With so much to consider before taking on a self build project; from researching products and plots to finding trusted tradesmen and sticking to budgets, sometimes we just want the answers to our questions in one simple place!

We have put together a comprehensive list of questions and answers to guide you through your self build journey, with knowledge from industry experts and our very own energy advisers.


Why are self builders choosing to incorporate solar?

Over half of all self build projects now incorporate solar, not only to tick the ‘green’ box, but to future-proof the property in the long-term from unstoppable rises in energy bills. Installing solar will also offset the cost of your investment with lifetime energy savings and a 20 year, guaranteed, tax free income. Solar will also hugely increase the energy efficiency of your home.


How does solar work?

A solar panel is made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells. The cells directly convert light into direct current (DC) electricity. The inverter converts DC into an alternating current (AC) electricity so it is safe for use. The AC electricity then provides power to your home and appliances.

How much space do I need on my roof for solar?

Typically, the size of a panel is 1 x 1.7 metres. The number of panels installed would depend on your circumstances. We have a test site in Bristol for a number of manufactured solar panels to be tested in the British climate to ensure we only install the best performing technology.


How will solar be attached to my roof?

Here at Solar Plants, our installation team are trained to install solar panels in a variety of methods. This allows us to adapt to each project. We can install on-roof solar PV systems but also integrated solar (when the panels are flushed in the roof). For other roofs, like a standing seam roof, we would install the solar panels with non-penetrative clamps. We also offer the installation of thin-film solar PV laminates which is complementary to a standing seam roof. Finally, solar tiles (also known as solar shingles/ solar slates) are an innovative solution which we can help include in your designs and install for your project


How will the design of the panels be incorporated into my project plans?

The design of the panels will be determined with you rather than for you. With our professional advice, we can help design and recommend the best possible solar PV system for your project. However, we will listen to you and take what you say into consideration to design your PV system. Our team will liaise with you from the beginning so you understand solar, how it can be incorporated into your designs and that you are fully supported from start to finish.


How will solar work with other renewable heat?

Solar is always making advances as the investment in research and development increases. With a solar PV system, you can now use the surplus energy produced to also heat your water. The technology can also complement other renewables – for example, an air source heat pump is a great addition to your home so you can reduce your gas bills. However, this addition would increase your electricity bill. With the combination of the two renewables, all of your energy bills decrease to a low cost. Also, the installation of battery storage means that a number of renewable energies which produce electricity can all be used to charge the battery. You can also store excess solar energy within the battery for use in the evenings.


How much does solar cost?

A solar PV system starts from as little as £5600. We can give you a specific quote for technology tailored to your energy requirements, aesthetic appeal and budget.


Can I save money by self building?

Yes. A properly planned and executed self build project should see a saving of up around 10-25% in comparison to the purchase of a similar ready built property. You will save money by cutting out ‘the middle man’ (i.e. the developer) and by paying stamp duty only on the land purchase price.


Why self build?

Perhaps the most attractive aspect of self building is the control that you have to create and build a home completely personal to you and your family. Rather than relying on off-the-shelf options, you’ll be in the best possible position to tackle areas such as making best use of your plot, maximising views and natural light, achieving greater levels of comfort and energy-efficiency. “You get to decide how your house is designed so that it dovetails perfectly with the way you live your life,” says Mike Hardwick, a project manager and self-build expert for the National Self Build & Renovation Centre.


Is self build for me?

In short, people from all walks of life self build and it’s not just the vast, ‘grand designs’ that are often portrayed on TV, there are many modest, family homes that are self built too. Every year, rather than buy a standard developer-built property, around 13,000 people choose to self-build their own homes. From young people priced out of the first-time buyers’ housing market, to families desperate to move out of flats/ inner city homes where they can build their dream homes with the luxury of gardens and somewhere to park the car, and retirees who have money tied up in large family homes where the children have moved out – many people can self build their dream home!