Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Benefits of Solar Panels?

Installing solar panels will reduce your reliance on the National Grid for energy which will reduce your bills. They can last for up to 40 years so this cheaper energy will last a long time, adding real value to your home and increasing the energy efficiency rating. You will also be eligible for the government’s Feed-in Tariff earnings which reward you for generating your own energy and contributing to the Grid. And, in addition to the financial benefits, you will reduce your home’s carbon footprint.

Can I Install Solar Panels?

Generally, you should be able to install solar panels on your roof as long as you are the property owner and the roof is not north-facing. Solar panels are not limited to domestic properties; for example, you can install them on churches, schools, farms and commercial buildings. However, if you live in a conservation area or a listed building you will need to check with your local council if you need planning permission. Your home also needs to have an Energy Performance Certificate of D or higher to qualify for the full FIT payments offered by the government. If your home has a lower rating than D, you will advised how to improve your rating or offered a lower payment.

Where Should I Install Solar Panels?

Solar panels should be installed on a south-facing roof so they can absorb the maximum amount of sunlight possible. Your installer will work out the Solar Declination Angle which measures how far away from the equator your panels will be and which siting will deliver the best levels of efficiency. It is also possible to install solar panels on the ground if your roof is not suitable.

What Are Solar Panels Made Of?

Solar panels include a layer of silicon which converts light energy from the sun into electricity we can use in our homes or store for later use (if a solar battery is installed). The type of silicon which is used will vary depending on the panels you purchase; there are 3 options to consider: amorphous, polycrystalline or monocrystalline.

Which Type of Solar Panel is Most Efficient?

Monocrystalline panels are the most expensive option as they deliver the highest levels of efficiency, in some cases converting up to 25% of the sunlight they receive into energy. Polycrystalline is less costly but is also less efficient reaching up to 20%. Amorphous panels are the least costly of the three options as their lifetime is not as long as mono or polycrystalline but their efficiency tends to be lower at around 10% conversion. They do, however, have the benefit of being able to be twisted to fit difficult installations and are particularly effective in low light.

Which Solar Panel Manufacturers Are Best?

There are several manufacturers on the market producing high quality solar panels such as LG, Solarcentury and Panasonic. However, your installer (who should always be MCS accredited) will be procuring the panels for you and will be able to recommend the best option to suit your home and budget. It’s even possible to mix different panels as long as they are the same voltage and wired in parallel.

How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

Solar panels tend to include lengthy warranties of around 20-25 years. However, with proper maintenance they can last for up to 40 years and continue to produce a substantial amount of electricity for that period.

Do Solar Panels Need a lot of Maintenance?

Solar panels are generally very easy to maintain needing only occasional cleaning to ensure they are exposed to as much light as possible. Your installer will be able to advise you and there are even specialist companies who provide a cleaning service.

Why Use an MCS Accredited Installer?

An accredited MCS installer is someone who has gone through the Microgeneration Certification Scheme training which means they have expert understanding of how to both install and position the panels to get the most return on your investment in terms of energy generated. In addition, if your panels aren’t installed by an MCS installer, you will not be eligible to benefit from the government’s Feed-in Tariff.

What is the Feed-in Tariff?

The Feed-in Tariff was introduced by the government as an incentive for homeowners to adopt renewable energy solutions. You will receive tax-free payments for the electricity your system generates. Generation tariff payments reward you for every kWh of energy you generate while Export tariff payments reward you for energy you send to the National Grid. You’ll receive both these payments on a quarterly basis. The amount you receive is indexed to the inflation rate and recalculated at regular intervals.

How Long Does Solar Panel Installation Take?

Depending on the complexity of the installation a solar panel system can be installed and up and running in as little as 2 days.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

The cost of your solar panels will depend on the size of your home, the amount of electricity you use, the type of panels and the brand you choose. For example, the average installation is a 3-4kW system which will cost £4,000 – £8,000. You may choose to install a system which generates enough energy for some but not all of your usage to keep initial installation costs to a minimum.

What Are the Benefits of Solar Panels?

Installing solar panels will reduce your reliance on the National Grid for energy which will reduce your bills. They can last for up to 40 years so this cheaper energy will last a long time, adding real value to your home and increasing the energy efficiency rating. You will also be eligible for the government’s Feed-in Tariff earnings which reward you for generating your own energy and contributing to the Grid. And, in addition to the financial benefits, you will reduce your home’s carbon footprint.

Can I Install Solar Panels?

Generally, you should be able to install solar panels on your roof as long as you are the property owner and the roof is not north-facing. Solar panels are not limited to domestic properties; for example, you can install them on churches, schools, farms and commercial buildings. However, if you live in a conservation area or a listed building you will need to check with your local council if you need planning permission. Your home also needs to have an Energy Performance Certificate of D or higher to qualify for the full FIT payments offered by the government. If your home has a lower rating than D, you will advised how to improve your rating or offered a lower payment.

Where Should I Install Solar Panels?

Solar panels should be installed on a south-facing roof so they can absorb the maximum amount of sunlight possible. Your installer will work out the Solar Declination Angle which measures how far away from the equator your panels will be and which siting will deliver the best levels of efficiency. It is also possible to install solar panels on the ground if your roof is not suitable.

What Are Solar Panels Made Of?

Solar panels include a layer of silicon which converts light energy from the sun into electricity we can use in our homes or store for later use (if a solar battery is installed). The type of silicon which is used will vary depending on the panels you purchase; there are 3 options to consider: amorphous, polycrystalline or monocrystalline.

Which Type of Solar Panel is Most Efficient?

Monocrystalline panels are the most expensive option as they deliver the highest levels of efficiency, in some cases converting up to 25% of the sunlight they receive into energy. Polycrystalline is less costly but is also less efficient reaching up to 20%. Amorphous panels are the least costly of the three options as their lifetime is not as long as mono or polycrystalline but their efficiency tends to be lower at around 10% conversion. They do, however, have the benefit of being able to be twisted to fit difficult installations and are particularly effective in low light.

Which Solar Panel Manufacturers Are Best?

There are several manufacturers on the market producing high quality solar panels such as LG, Solarcentury and Panasonic. However, your installer (who should always be MCS accredited) will be procuring the panels for you and will be able to recommend the best option to suit your home and budget. It’s even possible to mix different panels as long as they are the same voltage and wired in parallel.

How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

Solar panels tend to include lengthy warranties of around 20-25 years. However, with proper maintenance they can last for up to 40 years and continue to produce a substantial amount of electricity for that period.

Do Solar Panels Need a lot of Maintenance?

Solar panels are generally very easy to maintain needing only occasional cleaning to ensure they are exposed to as much light as possible. Your installer will be able to advise you and there are even specialist companies who provide a cleaning service.

Why Use an MCS Accredited Installer?

An accredited MCS installer is someone who has gone through the Microgeneration Certification Scheme training which means they have expert understanding of how to both install and position the panels to get the most return on your investment in terms of energy generated. In addition, if your panels aren’t installed by an MCS installer, you will not be eligible to benefit from the government’s Feed-in Tariff.

What is the Feed-in Tariff?

The Feed-in Tariff was introduced by the government as an incentive for homeowners to adopt renewable energy solutions. You will receive tax-free payments for the electricity your system generates. Generation tariff payments reward you for every kWh of energy you generate while Export tariff payments reward you for energy you send to the National Grid. You’ll receive both these payments on a quarterly basis. The amount you receive is indexed to the inflation rate and recalculated at regular intervals.

How Long Does Solar Panel Installation Take?

Depending on the complexity of the installation a solar panel system can be installed and up and running in as little as 2 days.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

The cost of your solar panels will depend on the size of your home, the amount of electricity you use, the type of panels and the brand you choose. For example, the average installation is a 3-4kW system which will cost £4,000 – £8,000. You may choose to install a system which generates enough energy for some but not all of your usage to keep initial installation costs to a minimum.