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What is Solar Photovoltaic and how does it work?

Solar Photovoltaic or Solar PV systems are panels formed from solar cells that are connected together to form an array. An array of panels can be either roof mounted or ground based. The panels are set out facing the sun and can convert the energy from the sunlight directly into electricity. You can use the energy you produce for free and you can claim payments for the generation of the electricity called a Feed in Tariff – FIT.

Why should I have solar panels installed and what are the benefits?

If you install a PV system you will be reducing the cost of your electricity supply because you will not need to buy as much from the grid.  You will also be reducing your impact on the environment, and you will also be able to claim Feed in Tariff (FIT) payments for the next 20 years for the electricity you generate, whether you use it yourself or not.  These payments are index linked so they rise with RPI each year. If your system generates more electricity than you use you could also apply to claim the export tariff, which again is index linked and payable for 20 years.

What is a Feed in Tariff?

The Feed in Tariff referred to as FITs came into effect on 1st April 2010. This is a UK government scheme that provides a financial incentive to install small-scale renewable systems to enable the UK to meet its carbon reduction targets.  Under the FIT scheme, we would install a PV array on your property (we can do this because we are a government-approved contractor accredited under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme) and we would also install a meter to measure how much electricity your system generates. You would then be eligible for quarterly payments from an electricity supplier for the next 20 years. If the building uses little or no electricity you can still claim payment for producing the electricity and sell back the energy you do not use for a further payment called an Export Tariff.

Is my building/site suitable for solar panels?

Almost any property or land can have solar panels installed if there is space, however the positioning of the system is key in producing enough electricity to be able to benefit from the tariff payback and offset the cost of the installation.  Ideally you will need to have a south facing roof or area of land (subject to planning permission) where the panels can be positioned in this direction. The panels will need to be in full sunlight with no shadowing from trees or other obstructions. If you are not sure our experienced personnel will be able to advise you or suggest any possible alternative if at all feasible.

What happens when it is not sunny or at night?

Most Solar Systems are connected to the utility power grid and when the panels are generating little or no electric such as at night time, you would just use your electricity from your utility supplier in the normal way.

How much will it cost to install?

Of course this would be dependent on the size of the system, the number of panels and quality of the products that are required so it would be difficult to give you costs without knowing your individual specifications.  Also due recent government legislation changes the solar product market has become very competitive and we would be happy to give you a quote free of charge.  Please call or email us so we can arrange a visit to assess your requirements.

Can I just install the system myself?

Yes you can if you are a qualified trades person, but we strongly recommend that you don’t if you are not registered with the Government’s Microgeneration Certification Scheme. You will find that you will be unable to benefit from the Feed in Tariff payments, which are only applicable to MCS registered installations using MCS Registered Manufacturers products, you would also be unable to sell any unused electricity back to the Grid. You may also find that a non-registered installation is not covered under any insurance or product warranties, so you would be taking a very big risk with your investment.

Once installed, how do I know that the system is working?

Firstly you will be able to check and see that your meter reading will increase after the panels have been exposed to sunlight for a period of time. Secondly we can connect an internet-linked monitoring device that will check the status & performance of your system.

What is a monitoring device?

NWT use Solar-Log which is an internet based monitoring system, which can be operated on site or via internet browser connection, and also available with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Not only is your yield data clearly presented to show how well your installation is functioning, it will also detect and report on any errors or faults instantaneously potentially preventing any significant loss of downtime hours.

How long does the installation last and are there any product guaranties?

Because solar systems have no moving parts, they very reliable and require little maintenance. Solar modules come with a manufacturer’s warranty for a lifecycle of between 20 and 25 years. Depending on the quality, the installation can last up to 30 years or more. PV modules will continue to function even when they get old, although their output will begin to diminish after about 20 years but with most products this is should be no more than 20% of nominal. Modern inverters have a useful life of up to 20 years. The products NWT use in their installations have a manufacturers warranty of 10 years, and a linear power output guarantee of 25 years. We will provide the certification documents of all the products used.

What happens if I want to sell the property?

When you come to sell your property, your FIT payments and any Export tariff that you may receive are transferred to the new owner, enabling you take this remuneration into account upon valuation.

How do I get started?

The FIT payments and electricity bill savings make the installation of a PV system a very attractive financial investment, and of course you will be doing your part in reducing carbon emissions. All our quotes not only include the cost of the system but a calculator showing the payback estimation of how much you could earn by installing PV, and how quickly your investment will pay for itself. Please use our contact form or call us on 01444 470018, we look forward to hearing from you.