Solar Panels

How can I get Solar Panels?

If you are thinking of having solar panels installed on your own home then contact us for a no obligation survey and quotation. Andy.Tunstall@TheGreenGroupUK.com

If you think that several people in your community would like panels installed then look at our Solar Streets campaign – a great way that friends and neighbours can get together and save money on multiple installations. When you’re ready just click on the solar menu above and then click on Solar Streets or click here for a shortcut http://thegreengroupuk.com/solar-streets.

If you want to know more about Solar Panels in general then keep reading, there’s lots of information on this page for you.

What do Solar Panels do?

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels take the sun’s rays and converts them into electricity, which can be used to run household appliances and lighting. In fact it doesn’t have to be very sunny for the panels to generate electricity, they will still generate some all the time except in very overcast conditions. We can now also export any excess energy back to the Grid and get paid for it.

In the south of the UK the amount of electricity equates to about 1 kWh per kW installed so a 4 kW system will generate approx 4,000 kilowatt hours per year. ( It will save around 1.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year). A 4kW system in Scotland can generate about 3,400 kilowatt hours of electricity a year due to the difference in sunshine. ( It will save approximately 1.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.). According to the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC), in 2014 the average domestic electricity consumption per UK household was 4,000 kWh.

Is it still worth it without the Government Tariff?

The Government used to offer an incentive to people to install Solar PV – it was called the Feed in Tariff, where they would pay you money to help with the cost – these payments ended on 31/3/19.  A lot of people think that because there is no Feed in Tariff then Solar Panels are not viable and won’t save you money. This is definitely not the case as the price of panels has fallen from £4/w in 2008 to c. £1/w for panels – you then need to add on installation.  The combination of savings on the cost of electricity and being able to export any excess back to the Grid and being paid for it, mean that a Solar PV system will still give a good return on investment and will often pay for itself completely within 10 years (with an approx 25 year panel life) – you then have free electricity and minimum maintenance of the panels for the next 15 years. And remember, it’s likely that electricity prices will rise in the future, not reduce.

typical setup of solar panels with an Inverter to convert from DC to AC electricity and an option to export any excess back to the Grid

Benefits

  • The electricity generated is completely free and perfectly green
  • This will reduce your electricity bills via the energy you save and the export quantity from your system back to the Grid
  • Solar PV panels need no maintenance and are usually self cleaning unless in an area partly shaded by trees
  • Savings from solar PV will get larger as electricity prices increase, the more they rise the more you’ll save
  • Combining a solar PV system with a battery storage solution may increase benefits and self sufficiency but most Energy Suppliers will now buy your excess electricity so there may be no need to store it
  • Reduce your Carbon Footprint. Solar electricity is green renewable energy and doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants. A typical home solar PV system could save around 1.3 to 1.6 tonnes of carbon per year (depending where you are within the UK).

Considerations

  • Roof orientation and tilt angle are crucial for best performance, the ideal being due south with a tilt of 30°
  • Whilst the panels are not heavy the roof has be capable of supporting the panels
  • There has to be access for scaffolding to be erected to put the panels on
  • Listed buildings or in conservation areas with road facing south orientation may not get planning permission
  • The roof area should be free of shade to maximize output but some shade can be tolerated
  • Whilst there is no maintenance on the panels the inverter will usually need changing after around 12 years
  • There is some performance degradation over the life of the panels but many are still guaranteed to produce 90% of their original output even after 25 years.

 Economics – 4 aspects

  • Installation cost – usually involving the panels, an inverter and the necessary wiring and connections – if you are interested make sure you get a quote for your particular property rather than just assuming it will be the same as others you have talked to
  • Maintenance – The inverter should be replaced after around 12 years
  • Savings of electricity at the rate you pay for your electricity (can differ from supplier to supplier)
  • An additional saving from the amount you export back to the Grid (the amount you receive can differ from supplier to supplier).

Solar Streets

Remember, your community can benefit if several people want a system installed – see our Solar Streets page by clicking here http://thegreengroupuk.com/solar-streets.