Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to common questions
Solar PV enables you to generate your own electricity using a Photo-Voltaic (PV) process. Generating your own electricity is called micro-generation.
Solar PV only needs light and not heat from the sun to make it work. Solar PV is different to Solar Thermal panels which are designed to heat hot water and are more dependent on sunshine rather than just daylight.
Solar PV works in a similar way to a Solar Powered Calculator generating its own power without the need for direct sunlight all the year round
So why all the interest in Solar PV?
Because it’s a good financial investment while at the same time saving you money on your electricity and helping to do your bit for lowering your carbon footprint.
The benefits vary slightly between Business or a Domestic users, but the major ones are:
- The Government backed Feed-in-Tariff program (FITS) – What is FITS? (new page @ Department Of Energy and Climate Change)
- FITS is a 20 year agreement
- FITS payments are index linked annually to the Retail Price Index
- Capital Allowances for businesses
- Income Tax-free for domestic users
- FITS pays you to generate electricity. You will receive a payment for every unit of electricity your system generates. As you generate electricity you can use it – for free. And if you are not able to use the free electricity you will receive a payment for each unit that feeds back to the grid. And until you have a smart meter fitted it is assumed that you feed back 50% of the electricity even if you use all of it. See FITS rates (new page @ Ofgem)
- Helps your Green Credentials, reducing your Carbon Footprint
- Payback is usually from 7 – 10 years (5 – 8 years for businesses)
- Payback gives up to 10% return on investment (15% for businesses) – try to find an ISA (or anything!) to pay that!
- A reliable ‘Government backed’ investment
- Proven technology – some PV panels have been in operation for 40 years
To find out what this can mean for you, call 01386 80 2020 or get in touch and we can arrange to carry out a free, no obligation, survey to establish all the benefits Solar PV can give.
How much electricity can Solar PV panels generate?
An average domestic home uses around 5,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) in a year. A 6-panel Solar PV installation will generate about a third of this. However, the key point to remember is that the return you receive from generating this starts from £450 per year for the smallest systems we provide. If your home or business premises has a larger roof area, installing a Solar PV system can create a significant, predictable income.
Can Landlords benefit from installing Solar PV?
FITS is paid to the owner of a property, so Landlords of both domestic and commercial properties can create additional income from Solar PV. Housing associations can benefit too.
Can Solar PV benefit everyone?
Roofs are mostly used but almost anywhere will benefit from installing Solar PV, East west roofs or in some cases North east or North west.
But to gain financial benefit effectively your Solar PV system must be connected to the grid. For example, an outbuilding in an isolated field would have an additional cost to connect to the grid which may not be cost-effective.
Watch out for people offering you “free” or “cheaper” electricity with no capital investment by renting your roof.
They will effectively reap all of the benefits from the Government incentives, handing you a paltry amount and you’ll have given up your rights to your own roof! If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re unsure, check out the advice from WHICH?
How do I apply for the FiT Scheme?
We’ve got the details on our FITS subsidies page.
If you need advice, call our team on 01386 80 2020 or get in touch.
Can I get finance for Solar PV?
Businesses may be able to get finance through a Carbon Trust backed scheme. We also have a range of partners who may be able to offer finance – call us on 01386 80 2020 or get in touch for more details.