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Solar photovoltaic

Solar PV panels generate electricity from the sun’s radiation to power your property.


Overview

A Solar PV system is made up of flat plate panels that have very thin layers of silicon. When the sun’s radiation hits the PV panels, they convert this solar energy into DC electricity. An inverter then converts this into AC electricity which is suitable for home appliances and export to the national grid.

isoenergy are MCS accredited Solar Thermal and Solar Photovoltaic installation specialists.

We work with schools, councils, housing associations, developers, architects as well as domestic consumers. We always provide a bespoke solution and achieve the Solar PV Feed In Tariff.

Here at isoenergy we continue to invest heavily into the research and development of renewable energy solutions and continue to test solar technology at our head office. We believe in the value of research to ensure we supply market leading products and provide our customers with unrivalled expertise. We are fully MCS accredited for both solar thermal and solar PV technologies.


How it works

Solar Photovoltaic systems capture the energy of the sun using PV cells to convert sunlight into electricity.

To do this, they have to be mounted facing the path of the sun. Typically, this is on a roof. You can read more about solar PV mounting options.

The PV panels produce direct current (DC) electricity which is fed directly from the panels to an inverter. The inverter converts the DC current to Alternating Current (AC). This AC current can then be used by appliances and lighting for all the property's needs. An isolator is fitted to shut off the supply to the house and isolate the system. The AC flows from the isolator into the fuse box or consumer unit. When you are using electricity (watching TV for example) it will flow directly into appliances which can be topped up by additional electricity from the national grid. If you are not using the electricity, then it can flow into the national grid, so someone else can use it. Thanks to the Feed in Tariff (FIT) you will be paid for every unit you generate and what you sell back to the grid.

The strength of a PV cell is measured in kilowatt peak (kWp) which is the power that collector generates in maximum direct sunlight.

At isoenergy we are not tied to any manufacturers, and therefore can advise clients on new technologies and what system would be the best for them.

Costs

UK Solar PV - Feed in Tariff (FIT)
The government's Feed in Tariff scheme allows property owners to receive payment for every kilowatt of electricity they generate through Solar PV systems, provided they have been installed by an MCS accredited installer such as isoenergy. This includes the electricity generated to run appliances as well as any surplus exported to the grid.

The FIT is responsible for the incredible growth of Solar PV nationwide and many installers are jumping on the bandwagon to capitalise on this. One example of this is the "rent a roof" scheme, which involves an installer fitting the solar PV system for free but collecting 100% of the FIT for 25 years and eventually receiving a profit.

isoenergy does not intend to manipulate the FIT, or to betray our ethos of high quality installs. All of our customers can rest assured that the system on their roof is entirely theirs, as is every penny of the Feed in Tariff.

Considerations

Solar PV systems depend on sunlight falling on the panels to generate electricity. Direct sunlight will generate four or five times more power than indirect or scattered sunlight. Therefore the ideal location for a PV array faces south and is tilted at about 40° to 50° above the horizontal.

The higher the sun is in the sky and the less cloudy the climate the more power will be generated. This means that the generation varies across the country and according to the seasons. The generation in winter will be much less than in summer.

The difference in performance of solar panels according to whether the light is direct or indirect means that shading from trees, chimneys or other roofs can have a significant impact on the performance of the system.

In many areas roof-mounted PV systems are permitted development and do not need specific planning permission. This is unlikely to be the case if you live in a conservation area or a listed property. A ground-mounted PV system, detached from the house, will almost certainly need planning permission.

The electrical regulations mean that small PV systems up to 4kW on a single phase or 10kW on a three-phase supply are regulated with a light touch and do not need prior approval from the electricity network operator. Systems larger than this will require approval before work starts, approval cannot be guaranteed and there may be a cost to upgrading the network to allow a system of the size requested. It is very likely that larger systems will only be permitted where there is a three-phase supply.

It is important to check that any roof that will be used for mounting solar panels is able to take the additional weight and the potential wind loads that the panels will cause. In some cases this may require an assessment by a structural engineer.

The feed-in tariff is paid by the electricity supplier. The benefit is composed of several elements. There is a payment that depends on the amount of electricity generated. We install a generation meter that will measure this. Readings have to be supplied periodically to the supplier. There is a component that is paid for electricity exported to the National Grid. In many cases this is deemed and does not need to be measured. However for larger systems there may be a requirement to meter this and the supplier can make a charge for this. The final component of the benefit is the saving from using local generated electricity rather than buying it from the grid. So the more you can arrange to use at the times the PV system is generating well the greater the saving.

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For more information please contact isoenergy on 01293 821345