Information to consider before contacting a solar PV installer
Before contacting an installer it’s a good idea to check a few things first:
- Do you have enough roof space that’s facing south or as near as possible to south? The further from south your roof’s orientation, the less effective your panels will be.
- Are there any obstructions to the sunlight hitting your roof such as trees or nearby buildings? Obstructions that block the sun will have a negative effect on the output of your array.
- Is the inclination of your roof suitable for a solar panel array? 30° from the horizontal is optimal.
The majority of UK roofs have a tilt between 30° and 45° though a roof with a tilt of between 0° and 50° from the horizontal should provide a good output.
Do you have permission for the improvements? If you own your property then usually you will not need any planning permission (listed buildings are one exception). If you do not own your property then it will be necessary to attain permission before works are carried out.
There are a few things to consider here: panels on a building should be sited, where possible, to minimise the effect on the external appearance of the building. It is also important that solar panels be removed when they have reached the end of their economic life. Panels should not be installed above the highest part of the roof (not including the chimney) and should not project more than 200mm from the roof itself. Usually you can’t have solar panels installed if your property is within the bounds of a listed building. If you are unsure as to whether you would be allowed to have solar panels installed you should contact your local planning authority.
For stand-alone installations you should always contact your local planning authority.
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Ok all is good, what do I do when I am ready to buy a solar panel system?
Once you have checked the above points and wish to contact an installer, the installers will want to come and have a look at your property to give you a quote. There is no sure way of doing this over the phone or online, as every property is different. You will want the installer to be as accurate and as honest as possible, so a site visit is necessary for them to advise you of any pitfalls they may come across during the installation stage. Also, by doing so you should protect yourself from any hidden costs.
Your installer and your solar array will have to be MCS certified in order to be applicable for the feed-in tariffs. You can check the installers are regestered on their Renewable Energy Hub profile here. The equipment should also be checked online but it’s a safe bet that if your installer is MCS accredited then they will install MCS certified panels for you. Ask your chosen company to explain all this to you at the point of sale.
The cost of a solar panel system and its installation can vary in price considerably so make sure you get at least three quotes from reputable installers, and do as much research as possible this is as simple as sending a single email by using the below search for an installer tool.
All MCS approved installers should provide you with a detailed breakdown of the specifications of their proposed system. They should complete a technical survey in person before giving a quote and provide an estimate of how much electricity will be produced by the proposed system.
If you are not sure which technology is best for your home, business or budget, there is a renewable energy consultant section in our search renewable energy installer database. Their job is to come and assess your property and look at what renewable energy technology will have the best impact on your home or business and which is likely to give the best energy savings and financial returns. In some cases the initial costs of the technology can be paid for by the immediate savings you will make on your energy bills.
The feature below allows you to find a local or national Solar PV installers for both domestic and commercial properties. You can ask them for information or to visit you, have a chat and give a free, no obligation quotation.
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