Is a Solar PV System Right for your Property?
Factors to consider when looking at solar PV as a renewable energy choice
Solar PV electric panels do not require bright sunlight in order to operate, they still generate electricity on cloudy days, however in general the greater the intensity of light the higher the flow of electricity.
South West England already leads the way in the UK in terms of the number of solar PV installations and the quantity of solar PV power being produced. This is probably because, according to the European Commission, South West England has the highest levels of irradiation (sunlight).
However, there are a number of other factors to consider when deciding if solar PV is the right renewable energy choice for your property.
The location of the solar panels is very important in order to maximize the performance and energy yield from the system. The ideal site is south facing at an angle of between 30 and 40 degrees, so that the array receives the maximum amount of irradiation possible. However, other orientations such as South East or South West can be viable, with a relatively low drop in expected performance.
We offer solar panel mounting systems from Fischer, Schletter and K2 that allow us to mount the panels in a place that suits your site and requirements – whether that is on top of your existing roof tiles (on roof), flush with your roof tiles (in roof) or on a flat roof or the ground. In addition to standard panels we also offer solar slates that are designed to blend in to a traditional slate roof.
Any shade from trees, neighbouring buildings or overhead cables can have a huge impact on the performance of your PV system, so panels should be sited to avoid shading as much as possible. Even if only a small part of a panel is shaded the performance of the whole system will be reduced because the panels are connected in series. A shaded cell cannot produce as much current as un shaded cells, which creates a bottleneck. To protect the panel, bypass diodes drop the current through the connected panels down to the level of the shaded panel, so reducing the power of the whole system.
To achieve maximum efficiency, all of the solar panels need to be shade free. Modest shading will reduce the power of the whole system by about 20% and significant shading by about 40%. If partial shading occurs, using micro Inverters or optimisers will reduce the impact of shading.
In most cases installing solar panels on your roof does not require planning permission as they are considered 'permitted development' under planning law. There are, however, some rules and exceptions that must be observed. For example, it is important to consult you local council's planning department for advice if your house is in an area of outstanding natural beauty or is a listed building. We are happy to advise and guide you in this area.
If you would like to find out how solar PV could work for you give us a call, email us or fill in our enquiry form to arrange a free on site assessment. We promise to give you honest advice on the suitability of solar pv for you and will design the optimum system to meet your requirements.
How Much Energy will my System Produce?
Once we have visited your site, we will be able to design a system for you and estimate the amount of energy that it will generate. We do this using a Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) calculation for solar PV, the method recommended by the government.