Home Solar FAQ’s

All You Need To Know About Home Solar PV


Knowledge is Power

The Sun, an immense powerhouse in the sky, showers our planet Earth with a staggering amount of energy. In just one hour, it emits more energy than the entire global population uses over the span of an entire year. This fact opens up a world of possibilities for harnessing solar power. Imagine if every single rooftop in the United Kingdom was equipped with solar panels, each connected to efficient battery storage systems. This scenario could revolutionize our energy landscape. Such a setup would potentially generate enough electricity to meet every power need across the country, impacting every aspect of our daily lives. Recognizing the importance of this knowledge and its potential to empower individuals, we have embarked on an ambitious project to create a comprehensive database. This resource is designed to provide all the essential information one might need to make informed, forward-thinking decisions about their energy future, exploring the benefits and practicalities of embracing solar energy and other renewable sources.

PV, an abbreviation for ‘Photo’ (meaning light) and ‘Voltaic’ (pertaining to electricity), refers to the technology utilized in solar PV panels. These panels are engineered to convert light into electricity, a key point being that they respond to ‘light’ in general, not exclusively to sunlight. Consequently, they maintain the ability to generate electricity even on cloudy days, although their efficiency understandably increases with the brightness of the light. This concept of harnessing light to produce electricity is not a recent innovation; its origins can be traced back to experiments and discoveries in the 19th century, marking a significant historical development in the field of photovoltaics.

Solar inverters, such as the Lux Power Solar Inverter and the Growatt Solar Inverter, play a crucial role in solar panel systems by converting the direct current (DC) produced by the solar panels into alternating current (AC) suitable for household use and feeding into the electrical grid. The selection of the appropriate type of inverter, whether it’s a Lux Power or a Growatt model, is vital for the efficiency and effectiveness of the solar power system. Furthermore, the placement of these inverters is equally important. Many solar installers tend to install inverters in the loft by default, but this is not always the optimal location and can sometimes negatively impact the performance of the solar power system. Companies like Home Energy Group pay close attention to both the choice of inverter and its placement, ensuring that each aspect of the installation is tailored to maximize the benefits and efficiency of the solar power system. This careful consideration ensures that the system operates at peak efficiency, providing reliable and sustainable energy to the home.

Our solar team at Home Energy Group, also known as Teevo Energy, is dedicated to providing exceptional solar energy solutions without any financial bias influencing our recommendations. Established in 2017, we recognized a unique opportunity to revolutionize the solar industry. We moved away from the aggressive, ‘double-glazing style’ sales tactics prevalent in the market and adopted a more customer-centric approach. Our commitment is to offer a genuinely informed choice, ensuring that our clients make decisions based on accurate and comprehensive information.

A key aspect of our approach is our dedication to remaining 100% impartial. Our professionals are not driven by commission-based incentives, ensuring that their focus is solely on the customer’s needs and preferences. This allows us to provide unbiased advice and recommendations, tailoring our solutions to each individual case.

Moreover, we pride ourselves on working exclusively with top-tier manufacturers, guaranteeing that only the highest quality renewable products are installed on our customers’ properties. This commitment to quality ensures that our solar installations are not only effective but also durable and reliable, offering long-term benefits to our clients.

Another cornerstone of our philosophy is our transparent pricing model. We do not employ sales representatives who might push for higher prices or unnecessary upgrades. Instead, we believe in offering fair, competitive pricing that suits all budgets. Our goal is to make solar energy accessible and affordable, allowing more people to benefit from clean, renewable energy while ensuring they receive the best value for their investment.

By combining high-quality products, impartial advice, and fair pricing, Home Energy Group is at the forefront of providing bespoke solar energy solutions tailored to the unique needs of every home and business.

Your inverter, a key component of your solar power system, continuously monitors the voltage levels of the electricity grid. It operates by injecting power generated from your solar panels into your home’s electrical system at a voltage that is marginally higher than that of the grid. This concept can be better understood by envisioning voltage as a kind of pressure or driving force in the electrical flow. As a result, when you activate an electrical appliance, your system is designed to prioritize the usage of solar energy over grid energy due to the higher voltage from your inverter.

Moreover, all Lux Power Inverters come with an additional advantage. They provide access to a complimentary monitoring platform. This platform offers detailed and comprehensive data regarding the performance of your solar power system. It gives you insights into various aspects, such as the amount of power your system is delivering to both your property and the battery storage. This level of monitoring allows you to understand and optimize the usage of your solar energy, ensuring efficient energy management and potentially leading to cost savings.

A solar photovoltaic (PV) system with a capacity of 4 kilowatts peak (kWp) installed on a south-facing, unobstructed roof in the United Kingdom can yield over 4,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually. This output is significant considering that the average UK household consumes approximately 3,200 kWh per year. If the orientation of the roof is east or west, the system is still capable of producing about 3,400 kWh annually. The geographical location within the UK plays a crucial role, with southern regions offering more favorable conditions for solar energy generation. The actual impact of a solar PV system on household electricity bills depends on various factors, including the household’s electricity consumption patterns and usage timings. By providing specific details about their electricity usage and lifestyle habits, homeowners can receive highly accurate and personalized energy production forecasts. The Home Energy Group utilizes the “Open Solar” modelling software to create these tailored predictions, offering a clear understanding of the potential benefits of installing a solar PV system for individual households.

Home Energy Group employs the advanced “Open Solar” software platform to precisely determine your anticipated solar energy production. The software, PV Sol, meticulously considers various critical factors such as the efficiency of solar panels, the performance capabilities of inverters, the impact of shading, the angle and direction of your roof, as well as the specific local weather conditions. This comprehensive analysis helps to accurately estimate the amount of electricity your solar system will generate. Furthermore, the software integrates these calculations with your typical energy consumption patterns and the potential electricity surplus that could be fed back into the power grid. Based on this data, Home Energy Group provides you with detailed projections of the financial benefits you can expect, including the savings on your energy bills and the earnings from the energy returned to the grid.

When solar panels are unable to receive sufficient sunlight to generate electricity, perhaps due to cloudy weather or shorter daylight hours in winter, the electrical system of your house will automatically switch to drawing power from the local electrical grid, which is the same method used by homes without solar panels. It’s important to note that solar panels do not require direct sunlight to function; they can still generate some electricity even on cloudy days, although the efficiency is lower compared to sunny conditions. Therefore, while the output of your solar panels may decrease on days with less sunshine, they will continue to contribute to your home’s power needs to some extent.

In such scenarios, the surplus electrical power generated by your PV Solar Panels is redirected back into the electrical grid. This process is often accompanied by financial compensation or credit from the utility company. However, it’s also worth considering the installation of a Solar Battery Storage system. With this system in place, instead of exporting the excess electricity to the grid, the surplus power is stored in these batteries. This stored energy can then be utilized during times when the solar panels aren’t generating enough power to meet your needs, such as during the night or on cloudy days. This approach not only provides a more self-sufficient energy solution but also maximizes the use of the solar energy you produce.

This requirement is no longer applicable. Following the termination of the Feed-in Tariff scheme, it’s no longer mandatory for properties equipped with photovoltaic (PV) solar panel installations to possess an Energy Performance Certificate. Owners of solar PV systems are now eligible to receive compensation for the electricity they export back to the grid directly from their energy suppliers, without the necessity of having an EPC

The Home Energy Group employs a highly sophisticated and professional Solar PV design software named “Open Solar.” This advanced tool enables them to construct an intricate 3D model of your residential property, providing a detailed visual representation. Through this model, they can meticulously assess and determine the most suitable solar panels for your roof, ensuring an optimal fit. The “Open Solar” software boasts an extensive database, featuring over 600 distinct solar panel and solar inverter manufacturers. Each panel included in this database is accompanied by comprehensive information detailing the panel’s performance characteristics. This rich database allows for a precise selection of the best solar solution tailored to your specific needs and roof dimensions.

No, there is no need for you to take that step. Home Energy Group, which is an accredited organization, handles the responsibility of notifying their work to Building Control on behalf of their clients. This means that when you choose Home Energy Group for your solar panel installation, they will manage all the necessary communications and formalities with Building Control, ensuring that the installation complies with the relevant regulations and standards. This service is part of their commitment to providing a comprehensive and hassle-free experience for their customers

For residential properties, PV solar panels are typically installed using special brackets. These brackets are securely attached to the rafters of the roof. This method ensures that the structural integrity of the roof is maintained, as the roof fabric isn’t burdened with additional weight. In recent times, advancements in solar technology have led to the creation of solar materials that can be integrated directly into the roofing structure. For example, solar tiles can be used, which seamlessly blend with traditional roofing materials, both in function and aesthetics.

In the context of commercial buildings, the approach to installing solar panels varies significantly due to the diverse nature of commercial roof constructions. There are numerous mounting solutions tailored to fit each unique type of roof. At Home Energy Group, we specialize in providing bespoke installation services, accommodating both standard and more complex or unconventional setups. We invite challenges and are equipped to handle a wide range of installation scenarios.

When a fault occurs on electrical mains cables, it’s crucial to ensure the safety of linesmen who might be working on these lines outside your property. To protect them, your solar photovoltaic (PV) inverter must shut down. This is a safety protocol mandated under the G98 or G99 certification, applicable to all inverters connected to the grid.

However, if you have a Lux Power battery storage system installed, you can still have access to backup power during a power cut. This system is designed to provide electricity even when the main grid is down, ensuring that your essential devices remain operational. If having a reliable backup power source is crucial for you, we can explore various options and configurations to best suit your needs. Our aim is to provide a solution that offers peace of mind and continuity in the event of a power outage.

The installation of your Solar PV or Solar Battery Storage system will be managed by Home Energy Group and KCD Electrical, who utilize their own team of fully certified tradespeople. Specifically, the team assigned to install a domestic system typically consists of three key roles: a professionally trained roofer, a skilled laborer, and a certified electrician. Each of these individuals brings specialized expertise to ensure the installation is carried out safely, efficiently, and to the highest standards.

The installation time for photovoltaic (PV) solar panels varies based on whether it’s a home or commercial setup.

For home installations, the process is generally swift, often completed within a single day. This quick turnaround is because residential solar systems are usually less complex and smaller in scale. However, there can be exceptions depending on the size of the system and the complexity of the installation, extending the installation period to up to two days.

Commercial solar panel installations, on the other hand, require a more extended period. The duration largely depends on factors like the size of the installation site and the specific energy needs of the business. Commercial systems are typically larger and more complex than residential ones, so the installation might take several days or even weeks. The exact time frame can vary significantly based on these variables.

The Feed-in Tariff (FIT) was a government-backed scheme in the UK, designed to promote the uptake of renewable energy sources. Under this scheme, electricity suppliers, such as EON, N-Power, EDF, Utility Warehouse, etc., were required to pay homeowners and businesses for the electricity generated by their solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. This payment was made for every unit of electricity generated, regardless of whether it was consumed on-site or fed back into the grid.

The FIT scheme was launched in April 2010 and was an important part of the UK’s strategy to increase the amount of green energy in its overall energy mix. The scheme’s subsidies were gradually reduced in line with decreasing costs of solar PV installations. The rationale was that as the technology became cheaper and more accessible, less financial incentive would be needed to encourage its adoption.

By March 2019, the cost of installing solar PV systems had dropped significantly, leading the government to conclude that the sector no longer required this form of subsidy to sustain itself. Consequently, the FIT scheme was discontinued in March 2019. The end of the FIT scheme marked a shift in the UK’s approach to promoting renewable energy, with a focus on market-driven solutions rather than direct government subsidies.

Understanding the return on investment (ROI) for a Solar Photovoltaic (PV) system involves considering various factors that can affect the timeline. Immediately upon installation, you will start seeing savings on your electricity bills, but the period to recover the initial investment depends on several aspects.

  1. Quality of Solar Panels and Inverters: High-quality solar panels and inverters can be more efficient in converting sunlight into electricity, which directly impacts the amount of energy produced and, consequently, your savings.
  2. Local Weather Conditions: The amount of sunlight your area receives is crucial. More sunny days mean more solar energy generation, leading to quicker ROI.
  3. Shading, Pitch, and Orientation: The placement and angle of your solar panels affect their exposure to sunlight. Optimal positioning with minimal shading, correct pitch, and orientation towards the sun will maximize energy production.
  4. Location-Specific Factors: In the UK, for example, the payback period varies for residential and commercial installations. Residential systems typically take 8-12 years to pay off their installation costs, whereas commercial systems might take around 6-8 years.
  5. Long-Term Benefits: Once you’ve covered the installation costs, the solar PV system essentially provides ‘free’ electricity for its operational lifetime, which can range from 25 to 50 years with quality panels.

Each solar PV installation is unique, and these estimates can vary based on the specific conditions and factors at your site. It’s advisable to conduct a detailed assessment with a solar energy expert to get a more precise estimate for your situation.

Since the discontinuation of the Feed-in Tariff program in March 2019, there are no current government-backed schemes specifically designed to assist with the installation of solar panels on properties. However, you might come across various advertisements suggesting the availability of such schemes. It’s important to exercise caution here, as these offers are often not direct government schemes but rather loans with specific terms and conditions that may not be immediately apparent.

Despite the lack of direct installation support, there is an opportunity to earn from the energy your solar panels produce and export back to the grid. Starting from January 2020, a mandate requires all energy suppliers with more than 150,000 customers to offer a scheme for purchasing excess energy generated by private solar installations. This means that as a solar panel owner, you can be compensated for the electricity you contribute to the grid.

When looking for the best deal, it’s advisable to compare offers from various energy suppliers, much like you would shop around for the most competitive rates for imported electricity. This approach allows you to maximize the financial benefits of your solar panel system by ensuring you receive a competitive rate for the energy you export.

As a tenant renting a property, I’m interested in the possibility of installing photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. Before proceeding, it’s essential to consult with your landlord for permission, as any property modifications typically require their approval. Many landlords are open to such installations, as they can reap multiple benefits from solar PV systems. These benefits include earning from the Feed-in Tariff scheme, which provides payments to owners of solar PV systems for the electricity they generate. Additionally, the installation of solar panels often leads to an increase in the property’s value. This enhancement in value can justify a potential increase in rent, making it a financially attractive option for landlords. It’s worth noting that the decision ultimately depends on your landlord’s policies and the specific terms of your rental agreement.

At present, there isn’t a specialized mounting system designed specifically for installing Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels on thatched roofs. This is due to the unique structure and materials of thatched roofing, which may not support the weight and installation requirements of solar panels. However, as an alternative, you might consider opting for a ground-mounted Solar PV system. This involves installing the panels on a framework set up on the ground, which can be an effective way to harness solar energy without affecting your thatched roof.

Absolutely, installing PV (photovoltaic) solar panels is feasible on a variety of roof types, including those of loft conversions. The installation of these panels does not necessitate direct access to the loft space beneath the roof. This means that even if your loft has been converted into a living area or is in regular use for other purposes, it won’t hinder the installation of solar panels. PV panels are designed to be versatile and adaptable to different roofing structures, ensuring that you can harness solar energy effectively regardless of your loft’s current configuration or usage.

When considering the integration of renewable technologies with photovoltaic (PV) systems, several options can enhance efficiency and functionality. One such technology is the Lux Power Battery Storage System. This system is designed to store excess energy generated by the PV panels, allowing for energy usage during periods when the sun isn’t shining, thus maximizing the use of solar energy and reducing reliance on the grid.

Another compatible technology is the Hanchu Ess Electric EV Charger. This charger can be directly connected to the PV system, enabling electric vehicles to be charged using solar power. This not only reduces electricity costs but also promotes the use of clean energy for transportation.

Solar Hot Water Diverters are also an effective complement to PV systems. They divert excess solar electricity to heat water, which is a significant energy consumer in many households. By using solar power to heat water, one can significantly reduce the energy consumed from the grid, leading to lower utility bills and a reduced carbon footprint.

Lastly, HeatBoost Radiators represent an innovative integration with PV systems. These radiators can utilize the excess electricity generated by solar panels to provide heating solutions for homes. This is especially beneficial in colder climates or during winter months when heating demands are high, and solar generation might be lower.

Together, these technologies not only enhance the functionality of PV systems but also contribute to a more sustainable and self-sufficient energy ecosystem.

It’s a common misconception that solar panels require a south-facing roof for effective energy generation. In reality, solar photovoltaic (PV) panels harness energy from sunlight, which illuminates all rooftops regardless of their orientation. While south-facing roofs are often considered ideal due to their exposure to direct sunlight throughout the day, other orientations can also be quite efficient. Many homeowners have successfully installed solar panels on east or west-facing roofs. Although these setups might receive less direct sunlight compared to south-facing ones, they are still significantly productive. In fact, east/west facing solar panel systems have been observed to produce approximately 86% of the energy generated by a comparable system on a south-facing roof. This efficiency level demonstrates that while orientation can impact solar energy yield, non-south facing roofs are still very viable for solar panel installation.

The number of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels needed for a specific setup depends largely on their efficiency, which varies widely among different models. For instance, one solar panel might produce 275 watts of power, whereas another panel of identical size could generate as much as 450 watts. The key factor is not the sheer number of panels, but rather the total power output you need to achieve. Typically, residential solar systems aim for a capacity of around 4 kilowatts peak (kWp). To reach this target, the number of panels required can range from 9 to 13, depending on the efficiency and quality of the panels you select. Thus, it’s crucial to consider both the power output of each panel and the total power requirement of your home when determining the number of panels needed.

The longevity and efficiency of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels are subject to a gradual process of degradation, which is influenced by various factors including the quality of the panels and the environmental conditions they are exposed to. On average, these panels experience a reduction in power output of about 15% over a period of 25 years. However, this rate can significantly vary based on the panel’s make and model. For instance, some high-quality panels exhibit a much lower degradation rate, losing only about 2.5% of their efficiency over the same 25-year span. This degradation rate is not uniform and can differ considerably depending on the specific characteristics and build quality of the panel. To provide a more precise assessment of this degradation impact, Home Energy Group employs the use of “Open Solar” software. This advanced tool enables a highly accurate forecast of the potential degradation effects on the solar panels over their lifespan, considering the unique conditions and specifications of each installation.

When considering whether to wait for newer solar panel models to enter the market, it’s important to understand the current state and direction of solar panel technology. Today’s advancements are primarily focused on integrating photovoltaic (PV) technology into different materials, such as incorporating it into glass. While innovative, these developments haven’t significantly improved the efficiency of solar panels. This means they may not become widely adopted in the mainstream market. The core technology used in contemporary solar PV panels is essentially the same as that which powered some early satellites in the 1970s. Although there are ongoing incremental improvements in solar technology, these changes are relatively minor and do not indicate a forthcoming dramatic shift in efficiency or functionality. Therefore, waiting for a major technological breakthrough in solar panels might not be necessary if you’re considering a purchase in the near future.

Shading significantly impacts the efficiency of Solar PV panels. When a panel is shaded, its power output decreases, and this effect extends to any panels that are directly connected to it. To accurately assess the impact of shading on your specific installation, Home Energy Group utilizes advanced 3D modeling software called “Open Solar”. This software can precisely calculate the reduction in power output caused by various shading scenarios. Severe shading, such as a chimney casting a shadow directly onto the panels (referred to as Hard Shading), can even cause long-term damage to the solar panels. The Home Energy Group’s expertise in this area is critical; they can provide professional advice on the optimal placement of your solar panels to minimize shading issues.

To combat the effects of shading, one effective solution is the integration of Tigo optimizers. These devices are attached to individual solar panels to enhance monitoring and performance. Tigo optimizers can mitigate the adverse effects of shading by allowing each panel to operate independently, thus reducing the impact of shaded panels on the overall system performance. Furthermore, these optimizers can be integrated with Lux Power battery storage systems. This integration allows for more efficient energy management, as the battery system can store excess energy generated by the panels, including those optimized by Tigo devices. This synergy between Tigo optimizers and Lux Power battery systems ensures a more consistent and reliable energy output, even in conditions where shading is a factor.

The choice between monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels depends on various factors. Monocrystalline panels, known for their uniform, dark appearance and high efficiency, tend to generate more power per square meter. However, this doesn’t automatically make them superior to polycrystalline panels. Polycrystalline panels, recognizable by their blue, speckled look, can be of high quality too. When evaluating the quality of a solar panel, one must consider a myriad of aspects, including durability, temperature coefficient, warranty, and cost. The efficiency of a panel becomes a crucial deciding factor primarily in scenarios where installation space is constrained. Thus, the better choice depends on the specific requirements of the installation site, budget, and the individual’s energy needs.

When deciding where to mount your Solar PV inverter, it’s crucial to consider the nature of this electric and electronic equipment, as its performance and lifespan can be affected by its placement. To optimize the performance and longevity of your inverter, several factors should be taken into account.

Firstly, it’s essential to keep the inverter cool. This is because inverters tend to generate heat during their operation, and excessive heat can adversely impact their efficiency and lifespan. Therefore, it is generally recommended to install the inverter in a location that offers good ventilation and temperature control.

Some suitable options for inverter placement include a garage or a utility room. Some models are designed to be mounted outdoors, which can also be a viable option if it provides proper protection against environmental elements.

However, one place that should be avoided for inverter installation is the loft or attic. Lofts tend to get very hot, especially on the days when your solar PV system needs to work its hardest, like during peak sunlight hours. Placing the inverter in such a hot environment can result in reduced inverter output and faster degradation of its components. While installing the inverter in the loft may seem convenient due to shorter cable runs, this convenience comes at a significant cost. The extra energy production and longer lifespan achieved by placing the inverter in a cooler location outweigh the minimal losses from longer cables.

Another advantage of having the inverter in a visible location, such as a garage or utility room, is that it allows you to monitor your system more easily. Inverters typically come with displays that provide information about the system’s performance. If the inverter is located in the loft, you won’t be able to detect any issues or anomalies until you need to access the loft for other reasons, which may lead to delayed troubleshooting and maintenance.

In summary, the best place to mount your Solar PV inverter should prioritize temperature control and accessibility for monitoring and maintenance. While it may require some additional effort and planning, choosing an optimal location will help ensure the efficient and long-term operation of your solar PV system

In most instances, planning permission is not required for the installation of a domestic Solar PV system. This is because such installations typically fall under the category of ‘permitted developments.’ However, there are specific circumstances in which planning permission may be necessary. These circumstances include:

  1. Living in a listed building: If your property is classified as a listed building, you may need planning permission for a Solar PV system installation.
  2. Location in a conservation area or an area of outstanding natural beauty: If your home is situated within a conservation area or an area recognized for its exceptional natural beauty, Solar PV panels may still be permissible. However, they must not be installed on a wall or roof facing a main highway.
  3. Panels protruding more than 200mm from the roof: If the Solar PV panels extend more than 200mm from the roof’s surface, you might need planning permission. It’s worth noting that most installations stay within this limit.
  4. Ground-mounted array: If you are planning to install a ground-mounted Solar PV array rather than mounting the panels on your roof, planning permission may be required.

If you have any doubts or questions regarding permitted developments and planning permission for Solar PV systems, we recommend consulting the Government’s planning portal for further guidance or scheduling a call back with us to receive free advice and clarification on your specific situation.

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