What benefiting from solar panel technology really feels like.
A guide to PV solar panels
Technology that last longer than your mortgage.
PV (Photovoltaic) solar panels generate electricity using the sun's rays. 'Photo' refers to the Photons, which hit the panel, and 'voltaic' refers to the volts of electricity which are produced when a chemical reaction takes place within the panel cells.
These panels are divided into two types:
Thin slices cut from a single crystal of silicon with a typical efficiency of 15%. Slightly more expensive, but offer a higher peak output of 280-320 Watts per panel.
Thin slices cut from silicon crystals with a typical efficiency of 12% and gives a maximum output of 180 Watts per panel.
Sell electricity to the National Grid with grid connected PV systems. Generate electricity for yourself and export the excess power to the National Grid. Amazingly, you will be paid even if you use the power yourself.
You can put the panels together to make a system ranging from a minimum of 1KW going up to a max of 5KW for domestic installations, producing from 750 kWh to 4500 kWh per year.
With no moving parts, this technology lasts for many years with no maintenance required.
Once installed, your system will be at your service for 25-30 years in the UK climate.
A guide to solar heating panels
A super-efficient system for water heating.
Flat-plate Solar heating panels and evacuated solar tubes heat up hot water in your hot water tank supplying you with a constant supply of hot water, and in some cases space heating during the daylight hours. You won't need to use your existing boiler in the summer, while using it less in the winter months too.
These panels are divided into three types:
The most traditional form is flat-plate technology, this panel heats up an anti-freeze compound called Glycol which circulates through heat exchangers in your tank to provide solar heated water.
Evacuated solar tubes
An efficient way of heating your hot water tank using the sun's ray, giving the best performance of all solar heating technologies.
This third-generation way of heating, hot water and central heating using ambient atmospheric temperatures. This new hybrid technology works all year round, day and night, rain or shine. No government incentive is available for thermodynamic systems at this time.
Evacuated solar tubes are the best performing system, but flat-plate panels are popular because they can be integrated like a Velux window.
Solar heating systems require a maintenance service every 3-4 years, but this can be integrated into your installation deal.
A more modern thermal storage tank can be fitted to integrate multiple renewable energy sources.
Your solar heating system can be at your service for 25-30 years within the UK climate.
Beginners questions about solar panels
Do I need planning permission?
No. From the 6th of April 2008 planning permission will not be required for most solar panel installations, unless you live in a listed building. Even then, most councils will allow solar panels in most cases.
Is my roof compatible?
Most homes in the UK are suitable for solar panels. If you have a South, South East, Southwest or East and West facing roof space un-obscured by shading, then yes. Your internal plumbing/electrics will need to be checked through an on-site survey before the installation process begins.
Grants are no longer available, but replaced by the feed-in tariff scheme which pays a set amount for every kWh of electricity or heat generated. This applies to any domestic and commercial installation.
Even the UK receives 60% of the sun's radiation compared to the equatorial regions. Each square metre of the United Kingdom receives between 900 to 1,300 kWh of energy annually, so this technology does work in northern climates too.
In most cases, no, however, if you have 'Part P' electrical and plumbing skills, then it may be possible to install in a daily capacity. DIY flat-plate, PV and evacuated tube kits are available.
DIY installing can work out much cheaper, however, you will not be eligible for the generous feed-in tariff schemes currently available. All eligible installations must be carried out and certified, by an accredited MCS solar panel installer to qualify.
Solar technology is not a one size fits all. Installations for both heating and electric can be complicated, due to many isues such as roof access, layout and internal factors. Solar panel technologies varies in size, so potential installers will need to do an on-site survey of your property to truly establish your options and costs.
Request a survey and keep a copy of the data.
Why compare technologies, why compare quotes?
Because of the various different technologies available on the market, it is always wise to know what you are being quoted for. Quotes can vary widely across the industry, so it's worth knowing your monocrystalline from your polycrystalline photovoltaic panels or the heat advantage of evacuated tubes over their flat-plate cousins.
Compare installation quotes for different types of technology the easy way. If you're not sure yet, then we can help you make a wiser decision through our trusted and time-served installers.
Get a quote.
All our MCS solar panel installers are RECC scheme (Renewable Energy Consumer Code) members and work throughout England, Scotland and Wales.