As the Government Feed-In Tariff incentive scheme is set to end March 31st, many people are making the decision to install a solar PV system while the scheme is still available. Now is a great time to look into solar, so to help you with your research or aid with your decision making, we have answered some of our most frequently asked questions below.

How does solar PV work?

During the day, solar panels either on your roof or on a nearby plot of land turn sunlight into DC electricity. An inverter within your home will then turn the DC electricity generated into AC electricity which will power your home appliances. There is a huge misconception that solar panels only work when it is sunny, however, panels simply require daylight to work – so your panels will generate energy all year round!

What is the Government incentive?

The Feed-In Tariff is a scheme introduced by the government, which is paid directly to you for generating clean, renewable energy. There are two parts to the Feed-In Tariff; the export tariff and the generation tariff. The energy your solar panels generate will run via a generation meter which will measure exactly how much electricity your solar panels have generated. This will give you the reading that you will submit to your energy provider and your energy provider will send you your payments either quarterly or annually. The payments are currently worth up to £7,000 over the 20 year period of your system, however, the scheme is ending on March 31st which means there is little time left to install a PV system with the added bonus of the Feed-In Tariff scheme!

Can I still switch energy supplier if I have solar PV?

You can still change energy supplier exactly the same way you would without a solar PV system, it’s great to regularly shop around to get the best deals and tariffs. You can choose to keep your Feed-In Tariff payments with your original supplier or swap your Feed-In Tariff payments when you change supplier. Some people like to switch energy supplier and use the payments to pay offset the cost of their energy bills but others choose to keep the payments coming from the original supplier to avoid any extra form filling – it’s completely up to you!

What happens to my solar panels if I move house?

If you move home, you are likely to be leaving the solar panels on the property, so the Feed-In Tariff payments will transfer to the new owner. Solar panels can increase the value of your home: cheap energy bills, a clean energy supply and a regular income will be a huge bonus to a property for any potential buyers!

Is planning permission required for solar panels?

As Planning permission is not permitted for residential solar PV systems unless you live in a conservation area, where you may be required to get planning permission. However, with options of ground-mounted solar and solar tiles, these unobtrusive options may be much more favourable within these areas.

Can I go off grid with solar panels?

This is a common question and it simplifies what being off grid really means. If your property doesn’t have a grid connection (e.g. electricity or gas) then you are off-grid. We have a dedicated department which specifies in this field and can offer solutions for customers who require energy.

However, many customers with a grid connection ask the same question. With solar PV and battery storage, you can become more self-sufficient but we wouldn’t recommend disconnecting your property from the grid. You can produce your own free energy and rely on this predominantly whilst depending on the grid very rarely.

Are there different solar PV designs?

As solar PV has grown in popularity, the aesthetics of panels has improved alongside performance. As well as the traditional on-roof type of installation, you can also have in-roof and ground-mounted installations. The in-roof solutions can vary from traditional solar panels installed on the felt and batten rather than on your tiles/slates. We also offer solutions such as PV slates/tiles which perform as a traditional panel but mimic the aesthetics of normal roofing material.

We can also install solar in various circumstances like flat roofs, standing seam roofs and commercial properties. If you’re not sure, just ask – we’ll be happy to help.

Does my roof need to be a certain size/orientation?

To give you an idea, the size of an average solar panel is 1 x 1.7m. Here at Solar Plants, we have our own test site in Bristol where we monitor the production of a range of different panels and only install the best performing technology. Depending on which panel we install for you will determine how much roof space is required to offset against your energy usage. Usually, a domestic property will have a 4kWp system installed, this would require between 20-30 square meters of roof space. As part of our free desktop survey, we will look at your roof and your energy usage to give you a more tailored calculation. Many people believe that only South facing properties are viable for solar PV however, as technology has advanced, the ideal roof orientation is anywhere between East and West.

How can I get the most from a solar PV system?

Solar PV has advanced monumentally over recent years; PV panels have become more powerful and efficient, designs have become sleek and modern and with added benefits such as battery storage to store your energy for evening use, electric vehicle chargers and other great add on products, solar PV really is a no brainer for anybody looking to reduce their bills, do their bit for the environment and earn money from the Feed-In Tariff scheme.

We really recommend getting your skates on if you would like to install solar PV before the Feed-In Tariff scheme ends. You can chat to our friendly team via Live Chat if you would like to arrange your free desktop survey. You have nothing to lose and we can leave you with a free tailored report to make your own decision in your own time.