Solar PV FAQ
How does Solar PV work?
Energy generated by the sun is absorbed by the photovoltaic cells on the panels. This energy is converted into DC electricity, in order for us to be able to use the electricity it must be converted to AC – this is done by an inverter. The AC electricity can then be used in your home.
What is an EPC survey and do I need one?
An EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) survey is required if your system is to be registered for the Feed in Tariff. This is a new requirement that the government has recently introduced. Your home must be a grade D or above to qualify. The EPC survey is a service offered by Allbrite, the price of which is refundable if you decide to go ahead with a system installed by Allbrite.
What size system can I have?
Solar panels can be mounted on a standard roof, a flat roof or at ground level. Panel sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer but a typical panel size is 90cm by 160cm. The panels can be mounted in a combination of portrait and landscape orientation to best utilise the area available. A 4kW installation will normally require 16 or 17 panels, a 3kW installation 12 panels and a 2kW installation 8 panels.
How much will it cost?
The cost of the system firstly depends on your budget and secondly the space you have available. Currently we are offering a 4kW system for £6995.00, 3kW for £5945.00 and a 2kW for £4995.00.
What size system do I need?
The first place to start is to check your electrical consumption over the last 12 months. You can get this information from your electricity bill. Ideally you should generate as much electricity as possible and experience tells us that most people will ask for the maximum size system that will fit their property. An average size 3 bedroom semi-detached house can generate up to 75% of its electrical requirement from a 3kW system.
Is my house suitable?
As most PV panels are fitted on the roof of your property, the roof needs to be structurally sound in order to take the weight of the panels. As part of Allbrite’s survey your roof is checked for suitability. To get the best results, the panels needs to be fitted on the south, south east, or south west facing roof and to be free of any shading from trees or other buildings for long periods of the day.
Does solar PV generate electricity only when the sun is shining?
Solar PV systems will still generate electricity on cloudy and dull days.
What if the system does not produce enough electricity for my needs?
Any extra requirement for electricity will automatically be drawn from the national grid if your system is not generating a sufficient amount. This will be necessary on winter days and of course night time when your solar PV system will not be generating electricity.
What if the system is producing more electricity than my needs?
Any surplus electricity is exported to the national grid; your electricity supplier for will pay you for this electricity.
How long will my solar PV system last for?
Most systems come with a 20 year warranty from the manufacturer, but because there are no moving parts in the system you can expect a lifetime of between 25 and 30 years or even longer.
Do I need planning permission?
In most circumstances planning permission is not required, but there are exceptions such as listed buildings or buildings in conservation areas. We would always advise that you talk to your planning department if you are in doubt.