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

Overview

Solar panelsA 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 compatible with the 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.

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, but can also be ground mounted. 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 current is used by appliances and lighting for all the property's needs. When you are using electricity in the house (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 capacity of a PV cell is measured in kilowatt peak (kWp) which is the theoretical maximum power that the panels generate in maximum direct sunlight and perfect conditions.

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.

Ground mounted solar panel array in field

Return on investment

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 Government recently announced the FIT will close to new applications in March 2019 so you need to act now to get solar panels installed and receive the FIT.

The financial benefit of solar panels is composed of several elements. There is a payment that depends on the amount of electricity generated called the Feed-in-Tariff. We install a generation meter that will measure this. Readings have to be supplied periodically to the supplier. Additionally, there is a payment for electricity exported to the National Grid which is called the export tariff. 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 installing the required meters. 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 use at the times the PV system is generating, the greater the saving.

Considerations

Location
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. Isoenergy will always perform a shading assessment as part of our works to ensure the predictions on how much energy your system will create are a accurate as possible.

Planning permission
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.

Available electrical supply
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.

Structural considerations
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.

Battery storage
If the property’s electricity usage is low during the day, when the panels are generating the most, it is possible to install a battery storage system to hold on to the energy for when you need it in the evening.

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