Solar PV

Would you like to generate your own free electricity and reduce your electricity bills?
Would you like to earn a tax free income from your roof ?
A Solar PV system on your roof could generate an income and savings of up to £492 per year whilst reducing your household’s carbon footprint by 1 tonne of CO2 per year.

A Solar PV (Photovoltaic) system captures the sun’s energy using photovoltaic (PV) cells.  These cells convert radiation from the sun into electricity, which can then be used to run electrical household appliances and lighting.

PV cells generate direct electrical current (DC) which flows to an inverter.  The inverter converts DC electricity into alternating electrical current (AC).  The AC current then goes into your main electricity supply via your consumer unit (fuse board).  Solar PV panels work at their optimum in bright sunshine but they will still generate electricity when it’s cloudy.

PV panels on the roof of a domestic property won’t generate enough electricity to meet the total requirements of an average household.  A typical system can produce around 40% of what you use.

Feed-in Tariffs

Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) were introduced by the Government on the 1st April 2010 in order to help the UK achieve an important EU target: 15% of the UK’s energy to be sourced from renewable energy systems by 2020. FIT’s are basically a cash-back scheme that pays people for generating their own ‘green’ electricity. Tariffs vary depending on the type and size of system you install.  For more information on FITs, click here.

Cost and Benefits

(Please note figures quoted assume south facing, 30° pitch, no over-shading, 50% of energy generated is used and current energy cost of 12p/kWh)

The cost of a Solar PV system ranges from £3,850 for a 1.5kW system up to £7,445 for a full size domestic system on a standard installation (inc. VAT).

The payback time will vary depending on the cost of the system and the output that can be achieved but it generally works out at around 8-10 years for a full size domestic system.  If you assume 2% inflation and an annual increase in energy costs of 3%, the return on investment over the 25 year life of the panels for a 4kWp system calculates at around £28,600, that’s an average annual rate of return of around 14%.

However, the performance of solar PV systems is impossible to predict with certainty due to the variability in the amount of solar radiation (sunlight) from location to location and from year to year. The figures used here are based upon the Government’s standard assessment procedure (SAP) for energy rating of buildings and are provided for your guidance only.

Positioning your Solar PV system

There are a number of different mounting options for a PV system: roof mounted, wall mounted and ground mounted.  The output of a solar PV system will be determined by the direction the array faces and the angle of inclination.  South facing and 30 degree pitch will give maximum output.  However, good performance can still be gained from different positions.

For more information about Solar PV including feed-in tariffs, planning permission, building control and prices- click here.