Is My Property Suitable For Solar Panels?
In an ideal scenario, the perfect roof for solar PV is relatively large, south facing and has an angle of between 30º and 45º. However, the beauty of solar PV is that with the right specification and Eco Fortis design even non-perfect roofs will achieve fantastic results.
We’ve put some details together to help you with whether your property is suitable for solar PV, but in the finality if you have some specific questions contact us today for more information.
Here are some basic considerations:
You will need enough space to install solar panels on your roof. The exact space required will depend on the size of the solar panel system you have installed. An average solar panel system will need 21 sq m roof space. The minimum space you will need will be approximately 8 sq m for a 1kW system. The area where the solar panels will be installed on your roof should also be shade free for the majority of the day.
The vast majority of roofs in the UK are structurally capable of taking the weight of solar panels. Roofs are designed to take loads of around 100Kg per square metre so are more than capable of supporting the weight of solar panels. That said, Belectrix expert will go thorough survey of your roof before commencing any installation to ensure your roof is suitable.
The angle of your roof is another factor to consider. Solar panels can be installed to pitched roof and flats roofs. Ideally, your roof will be a pitched roof between 10 and 60 degrees. However, an angled frame can be used on flat roofs to make them suitable for solar panels.
Conservation or Listed Buildings
Whilst most homes do not need planning permission to install solar panels, if your home is a listed building or in a conservation area you should speak to your council about whether you will need planning permission.
The direction of your roof impacts how much electricity your solar panels will produce. The ideal direction is South, but West and East facing roofs will still perform well. If you are not sure which direction your roof faces, you can use Google Maps to find out.
To install solar panels at your house you must be, or have the permission of, the homeowner. Rented homes can still install solar panels but you must have the permission of the landlord and the FiT payments are likely to go to them.
The further south you are in United Kingdom, the more light that will hit your solar PV panels. While solar PV is very popular in the south, it is still possible to achieve good performance and therefore significant financial returns further north.
Energy Performance Certificate
On 1st April 2012, the government made some significant changes to the way in which the feed in tariff operates. Only homes with an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of D or above are permitted to claim the full benefits of the feed in tariff.
The government has made conservative estimates, which suggest that approximately half of UK homes meet grade D. There is still a considerable amount of housing stock, including older buildings in particular that require modifications to improve energy efficiency. Some of the ways in which you can make improvements include a new boiler and insulation.
If you install a solar PV system however, it counts as 1 point under the new regulations and as such it is enough to take you into the next band. Therefore, if your property is currently rated E, you should apply for your EPC following the installation of a solar PV system. If you follow this process, your property should then be rated D.
Energy performance certificates were previously part of the home information pack, which has been scrapped. You may already have an energy performance certificate, but if you don’t Sustain are on hand to support you where necessary. We can take you through the details over the phone and give you all the guidance that you require.
The inverter is the largest piece of equipment that needs to be installed inside the property. Ideally, there needs to be a clear space around it for cool air to circulate, so we recommend a space of approximately 1 m². The inverter is typically installed in the loft, as this reduces the amount of cable to run from the solar PV system to the inverter. Another ideal location for the inverter would be a garage which is attached to the property as it will be accessible but out of the way.
In ideal circumstances there should be space next to your existing meter or consumer unit. We will need to install a separate consumer unit, potentially, if there is no room within the current consumer unit, an isolator and a generation meter. We will typically mount any of this new equipment on a board which is attached to the wall
Most domestic properties have a single-phase connection, which will support a solar PV system of up to 4kWp. A system of this size is usually the maximum size for a domestic property.
For larger solar PV systems it may be necessary to seek permission from the distribution network operator (DNO), given that the electricity production is greater and more electricity is likely to be directed back to the grid.
The necessary alterations to the property may not be possible and due to the age of the property the roof structure may not be strong enough to support a solar PV system.
Each scenario is different and we will have to assess the property in detail before making any recommendations.