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Commercial Solar FAQs
The first stage is to make a preliminary application to the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) for a connection point in the vicinity of the land in question. We would be happy to make this inquiry for you, with no obligation. On the basis of an initial assessment, we can advise on the possible connection capacity, feasibility, and cost of a grid connection. Thereafter we can lead you through the development process and options for available funding.
The use of solar allows “renewable self-consumption” at an energy cost which is lower than can be obtained from purchasing electricity from the grid. This “self-consumed” electricity off-sets what would otherwise be bought from the grid. The grid price of electricity includes both commodity and non-commodity costs (typically in the range £120-150/MWh) – it is this unit cost (multiplied by the MWh of self-consumed generation) which would be saved (offset) by the installation of PV. Generally solar can off-set between 30-50% of demand, without including energy storage. If you can provide us with half-hourly consumption data, our analysts can provide an optimized design including financial calculations to inform your investment decision.
There are various options for funding. Many companies chose to fund solar from their own balance sheet, given the attractive returns available. There are also possibilities for third party loans or Lease-PPA agreements. For freehold properties, the Lease-PPA model has seen a resurgence in recent years as the cost of solar has reduced and some building owners who occupy their own properties would prefer not to make their own investments due to possible solar business rates complications. We advise Lease PPA developers and can also advise you on the best approach. On behalf of our Shareholders we operate, and manage a portfolio of solar assets and would also be interested to explore funding your project ourselves.
The UK government has set a path towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The technology, costs, and drivers point towards a rapid and continued uptake of low carbon technologies, including the electrification of transport, the decentralisation of energy production towards distributed generation and the digitization of energy services. The economics are such that solar has a central part to play in this energy transition, even in the UK which is not best know for sunshine! The technology exists now to generate your own energy requirements with low carbon solar energy and energy storage – now the lowest cost distributed generating technology. The time to act is now!
Domestic Solar FAQs
Solar PV uses silicon cells to capture energy from sunlight. The sunlight gathered by the modules is converted to direct current (DC) which then passes through an inverter that changes the direct current to alternating current (AC). The electricity in this form can be delivered through your property and to the grid network through your consumer unit/distribution board.
The amount of solar you require depends on your household consumption. However, due to restrictions set by the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) most homeowners install a 4kW PV system. If your roof is big enough to fit more than 4kW and your consumption is high, we can put an application in with the DNO for a greater export capacity.
The price of components can affect the cost of a system significantly but you could expect to pay between £4000-£7000 for a 4kW installation. A good place to start is our solar calculator, before getting in touch to book a site survey and bespoke quote.
Yes, the panels will still generate when the weather is cloudy but do not perform as well as on bright and sunny days. Solar panels are at their most effective in clear and cool conditions.
While the Feed in Tariff has closed, all electricity suppliers with more than 1 million domestic customers are obliged to provide an export tariff under the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme. This is not as lucrative as the FiT so the greatest financial benefit you will see is a reduction in your household bills but still provides an extra perk.
Solar panels are typically given a hydrophobic coating that means they are seen as ‘self-cleaning’ beyond 5° pitches. When rain rolls off the panels, it takes dust and debris with it. However, your system will still need some maintenance to ensure it remains in good working conditions, especially in particularly dusty areas. We recommend an annual or bi-annual maintenance visit, depending on level of soiling, to do the following:
- Clean panels with deionised water
- Inspect and clean the inverter
- Test the DC strings
- Carry out a mechanical inspection of the mounting system
Every five years, we recommend an AC test to confirm the grid connection is in good condition
Please get in touch if you would like a quote for solar PV system maintenance.
You do not need a south facing roof. Many roofs we install on are off south east or west. We can also split an array across two east and west roofs. There are even advantages to having an east west roof, firstly you have double the roof space, secondly you will have a much wider generation window making more energy earlier and later in the day. You will still get about 85% of the generation compared with a south facing roof.
Rooftop solar installations usually fall within ‘Permitted Development’ however, there are a series of restrictions that must be observed:
- The panels should not be installed on a building that is within the grounds of a listed building or on a site designated as a scheduled monument
- Where the property is in a conservation area, or in a World Heritage Site, panels must not be fitted to a wall which fronts a highway
- Panels should not be installed above the highest part of the roof (excluding the chimney) and should project no more than 200mm from the roof slope or wall surface.
If you wish to seek planning permission for a solar project we are happy to advise.
A number of things will affect the time taken to see a return on the investment. This includes the system specification and therefore cost, your level of consumption, and your level of generation (which is dependent on several factors e.g. location, pitch, orientation). A domestic PV installation will typically account for its cost in 6-8 years.
The inverter for your system is usually warranted for at least five years and will last up to ten. However, most manufacturers offer warranty extensions of up to fifteen years for much less than the cost of a new inverter.
You can expect the panels to last for 25 years and beyond. SMA (5 years), (Fronius 7 years with comms), Solaredge (12 years)