WE ANSWER SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Team Renewable have put together some frequently asked questions (FAQs) together with answers which hopefully will prove useful for you. Our faqs cover our main services of Solar Photovoltaic & Battery Systems, Electric Vehicle Charging Points and Consultation & Contracting. If you’re looking for an answer to a question you can’t see listed below, Just ask us – we may include feature faqs on this page to help other customers and their enquiries.
The amount of electricity your solar energy system will generate is dependent on sunlight. Your solar panels will produce slightly less energy when the weather is cloudy and at night will not generate any electricity. However, with the rising cost of electricity, solar is a smart decision even if you live in a cloudy city.
Solar Panels work best on any roof that faces between South-East through to South-West. Although your Solar Panels will perform better and produce more electricity if they are South facing, they will still perform at 86% (compared to South facing) either facing due East or West.
Solar panels convert sunshine into power, so if your panels are covered in snow they can’t produce electricity. Snow generally isn’t heavy enough to cause structural issues with your panels, and since most panels are tilted at an angle the snow will slide off. If snow does accumulate, your panels are easy to clean.
It’s extremely unlikely that any panel will blow off during high winds/storm conditions. When we install Solar PV panels we make sure they are securely attached to the fabric of the building using a roof hook and rail system.
Solar Panels generally take up about 2square meters each and are connected directly next to or above/below each other in either portrait or landscape layout.
A minimum gap of around 30cm is needed between the edge of the roof and the panels to prevent excessive wind loading.
Your roof should be unshaded between 10am and 4pm. While some early or late shading from other buildings or trees is OK, during the peak period for daylight you want the panels to be out of any shade.
Your roof needs to be in good condition. Make sure you’ve had an inspection carried out to ensure your roof isn’t damaged, as this could affect the installation. If you have old tiles, it may be worth getting them replaced before your panels are installed.
Before selling any solar system, our team will come to carry out a site inspection to ensure that it is suitable and safe to install. This is the point we encourage all our customers to ask as many questions as possible to ensure that you have all the facts before going ahead with a decision.
Panels can also be ground mounted, which is a popular choice for people with extra unused land.
You generally won’t need planning permission. In England and Wales, the Government’s Planning Portal says that panels are likely to be considered as ‘permitted development‘ – meaning you don’t usually need to apply for planning permission.
There are some exceptions to this though, for example if your property has a flat roof, is listed or is in a conservation area. In these cases, you might need to get approval from your council’s building control team, so check with your local authority.
The size of your solar PV system will depend on how much electricity you use currently, for example on a monthly or yearly basis, as well as including any potential changes in the near-future, for example changing a current petrol/diesel car for an electric car. You would also need to factor in the weather conditions where you live, if it is a particularly cloudy area, you may need a more powerful system to produce enough energy for your requirements. You may also need to consider if you want the system to help reduce your bills or if you want to be as self-sufficient as possible.
The electricity produced by your Solar Panels is converted from DC (direct current) by the inverter to AC (alternating current), which your home is run on. The electricity is then taken from the inverter via an AC cable to your distribution board, where it is used to power the circuits in your home.
If there is a power cut your inverter will switch off, which stops any generation from your Solar Panels entering the property. This is a safety feature to protect emergency responders and any workers who may be repairing the grid.
However, we can install a back-up system which will enable you to use your solar energy in a power cut.
Your panel choice will usually combine several factors including value for money, performance, guarantees and aesthetics – do you want panels that sit on top of your roof covering or panels that sit flush with the roof covering. Our team know the market and can advise you on the best panels to suit your needs.
In general, solar panels are very durable and capable of withstanding snow, wind, and hail. The various components of your solar power system will need to be replaced at different times, but your system should continue to generate electricity for 25 to 35 years.
Most domestic Solar Panel installations will take 1 to 2 days depending on the amount of panels in the system and any additional items you might choose to add to the system, such as a backup board for example. The installation of a solar PV system creates minimal disruption.
Our team start by mounting the panels on the roof initially, before moving to the area you have chosen for the inverter to be installed and finally carrying out the internal wiring to connect everything together.
Solar PV systems have no moving parts apart from the inverter and as such have long life spans. The inverter should last for around 10 years before needing to be replaced. Solar panels generally come with a 25-year warranty ensuring a minimum output during this time.
If you have a battery as part of the system, this will also come with a warranty however this varies with different brands and can be based on full charge/discharge cycles of the battery instead of a specified number of years
Solar panels are generally self-cleaning if positioned at an angle of over 15 degrees. However, it is advised to visually inspect them annually and rinse if necessary. Most window-cleaning companies have a reach-and-wash system and should be able to clean your panels.
Solar panel systems are made of durable tempered glass and require little to no maintenance for the 25+ years that they will generate power. In most cases, you don’t even need to clean them regularly, although we do recommend you inspect them annually for a build-up of dirt which could affect how much energy they produce.
If something does happen, most equipment manufacturers include warranties, although warranty terms depend on the company.
As solar panels only produce electricity during daylight hours, you would need to include a battery storage system to capture all excess generated energy to meet your needs at night-time when your panels are no longer producing electricity. Depending on how much electricity you use during the day, you may need to increase the number of panels you have in your system to be able to produce enough excess to charge the batteries for night-time use.
When you install a solar energy system on your property, you save money on your electricity bills and protect yourself against rising electricity rates in the future. How much you can save depends on the utility rates and solar policies in your area, but going solar is a smart investment regardless of where you live.
Solar power, like other renewable energy resources, has many environmental and health benefits. Going solar reduces greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change, and also results in fewer air pollutants like sulphur dioxide and particulate matter, which can cause health problems.
Reduce your electricity use
During daylight hours, your solar system will be generating electricity, even if it is cloudy. If you’re using more power around your home than your panels are generating, or during the evening when your panels are not generating any electricity, you’ll be supplementing this by importing electricity from the grid.
Reducing your electricity use can help lower your bills and reduce your carbon footprint. Try to remember to turn anything not being used off and avoid leaving things in standby mode as this still uses a small amount of electricity.
Use more electricity during the day
As your solar PV system will be working at its peak during daylight hours, it’s a good idea to run your electrical appliances such as your washing machine, dishwasher, and iron during the day. If you’re at home, then this may be easier to do, but if you are away during the day, you could try setting timers for your dishwasher and washing machine.
Combine with other renewable systems
You can combine solar PV with other renewable technologies such as heat pumps or solar hot water systems. These technologies work well with each other, as solar PV could help power a heat pump, for example.
Install a PV diverter
PV diverters are a low-cost and low maintenance option for increasing your own consumption of solar electricity (ie using the electricity generated by your own solar PV panels).
Instead of sending surplus electricity to the grid, a PV diverter switch can power the immersion heater in your hot water tank, storing hot water for you to use later. On its own, excess solar energy is unlikely to meet all your hot water needs, but it can help reduce your bills.
If you’re interested in using adding other renewable technologies, contact us to discuss how these could work with your system.