Solar Panels: A quick reference guide to a UK installation

With the price of energy bills rising there has never been a better time to invest in alternative ways to meet your energy needs. Solar panels have become one of the most popular options for people seeking to reduce their reliance on conventional energy sources. They have many flexible design and installation options along with some favourable financial perks not to mention the long term benefits to our environment. The technology is always developing quickly and solar panels are an efficient green alternative, even in countries with mild climates like the UK.

solar panel

Currently at this moment in time there are financial incentives in place to encourage more people to consider installing solar panels, amongst other renewable energy systems. The government has put in place a system called feed in tariffs, which is paid to you for the energy your solar panels produce. The amount you will receive will depend on the size of your installation but a typical annual payment for an average sized system could be as much as £630.

The feed in tariff covers most parts of the UK including England, Scotland and Wales but not Northern Ireland. First you must search for an installer which can be done through the Renewable Energy Hub to get the best quotes before making a final decision. You then have to get the system installed. The time it takes to install a system varies depending on which company you choose but it is normally a swift process (in many cases just 1 day). Once everything is installed you will receive an MCS certificate from your installer. You can then make an application to your energy supplier by sending a simple form along with the MCS certificate, proof of purchase, energy performance certificate and ID.

There are some other important points to consider in regards to purchasing a solar panel system. Ideally you will have a south facing or flat roof, (if you don’t they can still be installed but the output may be decreased slightly) and the roof must not be shaded by other buildings or trees. It is crucial not to have any shade on the roof between 10 am and 4 pm in order to get maximum efficiency.

As energy bills are expected to rise considerably over the next few years there would be an increasing benefit to be derived from installing solar panels. A 4kWp system could take around £125 a year off a family’s energy bill. Greater savings can be achieved with larger installations. The price of an average 4kWp panel system, including installation costs has decreased significantly from around £10,000-£12,000 to £6000-£7000 and as the technology gets cheaper to manufacturer and more efficient, this price will continue to decrease accordingly.

For more information and advice on solar panel technology please click here.