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PV solar panels, installations and installers in the United Kingdom

Learn about PV solar panels in the UK's climate that will still be generating power in three-decades time. Your outside of the box approach to modern life.

Most homes in the UK are suitable.

In a nutshell:

The science bit.

PV (photovoltaic) cells produce electrons that gravitate to where it's earthed. In a PV solar context, that's your TV, EV, battery storage or credited by an export tariff.

A typical PV monocrystalline system in the UK climate generates around 900 kWh/year per kW installed.

Therefore, a basic 1kW system will generate typically 900 kWh per year, and a 5kW system approx 4,500 kWh.

Geographical variables apply.

An astute decision that's likely to improve the next four-decades of your energy expenditure.

A word to the wise.

In reality, the UK has up to 60% of the solar radiation of the equator.

Germany is the most significant PV market with around 40% of the world's total. The UK is expected to follow over the coming years.

By example, Wescott airfield was the UK's first commercial PV-generation site. Commercial solar parks take advantage of the ability to sell-to-the-grid.

Power your home alongside the Generation Tariff that's now available for homeowners too. A concept that's ideal for those now working from home.

Welcome to solar century.

Questions about PV solar panels

What happens to surplus?

When producing excess power, PV automatically feeds out to the National Grid, and payment comes via an export tariff.

Is there enough sunshine?

Photovoltaic panels work with direct and passive sunlight.

The UK receives 60% of the sun's radiation compared with the equator. Each square metre of your roof receives between 900-1,400 kWh annually.

Is my roof suitable?

Most homes are suitable with a South/South East/South West facing roof.

Most roof types are suitable except for thatch.

How does it work?


Your yearly electric bill x 30 years (panel lifespan).

+3% (average yearly inflation) equals your future energy costs.

Now compare this figure to the cost of PV solar panels.

A more detailed equation here.

Why PV in cooler climates?

Actually, photovoltaics work more efficiently in cooler temperatures.

Degradation of the panels occurs much quicker in hotter climates, just like redlining your car engine will reduce its lifespan and efficiency.

Can PV heat my hot water?

PV-to-hot water converters heat traditional hot water tanks by using daytime solar-generated electricity redirected to the heating coil. This device eliminates the need for your boiler to heat water.

Can I install myself?

In most cases, no.

Installing DIY solar panels can work out cheaper. However, installations must get certified by accredited MCS-installers only.

PV solar panel kits are available to Part P qualified professionals.

How much roof space?

Although PV-arrays take a lot of roof space, most homes in the UK are suitable. Additionally, they can be ground-mounted A-frames if a roof is unsuitable.

What does grid-connected mean?

Any excess electricity produced will be directed out to the National Grid, and you will be credited accordingly (if battery storage is not present).

Any deficit between in power generation automatically draws from your electricity supplier as per usual.

Do I need planning permission?

No planning permission is required unless on a listed building or conservation area.

What maintenance is required?

No maintenance is required because PV is a 'solid-state' energy conversion process.

Is fitting expensive?

Fitting costs account for 55% of the final installation.

Do solar panels work on cloudy days?

This answer depends on the density of the cloud. In average cloud densities, the sun can penetrate. With very, heavy dark, dense cloud cover, probably not. As an example, use a solar-powered calculator, and it will work fine.

Will fitting have a big impact?

Once the panels are fitted, the internal components don't take up much space inside. The overall installation process usually completes within 2-3 days. All MCS-installers are polite, clean and tidy.

What size system is best?

Sizing requirement depends on your consumption rate, roof space and your budget. Various options are available to suit different budgets such as typical 2, 3 and 4kW size systems.

How long does PV last?

Photovoltaics installed in the 1960s are still working today. Degradation is minimal consideration when choosing a system. Monocrystalline solar panels still have an 80% generation capacity after 20 years.

What about cleaning?

PV solar panels are coated with a microscopically thin layer of titanium dioxide during manufacturing. When ultraviolet light falls on the glass, the coating reacts with organic matter to break it down.

As NASA's Mars inter-planetary rovers, Spirit and Opportunity demonstrated perfectly, dirt and dust find it difficult to attach permanently.

With that said, a periodic clean, using de-ionised water, will give an extra 5-10%.

What are the costs?

The cost of a PV solar system depends on system size and plugin requirements.

Find local MCS installers. A consultation can be arranged to give you options and prices

From the forum:

"The installation was completed in about seven hours with no mess or fuss. The installers were polite and very careful. The completed job was very neat and tidy. Since the installation, the panels have generated far more than we've used. I'm very happy with our new shiny panels and would not hesitate to recommend."
Mrs. Banks, Northwich.

MCS PV solar installers network for the UK.

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