solar panels predominantly have a manufacturer’s warranty of 25 years and a working lifetime of 40 years and beyond.

What is the life cycle of a Solar Panel?

Solar panels predominantly have a manufacturer’s warranty of 25 years and a working lifetime of 40 years and beyond.

How do you apply for an Export Meter

  1. Contact your DNO (Distributor) to request an export Mpan.
  2. Once your panels are fitted make sure your installer sends a G83 to the DNO
  3. If the installation is over 50KW, please make sure a ROO-FIT application is made and also an application form sent to your new FIT supplier. (I have attached a link to our website where you can download our application if you chose E.ON as your FIT supplier).
  4. If your import meter is Non Half Hourly (NHH) it will need to be upgraded to Half Hourly (HH) if you want to go ahead with an import/export meter.
  5. Once you have an export MPAN from your DNO you will need the following:-

a)      A MOP (Meter Operator) contract. Your energy provider will then provide you the MOP form for you to complete including your new Mpan number and using option A-new connection. A rough idea of the cost is between £300-£1000 dependant on length of contract.

b)      A DC (Data Collector or Meter Reader) contract. We recommend IMSERV (01908 547437 or 01908 257529), however you can chose from SP Dataserve, Siemens and Npower as well. There is a charge for this service but you would need to contact the different DCs for a quote.

c)       We also need to advise you that when exporting back to the grid via an export meter the Distributor may charge an annual fee for use of the grid (DUOS charge). This charge is calculated each year following the start date of exporting and varies by area. Unfortunately I have no idea of what the charge may be. It is worth having a word with the DNO about this, they may be able to give you a better idea. The distributor may send the charge to your supplier who will in turn invoice you.

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