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If you’re thinking of installing a solar photovoltaic (solar electric) system, we can offer help, advice and guidance with the following:
- Site suitability and possible limitations
- The different systems available
- Site surveys
- Grants and Feed in Tariffs
- Discussions with your energy supplier
When assessing the site, the basic decision to be made is - does the site offer a suitable location for the area of solar panels you want? The site does not have to face due south, east/west facing sites may well be suitable, but a careful assessment needs to be made to make sure the site will not be shaded by trees or other buildings.
The roof of your building is by far the most likely place for the installation of the solar panels, as it normally offers a large, flat, and solid structure on which to mount them. Other options are to mount the panels in a frame at ground level, or to mount them on a mast. A mast mounted array may either be fixed, or it may use a tracking system to point the array directly at the sun throughout the day. This is more efficient, but also more expensive, and there is a tradeoff between the cost of the tracking system and the savings made by using a smaller array.
The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS)
Because the Feed in Tariffs are effectively a government subsidy, anyone wishing to obtain them must have their system installed by a company or individual registered to the MCS. This is an independent scheme that certifies installers of microgeneration systems, and the products used in these installations. This is to ensure that the installation is completed to a high standard, and not in a way which will jeopardise the long term reliability of a system. It is a feature of solar electric systems that they have a very long design life. The output power of solar panels is guaranteed for 25 years, and it is reasonable to expect many systems to last well beyond that.
We have been called by several customers recently worried by calls, and letters they have received from companies offering a supposed free maintenance check of their solar system, or offering to upgrade their current solar inverter with a more efficient product. These sales companies have even told customers that MCS have provided their contact details.
Please be assured that MCS do not give out customer contact details - and the old adage seems to be true 'if something sounds too good to be true - it probably is'.
We recommend that an inverter be swapped only when it has been become faulty, the systems do not need any servicing or maintenance.
Ofgem have announced an increase in the tariffs payable for Air & Ground source heat pumps, and Biomass boilers from April 2017.