Solar P.V Electric Panels - Frequently Asked Questions
The Green Energy Team provide comprehensive solar electric (photovoltaic) panel installation and maintenance solutions; being highly qualified and experienced in all areas from project concept to completion, in both domestic and commercial implementations.
The implications and impact of having Solar PV electricity generating panels are far greater than that of solar thermal water heating panels. Below we have tried to address some commonly asked questions :
See also : Feed-in Tariff Scheme - Frequently Asked Questions
How does a solar electric system work?
Solar panels generate electricity using the energy from the sun. The panels however can still produce energy from daylight, not only direct sunlight, so they will still produce energy on cloudy or overcast days. An inverter converts the electricity from DC to AC, for use in the home. The electrical energy produced is either used directly in the home, or when the system is producing more power than is needed it is exported back to the National Grid. At night, electricity is imported from the grid in the normal way.
What happens if there is a power cut?
Solar electric systems for homes are connected entirely to the National Grid. If there is a power cut your system is automatically switched off. This is a safety measure design 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?
The 'efficiency' of solar panels is less relevant, 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 generate. The government quote this as 850 KWh / KWp for the UK, but we have seen 1000 KWh / KWp for some system in the UK.? So if you had a 4 KWp system (about 30m2) you could generate 4x850=3400 units a year (at the government 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 power consumption.
What is the cost of a solar PV system?
For most homeowners we would install a system of between 2-3 KWp. The cost of installation will vary according to how easy or difficult it is to access the roof and the technology or product you choose. Typically, the installation will cost between £4,500-£6,000 per kWp.
What is the payback period on a solar electric system pay?
A realistic estimate on an average system would be roughly seven to twelve years to pay for itself, after which it will make money for it's owner for the remainder of its life. In simple terms, if you were to spend £10,000 on a system today, you would receive roughly 9% of your investment back per year.
Do I need planning permission?
You will only usually require permission if your building is listed, in a conservation area or world heritage site. Most Solar Thermal systems can be installed without planning permission. Solar roof systems fall under permitted development rights so you do not need planning permission, although if you live in an area of 'outstanding natural beauty' or in a listed building you should contact your local council.
Would a solar PV system be able to connect into both electricity and hot water systems, therefore reducing both the heating and electricity 'grid' needs?
PV only makes electricity so would only help reduce your electricity consumption.
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Please note that this information is intended as a guide only and not a statement of law.
The Green Energy Team / Blueflame Services accept no responsibility for errors or omissions