Solar power is widely used across Europe with the largest concentration of PV systems being in Germany which has a climate similar to our own.
Solar PV systems don't require direct sunlight to operate and will even work on cloudy days. Given the UK's location, it does mean that the performance of your photovoltaic system will be seasonal. This means you can expect to generate up to 6x's more energy in July than in December due to longer daylight hours during the summer months. This is a good thing as the generation of electricity you do not use, you can then sell back to the grid.
What is Solar PV?
Solar PV systems capture the suns energy using photovoltaic cells (PV). The cells convert the sunlight to electricity which can then be used for household appliances and lighting.
Photovoltaic cells convert the solar radiation into electricity. Solar panels are constructed with one or two layers of a conducting material, usually Silicon, and then covered with reinforced glass for protection. Sunlight, also known as photons that fall onto the panel causes the flow of electrons from one atom to another creating a charge. The greater the intensity of the sunlight the greater the flows of electricity however, direct sunlight is not needed as such, just general day light will produce electricity.
Several cells are joined together which forms a module, several modules joined together form a solar PV panel, increasing the overall voltage output of the cells. More panels can then be electrified together which increases the size and power output of the solar PV array.
The electricity that is created from this process is what is known as 'DC electric' similar to battery power. In order to use this electricity in the house this must be converted to 'AC electricity' using an inverter which will then allow the electricity to flow into the house and be used by the home owner on household appliances and lighting, or alternatively fed back into the grid.
Why is Solar a Renewable Energy?
With enough solar energy reaching the earth's surface every hour to provide all the power the world needs for a year, solar PV is fast becoming an essential component of the long term solution to our energy needs. As solar technologies have improved and conventional energy prices rise, it is an increasing economic choice.
The amount of solar energy reaching the surface of the planet is so vast that in 1 year it is about as much as will ever be obtained from all the earth's non-renewable resources such as coal, natural gas, oil, and mined uranium (nuclear) combined!
This vast energy reserve is inexhaustible and along with other forms of renewable energy, will never run out!
Advantages of Solar PV
By installing a PV system you can benefit from the government backed Feed In Tariff earning between 9 -13% return on the cost of your system. This means the cost of your installation will be recouped in less than 10 years and the remaining 15 years of the 20 year tariff will be pure profit.
In reality with certain rising energy costs the combined effect of the payments you receive plus the savings you will make on your energy bills will reduce this payback time even more.
Feed in tariff payments are indexed linked therefore will rise in line with inflation ensuring your investment is protected and the payments you receive rise with the cost of living.
In addition to this, more benefits include:
- Drastically reducing your electricity bills
- Reduces your homes carbon footprint
- Inexhaustible supply of renewable energy
- Adds value to the sale of your house
PV systems require very little maintenance.
Solar PV Tariff table
Installations registered ON or AFTER 1st August 2012 - please note, Export Tariff increases to 4.5p/k
FIT year 3 (2012/13)
|System size for installation||For eligible installs with an eligibility date on or after 1st August 2012 and before 1st November 2012 (p/kWh)||For eligible installs with an eligibility date on or after 1st November 2012 and before 1st February 2013|
|Higher Rate||Lower Rate||Higher Rate||Lower Rate|
|4KW (new build)||16.00||7.10||15.44||7.10|
* Lower tariff is awarded if an EPC Level D or above is not me or included in the Fit application.
Although cuts in payments for the Feed in Tariff have recently been reduced to 16p for generation, this still provides an excellent return on investment as shown below.
These are solar PV system sizes which we most commonly install. Have a look to see how much money you could earn in the course of a year, and how long it would take before recouping the cost of your installation.
|2.0kWp System||2.5kWp System||3.0kWp System||4.0kWp System|
|System Output Peak (w)||2000||2500||3000||4000|
|Estimated System Output (kWh)||1663||2097||2530||3408|
|Generation Payment @ 16p (£)||266||335||405||545|
|Export Payment @ 50% x 4.5p (£)||37||47||57||77|
|Savings Made @ 50% x 15p (£)||124||157||190||256|
|Total Payments/Savings (£)||427||539||652||876|
|Annual Return on Investment (%)||8.5%||10.3%||11.3%||13.2%|
|Payback time (yrs)||11.8 years||9.3 years||8.6 years||7.6 years|
|+VAT @ 5%||£240||£250||£275||£315|
What does the installation involve?
There are three main components of a solar PV system, these include;
- Solar Panels - which convert sunlight (photons) to DC electric
- The Inverter - which converts the DC electric to AC electric to use in the home
- The Mounting System - which attaches the panels firmly to the supporting structure, be it a roof, the ground or facade.
We keep track of all our systems, monitoring their performance and confirming the quality of the equipment we use. We are always researching the best panels on the market which offers a combination of best performance and best value for money.
We source panels from a very select number of manufacturers which meet very exacting requirements. Amongst which are build quality, performance and price. We offer only the best in terms of these requirements, such as Trina Solar and REC solar which as well as being class leading in performance, offer the best carbon payback time of any panel.
Germany is the world leader in Solar Technology with a reputation for excellence in engineering and SMA is no exception. As one of the market leaders it guarantees high efficiency and reliability for the life of the system. In addition their inverters are produced using clean energy, and are manufactured in the largest zero carbon factory in the world.
We also offer Power One an American Brand which has rapidly become the second largest manufacturer of solar inverters in the world. They have developed a reputation for quality, performance and value for money, and now offer a 10 year warranty as standard.
In situations where shading is an issue or the panels lie in different orientations, we would recommend installing Solar Edge equipment; a type of micro inverter system which reduces the dramatic effect that shading can have on a solar PV array. Power controllers are mounted to the back of each panel, letting each panel work to a maximum, contributing to the overall output of the system. System software is then downloaded and the consumer can log in to monitor their generation live online. Solar edge also comes with a class leading warranty on all their equipment.
Our mounting system
The mounting system we use is of our own design manufactured in both the UK and EU. It is made of the highest quality aluminium and stainless steel. It is corrosion proof and has passed the MCS012 accreditation for solar mounting systems which was introduced early last year.
We use the hook and rail mounting system for conventionally pitched roofs. Be it tile or slate we have a well proven technique for solidly mounting the array to the structure of the roof. If your preference is for an integrated mounting system, we can also offer this.
We can install panels on flat roofs, agricultural and commercial structures including Kalzip roofs. We also have several ground mounting options from aesthetically pleasing 4.0kWp garden friendly systems to 50kWp + field mounted arrays.
Here at Green Energy Generation our customers' requirements are our target to meet. We make sure we do our absolute best to provide a system that is individual to YOU!
If you would like to enquire about Solar PV installation, please call us on 01670 828695 (Northumberland), or 01751 432096 (North Yorkshire).