FAQ

  •    What is PV?

PV (photovoltaics) are often referred to as solar panels and generate electricity.

There is another type of solar panel that heats water for domestic use. These are generally known as solar water heaters. 

  •    How does PV benefit me?

PV produces electricity from natural and renewable resource, the sun, therefore electricity produced by PV will prevent the release of CO2 into the atmosphere. As of April 2010 the Feed-in Tariff was introduced, which pays a premium for the electricity produced by PV systems, whether it is consumed by the owner of the PV system or not. As a result PV systems represent an attractive alternative to traditional investments.

  •    How much do solar panels cost?
                    Take a look at our Pricing page.
  •    Do I need planning permission?
In many domestic situations solar panels and PV systems are classed as permitted development.  Commercial, flat roof and ground mounted  systems will require planning permission.  For more information visit the government planning portal. and take a look at our planning information page

  •    Does my roof need to face directly south for a PV System? 
Ideally PV would go on roofs facing due south, however south east and south west will function well, even roofs facing east or west are potentially viable.

  •   I am in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, can I still get a PV System?
Probably, but it is likely you will need to make a planning application this also applies to Listed buildings/national parks/conservation area etc.   For more information visit the government planning portal.  We can assist you with your planning application, and there is more information available on this on our planning page.

  •   Can you install a system on a flat roof?
Yes, however this will also require planning permission.  We can tailor a solution to your situation using A-frames, consoles or other mounting kit.  Take a look at our technical page for more information.
  •  Will my roof support the weight of a PV system?
Yes, we will assess the structural integrity of the roof before the installation.

  •  How long will it take to install? 
 Most domestic installation can be completed inside a week.

  •   How much money can I earn from a PV system? 
This very much depends of the size of the system, but typically returns of 10% are achievable and this is tax free (for individuals), indexed linked and  guaranteed for 25 years.

  •  How much maintenance does PV need?
Very little if any, as there are no moving parts PV can be considered as maintenance free.

  •   How do I know if my PV system is working?
The simplest way to check that the PV system is working is to check that the figure on the generation meter (supplied with the PV system) is increasing.

  •   When my PV system is off does it consume any power?
At night or during very gloomy conditions the PV system stops generating AC power, during these periods the inverter that controls the PV system will draw a very small amount of power from the grid.

  •   How does solar PV work?
PV cells are made from semiconductor material such as Silicon.  These can be doped with impurities to create a negatively (n-type) or positively (p-type) charged material. A PV cell is a layer of p-type and n-type material put together.  Electrons flow from the n-type layer to the p-type and create a neutral layer at the boundary of the two layers and stops any more electrons flowing.  Light of the right wavelength (i.e. sunlight) which is absorbed at the boundary frees some of the electrons which are there, allowing them to cross the boundary and providing a flow of current. 

For further reading visit http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2002/solarcells/  or http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/solar-cell.htm

  •   How do I know how sunny it is where I live? Is the UK sunny enough?
It may not feel like it sometimes, but most of England and Wales has a viable solar resource, the south and west having the best conditions and Scotland having the least usable irradiation. For more information see the solar irradiation map also on this website. (Map Courtesy of: The European Joint Research Centre produces maps of the Solar radiation and photovoltaic electricity potential across Europe.)


  • What is the Feed in Tariff ?
The Feed in Tariff is also called the clean energy cashback scheme and is a rebate paid by electricity companies to those people who have installed renewable energy generating systems in thier homes. PV is an eligible technology and electricity companies will pay up to 16p for each unit of electricity generated by the Solar PV panels.
Also a small additional sum is paid (4.5p per unit) for each unit of electricity exported from your property, there are also reductions on your electricity bill as you will be using your own electricity for some of the time, rather than buying from the grid. 

  • What is a kWh?
A kWh (kilowatt hour) is a technical term and is equivalent to a unit of electricity. It describes the amount of electrical energy per hour 'produced' by the PV system.


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  • My supply electricity meter show the message 'rEd' after I had my PV installed what does this mean?
'rEd' stands for reverse energy detected, this is to be expected as whenever your PV system is producing more than the property is using, energy from your PV system is exported to the rest of the grid. This message was used to alert meter readers that energy is going the other way and is a way to prevent fraud by turning the meter in the wrong direction. As Current Generation notify the energy distribution network after each installation of  PV system there is no need to be concerned. The network operator may choose too change the meter. This 'rEd' message is only displayed on digital meters, rotating disc meters sometimes spin backwards, however many have  lock preventing this.

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