Frequently Asked Questions Based on experience we have compiled a comprehensive list of the questions that we often get asked.
Solar Photovoltaic PV Systems
Q. How much space on my roof do I need for a solar PV installation?
Grid connected systems start from around 1kW rating; this occupies approximately 6.6 square metres on your roof.
Q. How much electricity does a PV system output?
For every kW rating installed on a south facing roof the system will generate approximately 800 kWh per annum.
Q. How much does a Solar PV system cost?
Prices start from around £3000 – £6000, dependent on the size of PV array and a number of key factors relating to the installation site.
Q. Are there any grants available to cover the cost of installation?
Following the introduction of the Feed in Tariff (FIT) scheme, generally, there are no longer funding grants available. However, this may vary in some regions; we can clarify this for you relative to your location.
Q. Will I be eligible for the new Feed in Tariff (FIT)?
Yes, the FIT is available on all Solar PV installations, with variable rates based on the circumstances of the installation and on the properties EPC rating.
Q. What rate would I receive on the Feed in Tariff (FIT)?
The rates vary according to the size of the system and the type of property where it is installed. Generally, for systems up to 4kW rating installed on an existing property with an EPC certificate that is D or above then the FIT rate is 14.9/kWh for every kWh generated. The export tariff is 4.94p. If the property has an E rating or higher the FITs payment will be 6.85p/kWh
Q. Do I need to inform my electricity supplier?
Yes, to inform them that you will be a property with duel supply and to get all the relevant paperwork (which we will help you fill in). For systems larger than 16 Amps we will require permission in advance from the network operator.
Q. Can I export any of the electricity I generate?
Yes, all unused electricity will automatically be exported. Your electricity company can fit an export meter or they will pay you based on estimated export rates (usually 50%).
Q. How does the electricity generated get in to the internal system?
As part of our installation of the system we connect straight into your consumer unit, this can only be done by a qualified (Part P) electrician. The electricity generated will then be passed into the distribution board and used when there is demand for it.
Q. What happens during a mains power cuts?
Standard solar PV systems do not operate during power cuts for safety reasons. This is to prevent feedback down the power lines in case somebody is working on them.
Q. Do I need a three phase electricity supply?
Generally no, systems up to approximately10kW rating can be accommodated on a single phase electricity supply; greater than 10kW will require 3 phases, with the power split equally between them.
Q. How efficient are Solar PV panels?
Solartech Installations use PV panels which operate on available daylight not simply sunlight, this ensures that you get the maximum efficiency. In addition, we carefully survey your installation site to ensure it is most suitable (south facing) and does not have any shading problems from trees, chimney stacks or adjacent building, which can dramatically reduce the performance of the system.
Q. Do I need planning permission?
Generally no; planning permission is only usually required if the building is listed or in a conservation area.
Q. Will my roof be strong enough?
Our surveyor will check this prior to installation; however, most roofs are strong enough to take a solar installation without any reinforcement.
Q. Does your price include scaffolding?
Yes, our prices include the cost of full scaffolding across the length of the roof that we are installing the panels on.
Q. How are the panels fixed to the roof?
For a standard roof we use rigid stainless steel brackets that are fixed directly to your roof rafters, the brackets hook out from underneath your roof tiles. We work to MCS standards and because of this we do not drill tiles or use silicone to seal your roof, we are aware that some companies will do this.
Q. How long will the installation take?
Normally 1-2 days.
Q. Are the solar PV panels fragile ?
Solar panels are very robust and can withstand the normal stresses subjected by Mother Nature.