Our solar panels give fantastic savings and are guaranteed for 20 years. The ability to convert daylight into energy gives you an endless supply of power.
Remember... electricity prices are expected to rise over the next 3 years.
Solar energy does not require bright sunlight to work. On cloudy days our panels will still generate electricity. They work best on a south facing roof that will benefit from the most daylight and the panels are most effective when the sun is shining, providing the excess energy that is sold to the national grid.
- FREE electricity
- Generate a financial return
- Effective even on cloudy days
- Independent advice
The government's Feed-In Tariff means that you will see a financial return from the solar panels which shows on your quarterly bill. So, apart from FREE electricity for yourself, you receive a payment for your contribution to the national grid.
There are many Solar Panel manufacturers round the world, mainly in Asia, but also in Europe and America. Typically, each Solar Panel:
- Is either Blue or Black in colour within an aluminium frame which can also be natural or black. The colour difference is due to the use of either Polycrystalline (blue) or Monocrystalline (black) photovoltaic silicon cells. Monocrystalline cells are more efficient in tropical areas. In the United Kingdom there is no real difference.
- Each Solar Panel is usually made up of 60 individual Solar cells to produce electricity, although some Panels use 90 cells to increase the amount of electricity produced within the same size of Solar Panel.
- The amount of electricity generated by the most often used Solar Panel is 250w. Some Solar Panels generate more than 250w within the same size. The type of electricity generated is Direct Current (DC).
- The size of each Solar Panel is usually about I metre by 1.6 metres and has a depth of 40 mm. Therefore, it is important to calculate the area where the Solar Panels are to be fitted to ensure the most efficient use of the space available.
- Has a surface of toughened glass which is anti-reflective and self-cleaning. Rigorous testing is carried out by most manufacturers to ensure many years of trouble free use.
- Usually have a 10 year product warranty and a 25 year linear power output warranty. Solar Panels do degrade of time. However, the linear power output warranty means that after 25 years, the power produced by each Solar Panel will be at least 80% of that from new.
The Inverter is what converts the DC power from the Solar Panels to Alternate Current (AC), the type of power used by the consumer and The National Grid. Inverters are therefore essential and it is important to understand the types available to make an informed choice.
- The type of Inverter(s) used will depend on the power generated and the connections used for the Solar Panel Array.
- Currently, there are two types of Inverter used; either a Single Inverter System for the whole Solar Panel Array or each Solar Panel has an Inverter of its own, known as a Microinverter System. In addition, a Power Optimiser can be attached to each Solar Panel to be used with a Single Inverter System.
- A Single Inverter System is commonly known as a ‘String System’. Each Solar Panel is connected, one by one, to each other and the end Solar Panel is connected to the Single Inverter. The Inverter then transfers the electricity to the Storage Battery or the Consumer Unit for use. The main advantage of the Single Inverter System is cost. The disadvantage is that the electricity generated from the whole Solar Panel array will depend on all the Solar Panels working to their most efficient. If just one Solar Panel were to fail or have a reduced output (due to shadow, leaves, snow, etc.) the whole Solar Panel array will imitate that one Solar Panel.
- A Power Optimiser can be attached to each individual Solar Panel in a Solar Panel Array using a Single Inverter System. The Power Optimiser then aligns the electricity generated from each Solar Panel to the capacity of the Inverter. This means that should any Solar Panel fail or have a reduction in electricity generated, the remaining Solar Panels increase generation, if possible, to meet the capacity of the Inverter. The advantage of Power Optimisers is that it overcomes the disadvantage of a Single Inverter System. The disadvantage is that there is an additional cost.
- A Microinverter System is when each individual Solar Panel in a Solar Panel Array has an Inverter of its own (a Microinverter). As its names suggests, each Microinverter is small enough to fit under each individual Solar Panel and can therefore not be seen when installed. The conversion from Direct Current (DC) to Alternate Current (AC) takes place at each Solar Panel. The advantage of a Microinverter System is that no DC enters the property of the consumer, each Solar Panel works independently and therefore not effected by the failure or reduction in electricity generated by any of the other Solar Panels in the Array and an increase in the electricity generated from the Solar Panel Array compared to a Single Inverter System. The disadvantage of a Microinverter System is the additional cost.
- Single Inverters usually have a warranty of between 5 and 12 years. However, this can be increased by an extended warranty, at additional cost, at the time the Inverter is purchased. Power Optimisers usually have a warranty of 20 years. A Microinverter usually has a warranty for 20 years.
Solar Panel Array Installation
A Solar Panel Array and Inverter(s) must be fitted in place by Qualified Installers. The qualification that Installers must obtain to carry out their work is controlled and monitored by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). MCS Installers must also provide the consumer with a 10 year guarantee for the installation works. To carry out the Installation:
- There will be a need for access equipment. The type of access equipment will depend on the property on which the Solar Panel Array is to be installed.
- When installed on a roof, a Solar Panel must not be less than 200mm from any edge.
- The time taken for Installation is usually 1 day.
- An Installer will first remove or lift the roof tiles to fix an aluminium bracket to the roof rafters followed by a waterproof sealant. The tiles will then be replaced. A set of aluminium rails are then attached to brackets and the Solar Panels (and Microinverter, if used) are attached to the rails.
- The Installer will then fit the Inverter (on a Single Inverter System), the Storage Battery (if used) and complete all the wiring to the Consumer Unit.
- A performance test is carried out to ensure everything is working as it should.