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How to Make Money

How to Make Money

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Includes Everything You Need to Know Abo ut Home & Commercia l Solar Installs

How To Make Money From Solar Energy

STRATEGIES TO MAXIMISE YOUR RETURN FROM THE UK GOVERNMENT’S FEED IN TARIFFS

By Amy Catlow, Dan Tobin and Titus Sharpe

How To Make Money From Solar Energy
STRATEGIES TO MAXIMISE YOUR RETURN FROM THE UK GOVERNMENT’S FEED IN TARIFFS

By Amy Catlow, Dan Tobin and Titus Sharpe

Published by VF Books 2011 Edition

Contents
VF Books

Chapter One

Introduction: How You Can Make Money From Solar Energy Those With Solar Panels And Those Without Your Questions Answered

1 5 5 9 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 17 19 19 21 22 24 25 29

VF Books 3 Wilkin Street London NW5 3NL United Kingdom

Chapter Two
Published by VF Books 2011 Copyright © VF Books 2011. All rights reserved.

The Feed In Tariff Explained Benefits In Brief Qualifying For The Feed In Tariff Scheme The Three Ways In Which You Can Benefit Financially From The Scheme Table Of Generation Tariffs To 2021 4-Step Calculation Example Clarifying Eligibility For Those Who Have Already Had Their Solar Panels Installed FAQs About The Feed In Tariff Scheme 9-Step Checklist For Taking Part In The FIT Scheme And Earning From Your Solar Energy

ISBN:

Chapter Three

Calculating Your Return How Your Return Will Be Calculated Questions That Will Help You Get The Most Accurate Calculation Space And Budget Table SAP 2009 Calculation

Whilst we have tried to ensure the accuracy of the content of this book, the authors or publishers cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions found therein.

Factors That Will Affect Your Return FAQs About Calculating Your Return

Chapter Four

Surveying Your House For Optimum Usage For Your Information - Understanding The Path Of The Sun Keeping Solar Irradiance Values Simple Keeping Optimum Tilt For Fixed Solar Panels Simple Based On Solar Irradiance, How Much Will Your Solar Panels Generate? Some Tools You May Need To Do Your Survey What You Will Be Looking For The Importance Of Sunlight And Shade Taking Note Of The Obvious First Shading And Obstacle Analysis Keeping Obstacle Tracking Simple Reading The Results FAQs About Surveying Your House For Optimum Usage

31 34 37 37 38 40 41 41 42 44 48 48 49 51 51 52 53 56 57 59 61 62 63

Chapter Seven

Solar System Components Solar Panels Solar Panel Mounting System Combiner Box Inverters Batteries Solar Charge Controllers Ground Fault Protector Total Generator Meter Export Meter or Feed-In, Feed-Out Meter FAQs About Solar Panel Components

65 65 66 66 67 68 69 69 70 70 70 71 71 75 75 76 77 79 79 81 82 82 83 83 84

Chapter Eight

Free Solar Panels Vs Financing The Installation The Power OF FREE Financing Your Solar Panel Installation Scenario For Adding The Cost To Your Mortgage Other Sources Of Funding FAQs About Free Solar Panels

Chapter Five

DIY Vs Getting An Installer MCS Accreditation Explained How To Find An Installer What You Can Expect From Your Installer 2012, 2013 Dates To Remember FAQs About Installing Solar Energy

Chapter Nine

Hidden Costs Cleaning And Maintenance The Hidden Cost Of Keeping Your Solar Panels Clean Caring For Components What Part Does The Typical Solar Panel Warranty Cover? Insurance Cover Are There Any Extra Costs Hiding In Your Roof? FAQs About Hidden Costs

Chapter Six

Choosing Your Solar Panels Calculating The Best Solar Value Checking Out Solar PV Products FAQs About Choosing Solar Panels

Chapter Ten

Selling Your Solar Powered Home Solar As A Selling Point Help Yourself To Market Your Property Effectively Added Value For The Future Things To Consider When Selling Your Home With Solar Panels How Much Should The Premium Be? Take The Tariff With You FAQs About Selling Your Solar Powered Home

85 85 87 87 88 88 89 90

Appendix Of Solar Insolation Values For The UK 107 London South East England South West England East Of England East Midlands West Midlands North East England North West England Yorkshire And The Humber Central And Southern Scotland North Scotland 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 123

Chapter Eleven Feed In Tariffs For Commercial And Non-Domestic Properties Farm Buildings (Plus Example Costing) Schools (Plus Example Costing) Industrial Buildings (Plus Example Costing) Churches (Plus Example Costing) FAQs About Feed In Tariffs For Commercial And Non-Domestic Properties

91 91 93 94 94 95

South Wales North Wales Northern Ireland Glossary Of Terms

Chapter Twelve Other Potential Green Revenue Sources Wind Turbines Hydroelectricity Anaerobic Digestion Micro Combined Heat And Power (Micro-CHP) Renewable Heat Incentives (RHI) The Green Deal FAQs About Green Sources Of Revenue

97 98 100 100 102 103 104 105

1

Chapter One

Introduction: How You Can Make Money From Solar Energy
Most people are aware that solar energy is better for the environment than traditional fossil fuels. It produces no air or water pollution and neither does it emit greenhouse gases. But how many realise that there is another huge benefit to be gained from this unlimited resource that’s already being called the ‘energy of the future’? That added advantage is found in its money-making potential - not just for the companies that manufacture and install the systems but for homeowners too. Solar power is still a relatively young science and therefore quite expensive. Like all new technology, cost is gradually falling but for many homeowners the high price tag of installing a typical solar panel system remains a major obstacle. The result is that a range of incentives has been created by the government and other interested parties to help bring a solar solution within easy reach of the average homeowner. Now the smart ones are discovering that not only are there long term financial benefits from installing solar panels but very good reasons to take action sooner rather than later. This book is focused on helping home and commercial property owners optimise their income from the installation of solar panels. It does this by explaining, in simple terms, how to take advantage of this technology and use the incentive schemes available. If done properly, individuals will not only be able to recoup the cost of the system and enjoy big savings on their utility bills, but they will also earn an ongoing source of passive income from all the electricity generated by their system and from the excess that can be exported to the grid.

2

How To Make Money From Solar Energy

Introduction: How You Can Make Money From Solar Energy

3

Solar technology uses terms that are not common in everyday use and some that are quite unique to solar technology. For example, solar panels are sometimes referred to as PV modules. ‘PV’ is an abbreviation of the term ‘photovoltaic’ and simply refers to the process by which sunlight is converted into electricity. You will find these terms and their explanations in a glossary at the back of this book. A common misconception is that solar panels need direct sunlight to operate. In fact, as long as they have sufficient exposure to daylight they will continue to produce energy in cloudy, overcast and, to some degree, shaded conditions. They take the energy generated from daylight and convert it into a direct electrical current. In order for that current to be suitable for use in the home, it has to be transformed into an alternating current via something called an inverter, all of which will be covered in the following chapters. The location, positioning and the amount of shade experienced daily from nearby trees and buildings all affect the efficiency of the panels and, therefore, the income that can be expected so we will be dealing with all of these issues in order to discover how to maximise output and income. There are several ways that money can be generated through the installation of solar panels. The most obvious is from the savings on utility bills. With electricity prices set to continuously rise, this alone is a big incentive to go solar. Then there is the Feed In Tariff Scheme (FITs) that allows the homeowner two methods of making money from their solar system. The first is through ‘generation’ that gives an income for every unit of electricity produced, whether used by the household or not. The other is via ‘export’ providing ongoing income for any excess electricity that can be diverted to the national grid. There are tools available on the Internet that will help you to find out fairly quickly what your return on investing in solar panel technology

will be. To get the most accurate calculation for your individual situation, you need to know the answers to a few questions relating to your location, property and household requirements. You will find plenty of information in this book that will not only enable you to answer those questions but will allow you to calculate your return for yourself. There are a few things to weigh up when deciding if being part of a scheme like this is for you and lots more to think about once you’ve decided to proceed. It’s not as difficult as it first seems but a lot depends on personal circumstances. What was suitable for a friend or relative may not work for your location and household requirements. This book will take you through the thought and planning process, step-by-step. It will guide you through the information available and help you identify the options most suitable to your situation. You will be shown how the Feed In Tariff works and how you can maximise its benefits. You will also be given help to calculate your return on investment, revealing hidden factors that could greatly impact the return you can expect. There are many types of solar panels available and it’s a good idea to know enough about their applications to enable you to choose wisely. This book will take you through the components of a typical system and the practical things you need to know about - like panel angles and temperatures - to ensure optimum usage. You will also learn how to do a general survey of your home in order to evaluate its suitability. Although the installer you choose will do a survey for you, it’s good to know what they’ll be looking for and the different factors to take into consideration. Those with a flair for DIY may be toying with the possibility of doing the installation themselves. Although this would save money in the short term, it will eliminate them from making money from the Feed In Tariff Scheme.

4

How To Make Money From Solar Energy

Introduction: How You Can Make Money From Solar Energy

5

Similarly, there are many good companies selling a variety of solar systems but if you don’t know what to look for you could find yourself disqualified from taking advantage of FITs. You will find information here on choosing products, finding installers and the questions you need to ask them. When it comes to choosing solar systems it’s not just about the brand and installer, it’s also about the type of module - thin film; polycrystalline; monocrystalline - to name but a few. Each will have a different efficiency rate and price and you will soon discover that some are more effective in certain situations than others. You will be given plenty of tips for choosing the best option for your home and checklists have been provided to help you stay focused on the information that’s relevant to you? As you begin to investigate the possibilities of turning your property into an energy efficient, income generator, you will come across many offers of FREE solar panels. On the face of it they look like a good idea, especially for those who feel they’ll never be able to afford solar panels any other way. The ‘free’ route is fine for those looking to save some money on their energy bills while playing their part to reduce their carbon footprint, but not for those who want to maximise income from their installation. We will go through the pros and cons of free solar panels so you can judge for yourself. Although, the initial investment seems high, there are ways of raising the money to cover the cost. Traditional financial institutions like banks or mortgage lenders are now providing finance specifically designed for the purpose. Some solar panel installers offer deals where they finance the installation themselves or via a third party in a similar way that you’d expect from a car dealership. When choosing this option, the cost of interest and term of repayment has to be set off against the predicted income generated, so the homeowner can expect to get a lot less from the deal at the outset but benefits should increase over time.

Just as you would expect from purchasing any high value item, there are hidden costs and different ways of dealing with them. Once the solar system is installed you want to be confident that everything possible is in place to keep expense to a minimum. By understanding what routine maintenance is required and what to expect from your warranty, the panels can be kept working at peak performance, providing you with an ongoing source of energy for your home, plus income for your future. Those With Solar Panels And Those Without Although the Feed In Tariff is a government backed scheme, the payments do not come directly from the government but from the energy companies themselves. Given that those benefitting from the full FIT payments are being paid above the market rate for the electricity their systems are generating, the money has to come from somewhere. The energy companies find the extra money by passing the cost onto consumers. Those customers who are not taking part in the FIT scheme will be charged higher energy prices. In essence, those who do not have solar energy or qualify for the FIT scheme will be subsidising those who do. Your Questions Answered Throughout this book you will come across the most asked questions relating to different topics, but the first question that needs to be answered is: Q: Is Solar energy for me? A: There are three main areas you need to consider at the outset to decide if solar electricity is for you and your household:

6

How To Make Money From Solar Energy

Introduction: How You Can Make Money From Solar Energy

7

1. Positioning: The best position for solar panels is within 90 degrees of south. It doesn’t matter which way your house is facing as they can be attached front or back. However, east and west facing roofs are still viable, so don’t rule anything out before checking what options are available to you. You do need to check to what extent the roof area will be overshadowed by neighbouring buildings and trees. Having the panels in shade for part of the day will affect the amount of energy that will be generated by your system. 2. Roof Size And Strength: Available roof space plays a major role in determining whether solar energy is an economically viable solution. Typically, an area of around 10m or more is required. The simpler the structure of the roof, the better the capacity to fit more panels than those that have lots of small, angled areas. However, there are systems to meet different challenges so nothing should be discounted before checking with an accredited installer. Solar panels are quite heavy. It’s not always easy to judge for yourself if your roof is going to be sufficiently strong to bear the weight of solar panels without causing problems but you can always get the advice of an installer or builder, if in any doubt. 3. Planning Permission: The vast majority of home solar electricity systems in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland fall well within the limitations of size stipulated by the UK government and require no planning permission. However, it’s worth checking with your local planning office first and definitely if it’s a listed building or situated within a conservation area or world heritage site.
2

Q: I live in a flat. Does this mean that I can’t take advantage of solar energy? A: If you live in a flat where there is a shared tenancy, it’s worth speaking to the other owners of the building to see how they feel about investing jointly in solar. Initial costs can be shared among the flat owners.The system will add value to the property and provide a good selling point for the future. Q: What other benefits are there in installing solar panels, other than to make money from them? A: If you live or are thinking of living in a remote area where there might be no other source of electricity available, installing solar panels could work out more cost effective than having electricity installed in the traditional way. For the sake of selfsufficiency and as part of a very cost-effective contingency plan, solar energy offers a virtually free source of power that’s good for the environment, too.

8

9

Chapter Two

The Feed In Tariff Explained
From the 1 April 2010, the UK government made it compulsory for the nation’s top energy suppliers to make regular payments to homeowners and communities in the UK who generate their own electricity via renewable and low carbon sources, like solar panels and wind turbines. This doesn’t yet include Northern Ireland but it is under review. FITs guarantees two types of payments. The first is a minimum ‘generation’ payment made for all electricity generated by the system. The second is for ‘exported’ electricity which is any excess electricity generated that can be exported to the national grid. On top of this great savings can be made by using the electricity generated on site. The scheme covers several different electricity generating systems but for the purpose of this book we are going to look closely at what is needed to make money from solar energy. Please note that the Generation Tariff was 41.3p/kWh and the Export Tariff, 3p/kWh when the FIT scheme started. They are both subject to retail price index increases and are 43.3p and 3.1p respectively at the time of going to print. Benefits In Brief n It’s possible for you to receive a ‘generation’ payment (tariff) from your electricity supplier of 43.3p or more for every kWh of energy generated, tax-free for 25 years from the date the system is installed. n You may also use the electricity you generate and which the electricity provider is paying you for free. So if you’re currently being charged 10p per kWh for your electricity, based on the figure above, the electricity generated by your system would be valued at 53.3p per kWh.

10

How To Make Money From Solar Energy

The Feed In Tariff Explained

11

n Any energy your system generates but isn’t used can be sold back to the grid for 3.1p per kWh. This means that every kWh generated is worth 46.4p to you. n The tariff is not only tax-free but it will increase with inflation over the 25 year period. n If you had invested £15,000 in a solar panel system for your home, you might earn £1,000 to £1,500 per year, so you would be looking at around 9% return on your investment which is much better than you’d get from a bank. n Feel good as you earn money. We need to reduce our carbon footprint and solar systems are major players among the renewable technologies that are fundamental to achieving this goal. Qualifying For the Feed In Tariff Scheme Naturally certain criteria have to be met in order to qualify for the full payments offered by the tariff. There is a time consideration. If your solar panel system was installed between 15 July 2009 and 31 March 2010 you will have needed to transfer Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) to the FIT scheme before 1 April 2010. If your installation is post 1 April 2010 your solar system and installer must both be Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accredited to qualify. If you are thinking about doing the installation yourself to save on costs, you will disqualify yourself from the FITs no matter what solar panel product you use. You can find the list of registered FIT licensed suppliers on the Ofgem website:
http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Sustainability/Environment/fits/rfitls/Pages/rfitls.aspx

The Three Ways in Which You Can Benefit Financially From The Scheme Note: The unit with which the energy produced is measured is kWh which is an abbreviation for kilowatt hour. 1 kWh represents the continuous generation of 1000 watts over a period of one hour. This is also the unit used by utility providers on your bill and the same unit that they will use to calculate payment for electricity delivered to the grid, making it easier to do calculations and comparisons. 1. Generation Tariff – Solar panel users will enter the scheme on a certain set rate paid by their energy supplier for each unit (kWh) produced, whether it’s used by the household or not. Tariff levels vary depending on the scale of the installation. For installations before 15 July 2009, previously part of the Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) and which have been transferred to the FIT scheme before the 1 April deadline, 9p/kWh will be received for every unit generated plus 3p/kWh for every unit exported. Installations occurring between 15 July 2009 and 31 March 2010 and transferred to FITs before 1 April 2010 will qualify for the full FIT payment. Similarly, installations after 1 April 2010, if an MCS accredited product and installer are used.Entrants after 31 March 2012 will see a yearly decrease in the rate.

1

There are several components to a grid-tied solar system, designed to get the most from the FIT scheme, but the three main parts are: 1. The Solar Panels which generate the clean electricity from sunlight and must be installed by an MCS accredited company.

3 2

2. The Inverter that converts the electricity from direct to alternating current suitable for use in the home. 3. The Import/Export Meter. This meter monitors the excess energy being exported to the grid during the day and the power imported from the grid at night.

12

How To Make Money From Solar Energy

The Feed In Tariff Explained

13

Table Of Generation Tariffs To 2020 NB: Tariffs will be Retail Price Index (RPI) linked and inflate annually, so if you were to have solar panels installed in your house in February 2012, you’d receive the 43.3p per kWh tariff for 25 years plus the retail price index increase at the time of commencement. Information is accurate at time of going to press. Please check for updated information at www.decc.gov.uk. Tariff Level (p/kWh)
1/4/10 Tariff to To To To To To To To To To To Lifetime 31/3/11 31/3/12 31/3/13 31/3/14 31/3/15 31/3/16 31/3/17 31/3/18 31/3/19 31/3/20 31/3/21 (Years)

4-Step Calculation Example Example of how much money could be earned from a typical domestic solar electricity system with an installation size of 2.7 Kilowatt peak (kWp). This would be a 12 panel PV system that will produce approximately 2287 kWh each year. 1. Generation Tariff No of units generated x tariff per unit. 2287 x 43.3p = £990.27 (A) 2. Free Energy Figures will vary depending on how much generated electricity is used and how much is exported. In this case we’re assuming 50% is used and that the cost of buying it would have been 13p per unit.

Scale

≤4 kW New Build

37.8

37.8

34.6

31.6

29.0

26.4

24.0

21.8

19.9

18.1

16.4

25

≤4 kW Retrofit

43.3

43.3

39.6

36.3

33.2

30.2

27.5

25.0

22.7

20.7

18.8

25

The value of the free energy is 50% of the number of units generated multiplied by the unit cost of electricity: 50% x 2287 x 13p = £148.66 (B) 3. Export Tariff The unused energy generated by the system will get exported to the grid at an earning of 3p a kWh. The value of the exported energy is based on 50% of the number of units generated, multiplied by the export tariff amount: 50% x 2287 x 3.1p = £35.44 (C) 4. Total The total value of income and savings is calculated by adding (A) + (B) + (C) = £1,174.37 every year.

‘New Build’ means installed on a building before being occupied for the first time. ‘Retrofit’ means installed on a building that is already occupied.

2. Export Tariff – Every unit of electricity that isn’t used on site can be exported back to the electricity grid for a further 3p per kWh. Until smart meters are made available to domestic FITs participants, they are likely to have their export estimated at around 50%. Like the Generation Tariff, Export Tariffs will be linked to the Retail price Index (RPI) to ensure they keep up with the rate of inflation. 3. Savings On Your Energy Bill - Once you’re generating electricity and using it to power your household appliances you won’t need to buy as much electricity from your energy provider, resulting in some great savings on your electricity bills.

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How To Make Money From Solar Energy

The Feed In Tariff Explained

15

Don’t worry if calculating your return seems too complicated at this stage. There are plenty of online tools available and professionals to help you. As you go through this book, you’ll discover the many factors that will impact your return and what you need to know about your property and household requirements in order to make accurate calculations - whether you calculate your return yourself, use an online calculator or get an estimate from an installer. There’s a whole chapter dedicated to the subject of calculating your return starting on page 19. Clarifying Eligibility For Those Who Have Already Had Their Solar Panels Installed
ELIGIBLE Installed before 15 July 2009 and registered for Ofgem’s Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) payments which you transferred over to FIT before the 1 April 2010. NOT ELIGIBLE Installed before 15 July 2009 but never applied to Ofgem for ROC accreditation to receive payments or you had ROC but didn’t transfer to FITs before the 1 April deadline.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Feed In Tariff Scheme Q: What happens if I move house? A: Solar Panel technology is intrinsically linked to the site to which it’s attached. If you move home the ownership of the system transfers to the new owner of the property. Chapter 10 is entitled Selling Your Solar Powered Home and, starting on page 85, takes a close look at what needs to be considered concerning moving home with suggestions about what to do so you don’t lose out. Q: I have an MCS accredited installation but it’s not connected to the electricity grid. Does it still qualify for the Feed In Tariff? A: Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is yes. You can still apply for the generation tariff at the rate that applies to its capacity. As excess electricity generated cannot be transferred to the grid, you will have to sign a declaration stating that all the

Installed before 1April 2010 your installer and product were both MCS accredited but you didn’t apply before 1 April 2010. You can still apply for full payment.

Installed before 1 April 2010 your installer and product were NOT MCS accredited and you didn’t contact Ofgem to apply for ROC before 31 March 2010.

electricity generated by the system will be used and not wasted. You will save on your electricity bill. Q: How can I measure what is being generated and used?

Installed after 1 April 2010 with MCS accredited product and installer. Contact your energy supplier and tell them you are eligible to receive FITs. They will want to see your certificate as proof. Note: If your installation took place after the first two years of the scheme, your tariff may be reduced, depending on the size of your installation.

Installed after 1 April 2010 with NON-MCS accredited product and installer. You are not eligible to receive either the Generation or Export Tariffs. However, you may be able to negotiate privately to receive these tariffs outside of the FIT scheme. Whatever happens, you will still be able to benefit from the savings you will make on your electricity bill.

A: To measure the amount of energy generated there must be an Ofgem approved total generation meter connected to the installation which should be installed as part of the system. For the purposes of measuring exported electricity on installations over 30 kWp an export meter has to be installed at the request of the energy supplier concerned and maintained by them in order to meet the criteria laid down by Ofgem and be approved for FIT payments. It will have an MPAN number similar to what appears on a standard electricity meter.

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How To Make Money From Solar Energy

The Feed In Tariff Explained

17

For smaller installations, the cost of installing and maintaining the export meter is likely to be greater than the income from the export tariff. In this case the amount of electricity exported is estimated or ‘deemed’ to be half the amount of that generated and payment is made accordingly. Many energy companies are steering away from using export meters, preferring to wait for the introduction of smart meters which are due from early 2013. They are expected to measure electricity exported and imported from the grid and should be installed by the energy companies free of charge to their customers. Q: Can I benefit from the FIT scheme if I have free solar panels installed? A: It is possible to benefit from the FIT scheme with free panel installation, although not to the same degree as the installer of the free panels. There are pros and cons to accepting free panels and you can see for yourself on page 71. Q: How long will it take for the system to pay for itself? A: The FIT scheme has been designed to be both environmentally friendly and financially viable. How long it will take for a system to pay for itself will vary with individual installations and requirements. An example would be that if you bought and installed a solar panel system for £12,000 you might earn approximately £1,000 to £1,500 per year, dividing the initial cost by the savings gives you approximately 10 years, after which the remaining thousands generated will be pure profit. Due to the fact that this income is Retail Price Indexed linked the period of time needed for the system to pay for itself should be less than this.

Q: When is the best time to invest? A: The short answer is ‘as soon as you can’ because you lock into the FIT that prevails on the date you install your system. If that’s before the 31 March 2012, you will lock into the rate of 43.3p per kWh generated until 2035 to 2036. After April 2012 you will still earn 39.4p per kWh generated but this figure is nearly 9% lower. So timing is important in order to maximise your return. 9-Step Checklist For Taking Part In The FIT Scheme And Earning From Your Solar Energy 1. For installations completed between 15 July 2009 and 31 March 2010, check you transferred your Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) to the FIT scheme before 1 April 2010. 2. For post April 2010 installations MCS accreditation of solar panel system and installer will be required. 3. Complete a Home Energy Check to ensure you’ve taken all the basic energy efficiency measures. 4. If your solar panels aren’t installed yet start considering which MCS accredited products and installers you’d like to use. More details about choosing installers and products can be found in chapters five and six. 5. Gather together the information needed to find out how much you could earn from your home solar panel system. Details of what you need are included on page 21 along with the website address of an online FITs calculator.

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How To Make Money From Solar Energy

19

6. Consider the options for financing the installations on page 71 along with any ‘hidden’ costs so you’re in a position to know exactly what you will be making from your solar panels. 7. Now you’re in a very good position to contact some installers and ask for quotes. We recommend getting quotes from 3 or 4 installers. See page 53 about what to expect from installers and details of where to find MCS installers that cover your area. 8. Get the installation done and your FIT eligibility certificate from the installer. 9. Once completed, notify your energy provider as they will want to see your FIT certificate and arrange payments.

Chapter Three

Calculating Your Return
There are several free tools available on the internet that will help you calculate your return. Some of them will offer you a quick, rough estimate based on your answers to a few basic questions about your home’s location, size of installation and household needs. Others require specific details for a more accurate calculation. You can also ask an installer to help you work out your return and we will discuss choosing an installer in a later chapter. Online calculators use varied combinations of information to calculate your return and at the end of this section you’ll find a list of possible information required to help you get the most accurate calculation. Although you may not need answers to all the questions for every calculator, the information about your property is worth having. Knowing the factors taken into consideration during a survey of your home and why they make such a difference to the outcome, will help you choose the most powerful and cost-effective system and maximise your return. The installer you finally choose to do the work will also need access to much of this information. How Your Return Will Be Calculated Small systems installed on existing roofs are referred to as ‘retrofit’ and at the moment the generation tariff for this type of installation stands at 43.3p per kWh. At the time of installation the installer will provide a generation meter which will measure the amount of energy being generated.

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How To Make Money From Solar Energy

Calculating Your Return

21

Tariffs vary with the size and type of installation, as follows:

All you have to do then is to add the three figures together to get the Total Yearly Income and Savings which usually falls between £300 and £1,500 per year.

System Type

System Size

Tariff per kWh (locked in for 25 years) 37.8p 43.3p 37.8p 32.9p 30.7p 30.7p

You will find a 4-Step Calculation Example in the Feed In Tariff Chapter on page 13 and a lot more detail about how the tariff works, but this chapter is dedicated to showing what things will affect your calculation and final income and savings. Some things, like your location for example, cannot be changed, but there are choices that you will need to make that will affect results. You need to be aware of them so you can get the most from being part of the Feed In Tariff scheme.

New Build Retrofit New Build/Retrofit New Build/Retrofit New Build/Retrofit Stand-alone

under 4kWp under 4kWp 4-10kWp 10-100kWp 100kWp-4MWp

Questions That Will Help You Get The Most Accurate Calculation n Postcode? Your postcode shows your exact location and can be used to view your roof top on Google Maps. You can see how close you are to having an ideal south-facing area for your panels which is all helpful in calculating your foof’s solar potential.

-

n How much roof space do you have on your most southern facing roof? To answer this question you will need to know the size of your roof space in square metres minus any obstructions like dormer

Next you assess what percentage of the energy you generate will be used on running your household. This will depend on what extent the electricity is being used during the day. You will also need to know how much you are being charged per unit of electricity which is usually shown on your electricity bill, but if in doubt, 13p is considered a reasonable average. Now you can gauge how much free energy you can expect by taking the percentage of the units generated and multiply them by the unit cost of the electricity, giving you your Free Energy for the year. The remaining percentage of units will be exported to the grid, so if you multiply them by the export tariff earning that will give you the total Export Tariff earnings for the year.

windows or skylights. n What is your maximum budget? By knowing the answers to available roof space and budget you will be able to determine the size of the system you could install.
Example: If you had a large roof size of 21 m2 and a budget of around £12,000 you should be able to install a 3kWh system with the highest Feed In Tariff rate covering set costs. Use the Space and Budget Table on the following page as a guide.

22

How To Make Money From Solar Energy

Calculating Your Return

23

Space and Budget Table Approx Roof Space 8 m2 14 m2 21 m2 28 m2 Possible System Size 1 kW 2 kW 3 kW 4 kW Approx Estimated Estimated Estimated Budget Output First Year Profit Over Required Per Annum Return 25 Years £6k-£9k £8k-£12k £9k-£15k 750 kWh 1500 kWh 2250 kWh £370 £740 £1,110 £1,480 £9,250 £18,500 £27,750 £37,000

n What is the estimated export? - 100% (Export ALL electricity generated) - 50% (Out of the house most of the time) - 25% (In the house most of the time) - 0% (Use ALL the electricity generated) n What way does your roof face? - South - South South West - South South East - South West - South East - West South West - East South East - West - East - North West - North East - North - Upwards (Flat Roof)

£10k-£18k 3000 kWh

n What is or will be the size category of your installation? - 4 kW Existing Build or Retrofit (refers to attaching a PV system to an existing building as an added accessory) - 4 kW New Build (refers to where a PV system was installed at time of build and prior to anyone moving in) - 4 - 10 kW - 10 - 100 kW - 100 kW – 5MW - Stand Alone System (refers to a system that is neither attached to a building nor wired to electricity to an occupied building) n When did you/do you plan to install the technology? - Installed BEFORE 15 July 2009 - BETWEEN 15 July 2009 and 31 March 2012 - BETWEEN 1 April 2012 and 31 March 2013 - BETWEEN 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014 - BETWEEN 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015

N

Not Recommended

W
Good

E SW S
Ideal

SE

Good

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n What is the angle or pitch of your roof, in degrees? (The average UK roof is around 35 degree pitch). - Horizontal - 0o - 10 degrees - 20 degrees - 30 degrees - 35 degrees - 40 degrees - 50 degrees - 60 degrees - Vertical - 90
o

This will give you the expected performance of your system as: - Annual Output - Applicable Feed In Tariff - FIT per Annum

South

- Savings on Electricity Bill - Export Tariff - Total Annual Tariffs/Savings
The average UK roof is pitched at around 35 degrees

The main problem with the SAP method of calculation is that it isn’t taking into consideration the latitude or location of the property which makes it inaccurate to the point that it can underestimate the performance in coastal areas and many parts of southern England by between 2-14%. The SAP calculation is based on 1 kilowatt peak (1 kWp) producing 858 kilowatt hours (858 kWh) but this is only true for the inland strip from Coventry up to the Scottish border. In Devon and Cornwall a 1 kWp can be expected to generate up to 975 kWh per year which is 14% more than the SAP calculation. Installers will have more accurate systems for predicting your return by taking other factors into account. For this reason we recommend getting a couple of surveys done by different companies in order to compare and make sure that everything has been taken into account. Factors That Will Affect Your Return n Location We have seen from the information on the governments SAP calculator how location is an important factor in what you can expect from your solar panel installation. Although the UK may not seem a large area in

n To what extent is your roof overshadowed? n How much electricity do you pay per unit? (You should be able to find this information on your electricity bill but if in doubt choose 13p). SAP 2009 Calculation Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) is the government’s official guidelines to calculating your return. This calculator takes into consideration such things as: - System size in Kilowatt peak (kWp) - Tilt of the installation area in degrees - Installations orientation, north to south and all its variations - Level of overshadowing - Whether the panels will be fitted to an existing or new building (not applicable to systems over 4kWp) - Your Electricity tariff (pence). If in doubt you are advised to select 13p - Whether you are at home during the day

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the scheme of things, we have seen variations of up to 30% in the power generation capacity of solar panels in the South West of England compared to the North of Scotland. See solar map on page 39. n Size And Type Of Installation The total energy produced is dependent on the size of the system, along with the other factors. Size of installation can be limited by roof space and budget. There are systems available that generate more power per panel or smaller panel. They are more expensive but if you have to have less panels because of area restrictions they can work out cost-effective. Solar panel technology does seem to be a case where you get what you pay for. More expensive usually means more effective and when you think what a long term investment they are and what can be achieved, it’s worth getting it right from the outset. n Whether Or Not You Use An MCS Accredited Installer And Product MCS stands for the Microgenerational Certification Scheme. It is an internationally recognised, industry led and funded scheme focused on ensuring the quality of renewable technology installations and products that’s been developed over a number of years. As far as the Feed In Tariff scheme is concerned, you must use an MCS accredited product and installer to qualify for the full payment available. n How You Choose To Finance The Installation Naturally, how much you can earn from the FIT scheme will be influenced by how you choose to finance the installation. You may go to a traditional finance company like a bank, and mortgage lenders have also developed a range of products to help their customers fund solar power systems. Some installers finance the product and installation themselves and you can pay them or a third party they use back over a specific term. There

are companies offering free panels which you may qualify for or you may have money you wish to invest yourself and would find it difficult to get a better return on your investment. Whatever you choose you will find some benefits and savings possible. See the Section on Financing Your Solar Panel Installation on page 75. n Hidden Costs PV modules do not require a lot of care and rain usually ensures they are kept clean and free of most debris. However the modules can be cleaned with a cloth, perhaps when other outside maintenance is being done like gutter clearing. Tough weather conditions have been taken into consideration at design and manufacturing stages and strong winds, snow load and harsh frost shouldn’t be a problem. For areas prone to extreme weather conditions, insurance is an option but data from the insurance industry indicates that claims are very rare. A small amount should be budgeted for maintenance repairs and insurance so that your system is working at its maximum capability and bringing you the best returns on your investment. n The Date When Your Panels Were Or Will Be Installed If you’ve already had your solar panel system installed there are time sensitive stipulations you need to be aware of in order to ensure you qualify for the FIT scheme in the first place and to what extent you can benefit. Similarly, if you are just thinking about installation, you do need to take a look at the information relating to timings in order to ensure you get the maximum financial benefits from the scheme. These details can be found in the Feed In Tariff Explained chapter of this book. n When You Will Be Using The Electricity The Most If you’re rarely at home during the day and the house is unoccupied, your

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savings and income will not be as big as if there were electrical appliances in use. But with many household appliances having timers now it may be possible to have things charging or operating like washing machines while you’re out. It’s certainly something that’s worth thinking about. n Orientation And Pitch Or Angle Of Roof Ideally your roof should be facing south but it’s possible to compensate for most other directions and you need to remember panels can be attached to the front or the back of the roof. Even if solar modules are installed on a roof which is 40 from south, only small losses are incurred.
O

n Size of Areas And Amount Of Panel Space High efficiency means taking up less space on your roof for the solar array. Efficiency isn’t usually a big concern unless the roof area to be used is unusually small, in which case a little more spent for less panels of a higher efficiency will work out the most cost effective. Frequently Asked Questions About Calculating Your Return Q: Won’t my installer be able to work out my return for me or do I have to try to do it myself? A: Your installer will survey your site and work out the best solution to optimise your return. However, the installer will still need answers about your household that only you can supply. So whether you calculate your return yourself, try an online calculator or ask an installer, you need to be aware of the information required and the choices available to get the best return. Q: Once my solar system is operating how can I be sure what electricity I’m producing? A: There are two types of meters that you’ll need, a generation meter that will come with your system and will let you know the total amount of electricity it’s generating. The other is an export meter and can only be fitted by your electricity provider.

The pitch or angle of the roof can affect the number of hours of sunlight your panels will receive during the course of a year. The question of the pitch of the roof is asked when planning and particularly for an online calculation but when it comes to the actual installation, solar modules can be manoeuvred into an appropriate position by means of a support structure even if the actual pitch of the roof itself isn’t favourable. The optimum angle of inclination and orientation must correspond to the latitude of the location. n Shade Solar panels are designed to deal with cloudy and overcast conditions but shade caused by overshadowing trees and neighbouring buildings can be a problem. Shade on one panel can shut down operations on the others so it’s a very important factor to get right. Installers have a gadget that can reveal any shady areas on the roof whatever the time of year. Once this is known the panel layout can be designed around any such areas and problems avoided.

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Chapter Four

Surveying Your House For Optimum Usage
When surveying your site for optimum usage there will be three main things that you’ll be looking for: 1. Your Household’s Power Requirements:- Typical power consumption on a daily basis, taking into consideration all electrical devices and lighting requirements, so you know what your system must achieve 2. Your Location’s Solar Irradiance:- Solar Irradiance or Insolation, as it’s also called, is made up of the number of hours of sunlight and the strength of that sunlight at your particular location, taking into consideration the changes that occur through the course of the year. 3. Your Site’s Peculiarities:- This could be anything about the property or surrounding area that could influence the output and income capabilities of your solar PV system and will be assessed through a thorough survey of your site. At the end of this chapter you should know what type of system you will require to meet your household requirements, what you can expect from a solar PV system and what you need to do in order to maximise the income you can generate from the solar energy you will be producing. In each case you will be shown how to work out these calculations manually so you can understand why these calculations are needed and

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why you would want to get them as accurate as possible. You will also be shown a Keep It Simple option which will help you to make quick calculations and give you access to tools that will make things faster and easier for those less scientifically minded.
Living Room Lights Kitchen Lights Hallway Lights Bathroom Lights Bedroom 1 Bedroom 2 Fridge/Freezer TV Kettle Microwave Desktop PC Printer 220-240v 120 5 (600) 660 Devices Voltage Power (watts) Hours of Use (daily) Watt Hours

1. Your Household’s Power Requirements Power consumption for your site needs to be measured in watt-hours (Wh). You can get this information from your existing electricity bill or, if moving into a new house, estimate it for yourself. The wattage of household appliances can be found on the bottom of the appliance; on the power supply; in the product manual or you can measure them with the use of a watt meter. A watt meter is a device that you plug into the wall socket and then plug the appliance into the meter. The amount of power the device is using will be displayed on the LCD and is the most accurate way to gauge the amount of power being consumed. You can list everything from living room lighting to charging mobile phones and don’t forget that if you have gas central heating the control and the pump will require electricity too. Once you have your list of devices, draw up a 5 column grid (see example on following page). The device goes in the first column, the voltage in the second, power requirements in watts in the third, hours used per day in the fourth. Then take the watts in the third column, multiply by the hours per day from the fourth column and that gives you the watt-hours which you will enter into the fifth column but before you do so add an extra 10% to cover inefficiencies. This accounts for inverters and the resistance in the circuits that will reduce the efficiency of your system. You could also factor in a small amount of power for items that use power even when switched off like TVs on standby.

220-240v 220-240v

60 120

2 1

(120) 132 (120) 132

220-240v

160

1

(160) 176

220-240v 220-240v 220-240v 220-240v 220-240v 220-240v 220-240v 220-240v

60 60 500 300 2500 1500 443 35

1 2 24 4 1 0.5 2 2

(60) 66 (120) 132 (12500) 13750 (1200) 1320 (2500) 2750 (750) 825 (886) 975 (70) 77 20995

Total Watt-Hours Required Per Day

Once you have done this you will be able to see what your solar system has to achieve.

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For Your Information - Understanding The Path Of The Sun This is the scientific part, but it’s critical to solar panel technology and why many of the online calculators ask for the exact location of your property. Once you’ve read this section you’ll understand why it’s such an important factor. As the earth moves, the sun travels on a very specific path through our skies and as it does, the position of the sun changes and also its height in relation to where we are located. There are two times in the year when the day is exactly 12 hours long – 21 March and 21 September - when the sun rises due east and sets due west. We call these times solar equinoxes. You can be sure that exactly six hours after the sun has risen, the angle of the sun will be 90O minus your local latitude. In the Northern hemisphere, the longest day of the year is 21 June (Summer Solstice) and the shortest day is the 21 December (Winter Solstice). At the time of the Summer Solstice the angle of the sun is 23.5O higher than on the Equinox and on the Winter Solstice it’s 23.5O lower. Let’s take London in the United Kingdom as an example. London’s latitude is 51O. If we deduct London’s latitude of 51O from the sun’s equinox of 90O we get 39O. Now we take the angle of the sun at Summer Solstice of 23.5O and ADD it to 39O to get the position of the sun on the 21 June, the height of summer, in respect to London and it is 62.5O. To find its lowest point we take the angle of the sun at Winter Solstice, which is also 23.5O, and DEDUCT it from 39O to get 15.5O on the 21 December which is midwinter. So for London in the United Kingdom the optimum tilt for solar panels in degrees from vertical would be: January February March April May June 22 30O 38O 46O 54O 62O
O

2. Your Location’s Solar Irradiance There are two main factors required when calculating solar energy: n The number of hours of sunlight n The strength of the sunlight This combined information is referred to as solar irradiance or insolation and is described as watts per square metre (W/m2) or kilowatthours per square metre over a day (kWh/m2/day). The wattage of photovoltaic solar panels is given on the number of watts of power they are expected to generate and based on a solar irradiance of 1,000 watts per square metre. This reading is what you would expect at solar noon in mid-summer and not an average daily achievement. Solar irradiance varies from place to place and, on top of that, changes throughout the year have to be factored in also. Once you know the solar irradiance for your location (the number of kilowatt-hours {kWh} per square metre per day) that figure needs to be multiplied by the wattage of the chosen solar panels and will give an idea of the amount of energy you can expect your solar panels to provide on a daily basis. Another benefit to knowing the solar irradiance values of your location throughout the year is so that you can see the best angle for the panels in summer and winter and an average can be calculated for the best all year round tilt for fixed roof mounted panels. Taking into consideration the angle and direction of the roof, the panel mountings can be adjusted to provide the optimum tilt for your solar panels. Fortunately, NASAs weather satellites have been monitoring solar irradiance around the globe for decades and following are the solar radiance values for London. Irradiance values for other UK locations can be found in the appendix of this book.

July August September October November December

54 46O 38O 30O 22O 14O

O

There are solar arrays that are mounted on a pole and have a solar tracker sensor mounted on the top which tracks the sun across the sky and an electric motor moves the array so that it can generate the maximum amount of power. With roof mounted solar panels, where they cannot be moved in this way, they need to be pitched at an angle relatively close to the pitch of the roof.

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Solar Irradiance Values – LONDON

Keeping Solar Irradiance Values Simple

JAN
Flat 0o Upright 90o 38o Best Year Round Tilt 22o Best Winter Tilt 54o Best Summer Tilt

FEB 1.37 1.80

MAR 2.31 2.18

APR 3.57 2.58

MAY 4.59 2.70

JUN 4.86 2.64

You can see from the figures above that over the period of an average December day in London, a solar array lying flat gets the equivalent of 0.6 hours of midday sun (36 minutes). In contrast, an average June day

0.75 1.20

in London will see the equivalent of 4.86 hours of midday sun (4 hours and 50 minutes).

1.27

2.04

2.76

3.67

4.17

4.20

Panels in an upright position of 90O would get 1.01 hours in December - that’s just over an hour - and only 2.80 in August (2 hours 48

1.30

2.03

2.62

3.34

3.66

3.69

minutes). So this should illustrate how important the angles of the solar panels are when it comes to generating power. If a tilt of 22O gets the best winter results and a tilt of 54O gets the

1.19

1.95

2.77

3.84

4.52

4.63

best summer results, we know that if we take an average of 38O this will get the best overall results across the whole year and that’s what we’re

JUL
Flat 0o Upright 90o 38o Best Year Round Tilt 22o Best Winter Tilt 54o Best Summer Tilt

AUG 4.20 2.80

SEP 2.81 2.47

OCT 1.69 2.07

NOV 0.92 1.43

DEC 0.60 1.01

looking for (not the maximum power output EVERY month). The chart above, for the London area, shows solar irradiance by

4.82 2.71

calculating the amount of sunlight shining on a single square metre of panel. When the sun is high in the sky the intensity of sunlight on that 1 metre area is high. When the sun is low, the same amount of sunlight is spread over a greater area.

4.25

4.16

3.26

2.41

1.53

1.05
Keeping Optimum Tilt For Fixed Solar Panels Simple

3.76

3.73

3.06

2.37

1.56

1.08
So, put another way, to get the optimum tilt for fixed solar panels, for all the year round power generation, the calculation is:

4.66

4.41

3.31

2.33

1.43

0.97
90O – your latitude = optimum fixed year round setting So London would calculate as: 90O – 51.5O = 38.5O.

Note: For irradiance values of other UK regions please see the Solar Insolation appendix.

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Based On Solar Irradiance, How Much Power Will Your Solar Panels Generate?

Yearly Total Of Horizontal Irradiation (kWh/m2) United Kingdom

Based on the solar irradiance figures for your location, you can calculate how much power your solar panel will give you per day on a monthly basis. This is done by multiplying the monthly solar irradiance figure by the manufacturer’s stated wattage of the panel:

Solar Irradiance x Panel Wattage = Watt-Hours Per Day

Glasgow

For example, if we take the December reading of the panel tilted for optimum all year round power and multiply it by 20-watt solar panel we can calculate the following:

Belfast

Tyneside

1.05 x 20w =21 Wh of energy per day through December
Liverpool

Leeds Sheffield

You can use solar irradiance to give you a guide to how much capacity you will need from your solar array too. This will be approximate at this stage because there will be certain other factors to take into consideration in order to calculate the exact capacity required, like your site’s peculiarities, which we’ll be covered in the next section of this chapter. Meanwhile, you can calculate a ball-park requirement for your solar system that will help you to cost it too. Take the figure you calculated for your total number of watt hours per day and divide it by the solar irradiance figure for the worst month.
Bristol London Nottingham Birmingham

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3. Your Site’s Peculiarities There will be factors peculiar to your site that will affect the output and income capabilities of your solar system. Some of these things may be unchangeable like the size of your roof, others will be changeable like a tall garden tree that’s overshadowing your panels and blocking out too much sunlight but could be kept trimmed back in order to overcome the problem. There will also be things that are unchangeable but, once you know they will obstruct you from getting the best from your solar panels in the format you’d planned, you can find an alternative solution. For instance, a small roof may not be able to accommodate the panels you had planned on using, as you cannot fit enough of them to generate the power you require. However, you could use less panels of a more powerful system. The smaller installation required may go some way to meet the extra expense. In order to identify these peculiarities and assess what needs to be done about them, a thorough survey needs to take place. Some Tools You May Need To Do Your Survey n Compass n Protractor n Spirit level n Tape measure n Ladder n Pencil n Paper

those who like the scientific side of things and would like to have a go at surveying their site for themselves, here are some tips and tools for going about it simply and inexpensively. What You Will Be Looking For You will be looking to answer these two questions: n What will be the most suitable position for my solar array? The answer to this question will tell you if the solar energy system you’re thinking of installing is viable or not and, if it is, how to get the most from it. n What are the obstacles and will they block out too much sunlight? This is the most important question, as obstacles blocking out sunlight can dramatically reduce the efficiency of your system. The answer relies on knowing where the sun will be positioned in the sky at different times of the year in respect to your exact location. It’s because the sun is much lower in the sky during the winter months that the solar array can experience more obstruction from surrounding features. Shadows from nearby buildings may only occur in winter time but you need to know so you can estimate the problem and find a solution. Perhaps it’s a case of mounting the panels higher on the roof than originally anticipated. The Importance Of Sunlight And Shade Although solar panel systems do not require constant direct sunlight to

Your solar PV system installer should do a thorough survey of your site before proceeding. The following will provide you with an understanding of what is required to get the maximum effect from your system. For

operate, obstructions to the sun’s light - like trees, buildings and even telegraph poles - can all make a difference to getting the most from your solar energy system. As the sun ‘moves’ across the sky during the course

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of the day and year, the obstacles blocking its light will change and it’s important to know what those obstructions are and how those changes will affect the power that can be generated in order to take the necessary course of action. There are ways of plotting the sun’s path across the sky and checking shade. It changes throughout the year so calculations can’t be based on one day’s findings but if you’ve never done a survey like this before, choosing a sunny day will help you get a better idea of the things you need to look out for. Taking Note Of The Obvious First Does the roof appear to have good access to sunlight and what obvious problems, if any, can be observed? Check there are no obvious obstructions like buildings, telegraph poles and trees that will block the sunlight from the roof. Having solar panels installed is a long term investment so include trees that are too small to worry about right now but could be a problem in a few years time. Don’t forget to include other things closer to home like dormer windows, skylights and chimney stacks, that will either obstruct the sun or limit the positioning of the solar array. IMPORTANT: It’s useful to have access to the roof to check its suitability but do be aware of the dangers. Many deaths and injuries are caused through falling from roofs. You know that the best position for the panels is south facing so which part of the roof, front or back seems the best for that? Use the compass to check and remember angled supports can be constructed at the mounting stage to ensure panels are positioned correctly. Similarly,

if you have a flat roof, the panels can be fitted using angled mountings for best results. Also take into consideration that panels can be mounted on walls at an appropriate angle without protruding too far from the wall as well as being mounted on a post or on the ground. The way the roof is facing is one consideration but the pitch or angle of the roof is something different and needs to be taken into account also. The angle of the roof can be calculated with a protractor placed at the base of the roof rafter underneath the roof itself. Professionals use an inexpensive tool called a Roof Angle Finder or Magnetic Polycast Protractor which can be bought from builders’ merchants. All you do is press the tool up against the roof rafters and you will be given a reading of the roof angle in degrees. The structure of the roof also needs to be checked to see if it’s strong enough to take the weight of the solar array and that’s a tricky one. If you have no experience in building structures, it’s going to be very difficult for you to judge accurately. If in doubt, get advice from a builder or architect - although the installer will be able to assess this for you when the time comes. Solar panels individually only weigh about 15 to 20 kilograms, which is only about 33-44 pounds, but when multiple panels are combined within an aluminium frame the combined weight can make a significant difference. As the panels are going to be in situ for some time it’s important that they are well supported. When you’re thinking about positioning and getting the maximum efficiency from your system, maintenance should not be overlooked. You may want to think about the possibility of mounting the panels at the lowest point of the roof, providing it doesn’t compromise their effectiveness in any way. This would make them more accessible for you if you decide to clean them yourself and most window cleaners use telescopic window cleaning kits these days and will be willing to clean

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them from time to time. Rain usually keeps the panels quite clean but a wipe over every few months can prevent the build up of grime and keep the panels working to maximum levels of efficiency. Whatever you decide, you will need to get a measurement of the roof space available for your solar array. To get a really good visual idea, some people use cut-outs made from cardboard boxes to represent the panels and place them on the roof in position. Not only does this provide a visual but it could also help to identify any obstacles that may need consideration.

3. Download the Sun Chart PDF and print it out. The Sun Chart shows the position of the sun for every minute of the year on a single piece of paper.

4. Make 2 copies of the Solar Elevation and Azimuth Gauge (below). 5. Make the Elevation Gauge - Paste one copy onto a piece of cardboard - Trim the cardboard along the Sight Line (you will sight along this edge for the elevation measurements) - Put a small nail through the centre of the reference circle where the lines meet - Tie one end of a light string and the other end to any small Shading and Obstacle Analysis There are especially designed tools for obstacle analysis, but unless you’re doing lots of surveys on a regular basis there is no point in investing in one. A simple and inexpensive way is to use a compass, a Sun Chart of your location and home-made solar elevation and azimuth gauges as follows: 1. Find the latitude and longitude of your location using Google Maps. 2. Get a sun chart for your area at: http://solardat.uoregon.edu/SunChartProgram.html. weight, like a bolt or a nut Elevation And Azimuth Gauge

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6. Make the Azimuth Angle Gauge - Paste the other copy onto a piece of cardboard - Find a thin straight piece of wood (a pencil will do) and drill a small hole near one end. You will sight along this pointer to measure azimuth angles - Put a small nail through the drilled hole and then through the centre of the reference circle

To measure the azimuth angle of an object, sight along the pointer that you attached to the azimuth gauge, and move it until it is lined up with the object. Then read the azimuth angle off the azimuth gauge where the pointer passes the azimuth angle number scale. 10. Measure the elevation angle for the same object by sighting along the Sight Line on the Elevation Gauge. Read the elevation angle where the string crosses the elevation angle scale. 11. Mark the azimuth and elevation angles of each high point on the Sun Chart, as you go, with a dot. Join the dots to mark the position of the horizon on your Sun Chart.

Elevation Gauge

Azimuth Gauge

7. Set up a reasonably level surface (e.g. a pasting or card table) about where your solar panel will be. 8. Tape the Azimuth angle gauge to the table such that 180 on the blue azimuth scale faces true south. 9. Measure the azimuth and elevation angles for each of the high points along your horizon. People in the Northern Hemisphere – that’s north of the equator and includes all of us in the UK – need to observe things starting from east and working through south to the west.

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Keeping Obstacle Tracking Simple As mentioned previously, there are many tools that the professionals use. They range from hundreds to thousands of pounds to purchase, so not cost-effective for a one-off survey. There are solar pathfinders that allow you to plot the obstacles on a chart and manually work out where shading will occur and electronic systems with GPS, tilt switches and accelerometers that will do the work for you and give you a superb analysis. It may be worth a small investment for an iPhone app called Solmetric IPV which provides automatic obstacle tracking with yearly shade analysis and skyline charts. It’s easier to use and much cheaper and although the detail is not quite as thorough as the other expensive electronic systems available, more professionals are using it. Find out more from www.solmetric.com. Reading The Results The area below the line is the shaded part. Generally speaking, the positioning of your solar application should be fine if you have about 6 hours of unblocked sunlight around noon each day. That’s about 9am to 3pm. If you do have obstacles blocking the light during this time then you will need to work out what they are (trees, telegraph poles, etc.) how long they occur for and when. Then you can decide on a plan of action. If blockages are serious, consider the following: If it’s a tree that’s blocking the light, a slight trim might be all that’s needed. Do consider other trees nearby that may not be an obstruction now but could become a problem in a few years when they grow.

Buildings, telegraph poles and immovable objects may mean you need to consider locating a better spot for your panels. Remember, adjustments can be made to the panel’s mounts to realign the panels for unobstructed sun. For instance, if you know that the sun gets blocked in the afternoon, you could aim the panels a little east of south in order to make better use of the morning sun. Frequently Asked Questions About Surveying Your House For Optimum Usage Q: My roof isn’t south facing. Does that mean I can’t have solar panels? A: No. The ideal orientation for a Solar PV System is south, but systems will still produce good yields in east and west orientations. This is why it’s important to survey your site so that anything that may prevent your solar panels from working to maximum efficiency can be identified early on and a suitable solution found. Q: Will I need to get planning permission before I can have my system installed? A: This depends on your location but as a general rule, if the system is to be fitted to a domestic property it won’t require planning permission. Exceptions are listed building, conservation areas, or areas of outstanding natural beauty. However, it’s still advisable to check with your local planning office to ensure compliance before any installation work is undertaken. Your installer should undertake this for you and prepare any necessary paperwork required.

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Chapter Five

DIY Vs Getting An Installer
If you’re a capable DIY enthusiast you may be asking yourself whether or not it would be more cost-effective to buy the panels and install the system yourself. Getting the best system you can afford and cutting installation costs may seem a reasonable way to save money short term, but if you do go down the DIY route, you’ll not be able to make the maximum income from your installation. So, the simple answer to that question is - do not DIY. If you’re thinking about installing a solar panel system because you need back up energy or you want to provide electricity to a property that’s not connected to the grid that could be a different matter. For a holiday home, caravan or boat, it might make sense but the information in this book is for householders who want take advantage of the Feed In Tariff and maximise their income from solar energy. In order to get the best return on your solar energy system the product used and the installer chosen must both be Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accredited. MCS Accreditation Explained For Installers, MCS accreditation means that they had to take part in a recognised quality assurance scheme which demonstrates to their customers their commitment to meeting rigorous standards set by the industry. It is a mark of competency and proof that they are able to install their systems to the highest quality – every time.

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When a product is given MCS accreditation it assures the customer that the quality and reliability of that product has been approved only after satisfying rigorous test standards. MCS accreditation has become the preferred standard in the market place, especially when it comes to utilising schemes like the Feed In Tariff. It is an EN45011 certification scheme and complies with the government’s criteria for eligibility to access financial incentives. How To Find An Installer To begin the process of finding the right installer for your needs, go to: www.theecoexperts.co.uk This is a site where you can find MCS accredited installers in three easy steps. 1. Just fill in the simple form about yourself to get matched with accredited local suppliers and find the best quote for the service you require. 2. You will be given a reference number and you have the choice of simply waiting to be contacted or you can speed things up further by calling the telephone number given with your reference number. 3. You’ll be matched with several suitable suppliers so you can compare to see which you prefer based on your individual requirements and priorities. It’s a simple as that! The service is free and unbiased.

On this site you’ll also find plenty of other information on green energy products and sustainable ways to heat and power homes and offices. What You Can Expect From Your Installer A Thorough Survey They should arrange to do a thorough survey of your property and site. They will want to take into consideration such things as the area available for the installation and the orientation in regard to capturing the best sunlight conditions throughout the year. They will also carry out a shade analysis and then decide on the best type of system to meet the needs of your household. Calculations They should prepare a detailed design of the array they’re proposing with a quote of how much the product and installation will cost. They should include an estimate of how much electricity your PV panels will generate, amount of income anticipated through the Feed In Tariff Scheme and the payback period for the system. It’s a good idea to get 3 or 4 quotes from reliable MCS accredited installers before making up your mind who to go with. Planning Once you have decided on the installer and product and agreed on the design and cost, they should complete all the necessary planning applications and ensure proper authorisation has been obtained before commencing work. Planning permission is not generally required for this purpose but it’s worth checking first, especially if your home is in a conservation area,

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heritage site or listed building. At this stage they will also be able to let you know a day when installation can take place. Installation A typical domestic installation can usually be completed within a day. You can expect the installers to erect scaffold to enable them to have fast, easy and safe access to your roof with the minimum of disruption to you. Getting started Installing your system is one part of the job done, but connecting it up is another. It will probably be the following day when certified electricians will arrive to connect your PV system to the National Grid. Proof for FITs The installer should have already prepared the paperwork required to claim your FIT; on completion of the work you will need to sign the documentation and send it to your electricity supplier as proof that you now qualify to receive the tariff.

Aftercare Many installers offer planned maintenance and cleaning services to ensure your system is working at optimum performance. Installer - Checklist o Is your installer a large recognised company with sufficient financial standing? If not, how will you be sure they will be around to maintain the system? o Do they have Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accreditation? It’s a mark of quality assurance without which you will not be able to claim your Feed In Tariff. o Check out your installer at:
http://microgenerationcertification.org/mcs-consumer/installer-search.php

This is where you can find out all you need to know about Warranties and Guarantees MCS accredited PV systems carry a manufacturer backed parts guarantee as standard, covering something like 10 years and can usually be extended by the installer to 25 years for a little extra a month. PV solar panel systems are incredibly strong and have no moving parts so breakdown is extremely rare. The product itself is designed to last long past its 25 year warranty. However, electrical systems of all kinds can fail on occasions. So when considering extending your warranty, find out what is guaranteed in respect to customer service and how easy it is to contact someone and how fast a service engineer can be at your door. It should be within 48 hours. o Do they calculate the level of electricity your PV system will generate using sunlight data specific to your exact location? The nationwide average sunlight level may give a false impression. o Is their home survey free or do they require a deposit prior to preparing it, making you obliged to use them for the installation or lose that money? o Similarly, do their products have MCS accreditation? their certification along with their exact contact details.

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o How long will the PV system operate at full efficiency and how will it decrease over the years? Your installer should be ready to advise you that an average PV panel loses 1% efficiency every year and they should have taken this into consideration when they were preparing your calculation, so you know what your Feed In Tariff will be. o Do they offer a separate warranty on their inverters in case something goes wrong with the electrics? If they do, how long is it for and is it backed by the manufacturer? Is it free or do you have to pay extra for it? o Are they going to deal with the planning authority and national grid on your behalf? If not, it means that you will have to sort out the paperwork yourself. 2012, 2013 - Dates To Remember It’s never easy to predict the future, especially when a new government takes power, but fortunately the Feed In Tariff has made it through the talks of new rounds of cutbacks, virtually unscathed. One thing’s pretty certain, there’s never going to be a better time to install solar energy and be part of the government’s Feed In Tariff scheme as now. Why? Because this sort of financial incentive scheme is specifically designed to ramp down to nothing as the market for it grows, technology develops and industry costs are driven down. Those already signed up to the FIT scheme will continue to receive the 43.3p/kWh for the full 25 years, as originally promised and, although it was in the balance for a while, the review of the tariffs is set to take

place in 2012 as originally planned. Any changes made at that review are expected to take effect from 2013 onwards. It’s likely that a sustainable reduction of the Feed In Tariff will begin in earnest in 2013 and those coming into it late will not see the type of return that we are trying to achieve in this book. So, although the cost of this relatively new technology will come down in time, it’s still better to install solar power today rather than tomorrow. Frequently Asked Questions About Installing Solar Energy Q: Why the rush to invest in solar PV? A: The financial returns produced by solar PV Systems are currently far greater than what is available in most banks. The return is guaranteed for 25 years and indexed linked to the Retail Price Index, all helping to make it a secure investment. Q: The financial returns sound too good to be true. Are they genuine? A: They are genuine. The government has introduced the Feed-in Tariff scheme as an incentive to get as many people as possible installing microgeneration technology, which in return assists them in meeting their EU targets for cutting CO2 emissions and tackling climate change. FIT rates have deliberately been introduced at a very attractive high level. What better way to help kick start the Solar PV market and get consumers interested in it. The cost of the scheme is met by the utility suppliers, so the government has no incentive to cancel the scheme. However, the FIT rates are set to be reviewed in April 2013, at which point it is predicted that they will be lowered. They do have to start coming down eventually. So now is the

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time to have a system installed and be guaranteed the current FIT rate for 25 years. Q: Wouldn’t it be better to wait until the cost of installing solar PV comes down? A: No. Installation costs will come down but the government sets the Feed-in Tariffs to reflect the current installation cost. When they reduce the FITs will do so as well, meaning the payback period isn’t reduced. Plus, the current FIT rates are the highest that they are ever likely to be. If you take into consideration the fact that once your system is installed you’re guaranteed the rate for 25 years, you can see for yourself that now is actually the best time to do it. Q: I can’t afford a Solar PV system at the moment, but I still want one. What should I do? A: Full capital investment is the best way to gain maximum return on your money. However, if you haven’t got the funds up front there are other viable options Please see the Financing Your Solar Panel Installation chapter of this book.

Chapter Six

Choosing Your Solar Panels
In this chapter we want to look in more depth at the type of panels available; the importance of choosing a reliable installer and system and how to make effective price comparisons. As you will have discovered from previous chapters, everybody’s situation - and therefore requirements - are very different, so there is no one system that fits all and neither are all panels created equally. Although this may seem confusing at first, it’s actually a good thing because it means there’s something out there for everyone’s energy needs, roof space and budget. If you ask a salesman which panels are best he’s going to tell you his are. So how do you find what’s best for you? Firstly, you have to realise the question isn’t, “What’s the best PV system?” but rather, “What system will give me the best value?” Once you know what to focus on, everything gets a lot simpler and you can easily work out the answer for yourself if you, 1. Ask your prospective installer the right questions and, 2. Do a very simple comparison calculation, which we will get to soon. The main thing to remember right now is that even though some panels are more efficient than others, that fact alone doesn’t justify the extra cost. First, let’s look at the types of solar PV systems that are available and what you can expect from them: Monocrystalline Monocrystalline cells are cut from a single crystal of silicon. They are the most costly solar panels to manufacture and therefore the most expensive to buy. They can be up to 50% more expensive than equivalent

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polycrystalline panels. However they are also the most efficient solar panels available, with efficiency levels ranging between 15% and 24%. Their extra efficiency means they are also the smallest solar panels (per watt) available, which is something to consider where roof space is very limited and fewer panels can be used. They come mounted on a rigid frame for protection. Polycrystalline or Multicrystalline Polycrystalline cells are also known as multicrystalline and are cut from a block of silicon that has been made up of a large number of crystals. They have efficiency levels of between 13% and 18%. The production process is not quite as complex as that for monocrystalline which makes them less expensive and thanks to an increase in manufacturing capacity the price has been dropping at a rate of 25%-30% per year since 2009. They also come mounted on a rigid frame for protection. Amorphous or Thin Film Amorphous cells are also called thin film and consist of a thin film of non-crystalline silicon that can be placed onto a wide choice of surfaces. Due to its amorphous nature it is flexible and if placed onto a flexible surface at the manufacturing stage, can be used on architecture that has curved surfaces. The photovoltaic material is not as fragile as thin silicon crystals and one or more layers can be printed or sprayed onto a flexible substrate and protected by a flexible transparent layer applied in the same way. The result is a much lighter and flexible product than silicon crystal cells encased in glass and mounted using heavy frames. Another benefit of not having to be encased in glass for protection is that the cells maintain a lower temperature becoming more efficient at higher ambient temperatures. They are more efficient in overcast conditions and can even produce energy from full moonlight. The aim of

thin film technology it to allow more flexibility in their application while being cheaper to produce than silicon cell panels. Still, amorphous solar panels are the least efficient, converting a maximum of around 8% of sunlight to electricity. There are a number of different chemistries being used to produce amorphous solar panels and the results are so varied, it’s impossible to recommend them in a situation where you are looking to maximise output and income. While they are the least expensive choice their inefficiency would mean that many more panels would be required too, which would also be a problem where roof space is limited. Solar Shingles Solar shingles are PV cells that are designed to look like regular asphalt tiles while still being able to capture sunlight and convert it into energy. There are a variety of designs but they generally come as shingle-sized panels in strips of about 300 x 2,200mm (12 x 86 inches) that can be stapled directly to the roofing felt. Usually they can be interspersed with regular asphalt shingles but different models require different mountings and installations. Once in situ, their dark blue-purple colour and the fact they look, in most cases, similar to existing roof tiles make them a favourite with those concerned about aesthetics. Solar shingles may be designed differently to amorphous panels but they use the same technology as thin film panels which means, when it comes to getting the maximum output in order to benefit from the Feed In Tariff, the same problems apply. Calculating The Best Solar Value When you receive quotes for your solar panel system you may be surprised how much they differ. After all, you made sure that they were MCS accredited installers providing the big brand named systems and gave the companies the same details to work with - like your energy

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needs, your roof space and your budget. So why has one come back with a quote of £15,000 and the other £20,000? Has there been a mistake? Is one of the companies trying to rip you off? The chances are, they are both giving you the best deal they can. To find out, you need to ask: “How much energy in kWh each system expects to produce in the first year?” Once you have the answer to this question, you can divide the cost of the system by the amount of energy produced and this will give you an idea of how much money, per kWh, you’ll be paying and you’ll be able to choose the panel that produces the most kWh at the lowest cost. For example:

You can reduce the true cost of solar panels by using quality solar panel information websites providing information and access to the best MCS accredited solar energy installers and products. http://www.microgenerationcertification.org/consumer To understand the efficiency of a specific solar panel that you are considering you can find efficiency statistics at the following website: http://www.solardesigntool.com/compare-solar-panels-modules.html Frequently Asked Questions About Choosing Solar Panels Q: Should I be looking for the panel that has the highest efficiency or one that produces electricity at a lower rate? A: The highest efficiency rate is most relevant where roof space is a concern because you must make as much energy as possible with fewer panels. However, in most cases it will be the cost of the system that will be the greatest consideration. So choose the panel that produces the most electricity (kWh) at the lowest cost. Q: Can solar panels be attached to flat roofs? A: Yes. An ‘A’ Frame will be used to angle the panels at between 20 and 50 degrees from the horizontal position, depending on

Brand Number of Panels Year 1 Output Cost of System Area VALUE

Brand X Solar System 15 1,500 kWh £11,500 15 m2 £7.67/kWh

Brand XX Solar Systems 15 1,600 kWh £12,000 15 m2 £7.50/kWh

Checking Out Solar PV Products The MCS have been given the responsibility of approving solar panel products and installers by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). As we have mentioned before, if you want to be sure that you can earn money from the Feed In Tariff scheme you need to use installers and products that have a certificate of accreditation by the MCS.

what angle is requires at that location. Q: Will a solar system add value to my property? A: Yes. In fact, a recent MORI survey revealed that people were willing to pay up to £10,000 more for a home built to high energy efficiency standards and, as a result, estate agents have been raising the value of properties with solar panels.

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Q: Is there really enough sunlight in the UK to make solar energy a feasible option? A: The UK receives just over half the energy found at the equator, which is enough to operate a highly efficient solar panel system from a south facing roof, even in the cooler northern reaches of Scotland.

Chapter Seven

Solar System Components
Some of the components associated with solar systems are not required for grid-tie systems and to get the most from the Feed In Tariff scheme. However, they are still mentioned here so you can be sure what is and isn’t needed for the time when you come to speak to an installer. Solar Panels There are many types of solar panels to choose from, as listed below. They are described in more detail in the chapter on Choosing Your Panel Types and Makes. Monocrystalline Monocrystalline panels are the most effective solar panels available today with efficiency levels of between 15-24%. They are also the most expensive as they are costly to produce. Polycrystalline or Multicrystalline Polycrystalline or multicrystalline panels are less effective than monocrystalline panels but much better than amorphous or thin film versions with an efficiency of between 13-18%. As you would expect, they are less expensive than Monocrystalline but more expensive than Amorphous or thin film. Amorphous or Thin Film Amorphous or thin film panels are the cheapest and least efficient of the systems converting a maximum of around 8% of sunlight to

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electricity. However, they work well in overcast conditions and can even generate small amounts of power on brightly moonlit nights. Their thinness and flexibility do make them more suitable for some applications. Solar Shingles Solar Shingles are a product designed to mimic and replace the roof tile but generate solar energy as well. Shingles are produced in a similar way to amorphous or thin film panels and have similar efficiency. An advantage is they blend in better with existing roof tiles and some prefer them for aesthetic reasons. Solar Panel Mounting System This is the hardware to fix the solar panels to the roof, a pole or the ground. It’s usually made of aluminium and allows for adjustment in order to get the best positioning for the array and to ensure airflow around the modules, as a solar panel’s efficiency can be affected by overheating. Combiner Box This is simply an electrical enclosure. They are usually positioned next to the array and are designed for outdoor use. Individual solar panels are linked in one of two ways, a ‘series’ or a ‘parallel’ array. A series increases the wattage and voltage that is generated and a parallel takes the average voltage of all the solar panels and adds the wattage for the maximum amount of power than can be generated. The combiner box allows multiple panels to be combined in parallel and also houses series string fuses or circuit breakers.

Inverters A solar panel system generates low voltage Direct Current (DC). Grid or mains electricity has to be high voltage Alternating Current (AC). The inverter converts Direct Current to Alternating Current so you are getting the same voltage you would be getting from the grid. Without the inverter the power source would be too variable for most electrical equipment to cope with and you wouldn’t be able to export to the grid. A grid-tie inverter samples the grid or mains voltage and synchronises its sine wave output to be at the peak voltage point at the same time as the mains supply. This type of inverter is used to export spare electricity generated by your system into the grid. It is also able to sense when there is a power cut and disconnect itself from the grid so as not to attempt powering neighbours’ houses and cause an electrocution risk to anyone working on power lines that had been turned off. Micro Inverters Traditionally, a solar power system which is made up of a number of panels or modules is connected to a single centralised inverter which then converts the Direct Current to Alternating Current, as described above. Micro inverters are designed to match to a single panel or module. The total cost tends to be higher than using a single inverter and not all manufacturers are offering this option, but it’s worth considering. This permits greater reliability as each panel will have its own inverter so if one inverter goes down the only loss will be power output from a single panel. Sometimes modules can perform differently, due to shade, temperature or cleanliness. In this case each inverter is responding to the output of the individual module giving better overall efficiency and enabling the condition of each

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module to be monitored, so if one is performing lower than expected due to a build up of grime or other reason you will be able to pinpoint the problem panel easier.

Batteries for this purpose are lead acid batteries that look a little like car batteries on the outside but are designed differently internally. They can be heavily discharged and recharged hundreds of times over. Most are 6 or 12 volt and like the panels themselves can be linked together to form a battery bank. Solar Charge Controllers A grid-tie system doesn’t require a solar charge controller, but any system using batteries should have one. It regulates the amount of current the solar system feeds into a battery bank. The main function is to prevent the batteries from overcharging but they also block battery bank current from leaking back into the array at night or cloudy days and draining the

Solar Array

DC Circuit Breaker

Combiner Box Earth/ Ground DC Ground Fault Breaker

Inverter

Total To Generation Eectrical Meter Loads

AC Isolator Switch

National Grid Import/ Export Meter Mains Service Isolator Switch

Distribution Panel

battery bank. MPPT Solar Charge Controllers Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) solar charge controllers are useful for off-grid solar power systems such as stand-alone and water pump systems. It’s embedded with an algorithm to maximise the amount of current going into the battery from a solar system. It’s not a mechanical tracking system that physically moves the modules but varies the electrical operating point of the modules for maximising available power. Ground Fault Protector A ground fault protector averts the risk of damage to the controller or solar array by cutting off the flow of current immediately, in the event of a short occurring. Ground fault protection is usually included within the controller or inverter but, even so, many experts advise the

Batteries With a grid-tie photovoltaic solar system there is no need to worry about all the technicalities relating to batteries. The grid acts like a battery ensuring nothing goes to waste. Whenever the panels produce more than the household requires, the surplus energy is exported to the grid to become available for other consumers and you will be reimbursed for this contribution. Whenever the output is less than needed by the household the grid supplies the difference. Although a grid-tied solar panel system doesn’t require batteries to operate, some might want to consider the possible benefits from having a back-up bank of batteries to store energy until needed. If the grid-supplied power stopped due to severe weather conditions, damage to power lines or other utility malfunction and demand began to outstrip supply, batteries could be a useful back-up system.

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installation of a separate ground fault protector. For systems mounted to a building, a separate Residual Current Device (RCD) needs to be included and that also applies to any solar panel system that exceeds 100 watt. Total Generation Meter This is a meter which is installed with the PV system and measures the amount of energy generated by the system chosen. Export Meter or Feed-in, Feed-out Meter This is a meter that can be installed by your energy provider that will tell you how much is being fed back to the electricity grid. If an export meter is not available, for whatever reason. The amount will be estimated at 50% of the total generation measurement. Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Panel Components Q: Do all solar PV systems need batteries to operate? A: Not for solar systems linked to the grid. At night when the cells are not generating energy, electricity will be imported from the grid in the normal way and any excess electricity generated during the day is exported and sold to your electricity supplier. Batteries are only necessary for off-grid systems so that power generated during the day can be stored for use in the evening. Q: How long can I expect my system to last and will I have to replace any of the components? A: A PV Solar system that has no moving parts should last well in excess of the manufacturers 20 year warranty. Usual life expectancy is at least 40 years, so it’s unlikely that any of the components will require replacing in the foreseeable future. The Power Of FREE

Chapter Eight

Free Solar Panels Vs Financing The Installation
If you have the money to pay for your solar PV system outright you should expect to get your money back in about 8 to10 years which will enable you to a enjoy a further 15 years of tax free tariff payments. It is estimated that the average homeowner can expect about a 9% return from their solar system which, compared to what banks are offering at the moment, is a very attractive proposition. Naturally, if you do have to borrow the money it will take longer to get to where you’re profiting from your system. However, the government’s commitment to carbon footprint reduction means the tariff payments have been made deliberately profitable even when loan repayments are factored into the equation.

The introduction of Feed In Tariffs has given rise to many companies seeing a way of generating extra profits by promoting Free Solar Panel offers, sometimes referred to as “Rent My Roof Space” schemes. This involves companies offering to fund, in full, the equipment and the installation while providing some ongoing money saving benefits to the householder. In return, the company receives the income from the generation and export tariffs. Some homeowners see the potential but have ruled out the possibility of solar power for their own homes due to the initial outlay. But the savings they could make may seem worth it. It has to be

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remembered this is not an act of charity and that the companies offering these schemes do expect to recoup their costs via the income received from the Feed In Tariffs and then go into profit as quickly as possible. In order for it to be worthwhile to the companies making this offer, they have to lay down strict criteria that has to be met in order for the household to qualify for the scheme. This usually means they will only consider roofs that are facing close to due south. It’s likely they will require larger roofs and rule out any form of shading that may prevent them from getting the maximum use of the area. One quick and safe way to see if you might qualify for free solar panels is to go to view your home on Google Maps at: http://www.google.co.uk/maps, switch to satellite view, take a look at the part of your roof that’s south facing and measure the biggest area of it. Another good thing about enquiring about free solar panels is that if you find you do qualify then you can be fairly sure that your roof is in a very good position to get the most from a solar PV installation. The important thing is to know sooner than later so you can take action while the FITs payments are being guaranteed by the government to stay at this high rate for anyone entering the scheme prior to the next review. After that happens, people entering the scheme will do so at a much lower rate of pay. So are free solar panels for you or will you be able to find a way to finance your system and maximise your output and income for profit? The terms and conditions for receiving free solar panels will vary from one company to another but on the next page are some things you should consider and research further before making up your mind. This is a long-term agreement and things can change so you need to know who is responsible for what before you start.
Continued overleaf What about free electricity? The company will normally allow the household to benefit from the free electricity that is being generated during daylight hours. The householder should expect to benefit from all the free electricity generated. If based on 50% being used on site and 50% exported at about £50 per installed watt, a typical 3kWp system could represent a saving of around £150 on the householder’s electricity bill. Who receives the Generation and Export Tariffs? Usually the company will expect to receive the generation and export tariffs in full. Do not expect to receive any income from electricity generated or exported to the grid. Who pays for the solar system and installation? The company is expected to pay for everything required in full. Some Free Solar Companies make you pay a legal fee of around £500 to cover their costs making it not entirely free. In the case of free solar panels, who actually owns them? The company owns the panels, unless otherwise stated. As with any deal the terms ofownership can vary and it is recommended that the householder lets the mortgage company know of the intention of having free solar panels installed before proceeding. Things That Need Clarifying... Company Offering Free Solar Panels The Householder

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Financing Your Solar Panel PV Installation
Things That Need Clarifying... Who will be responsible for maintenance and repairs? Company Offering Free Solar Panels As the owner of the solar system, the responsibility for organising and paying for maintenance and repairs belongs to the company. The Householder

Energy Efficient Mortgages
Householders shouldn’t have to pay for any repairs or maintenance, but check out the agreement, especially any stipulation relating to damage that may have been caused by members of the household. Solar PV does not usually require planning permission as it is considered a permitted form of development. However there are exceptions and it’s recommended that householders make sure their local planning office is informed. This is a prime area that should be clarified before proceeding. Although solar energy systems are an asset to any property, new owners may not want to inherit the deal that’s already been made. This is also something that the householder should clarify with the company before proceeding. If the company goes into liquidation, the liquidators may use the income generated to pay off creditors.

If none of the FREE solar panel schemes seem worth the bother, there are ways you could raise the finance for your own solar system including adding the cost to your mortgage. If you have equity in your home, it’s quite possible that the Feed In Tariff you would receive could repay the extra loan, generate a profit and reduce your energy bills in one go. If you’re looking to move house and you’re thinking about solar power for your new property, you could consider looking for a house with a suitable south-facing roof and add the cost of the solar PV installation onto your new mortgage. Scenario For Adding The Cost To Your Mortgage n In this scenario we will imagine that you could borrow an additional £15,000 on your repayment mortgage at 5% APR over 25 years. n Payments would be £1,052 per annum. n You could purchase a 4kwp solar PV system that we will estimate could provide you with a Feed In Tariff of about £1,370 per annum. Therefore: n The loan is paid for by the Feed In Tariff with £318 to spare n Your system would likely provide you with around 3,200 units of free electricity. According to the DECC, the average UK household uses 3,300 units of electricity per year so you would expect a significant reduction in your electricity bill.

What about planning permission?

It should be the company that takes responsibility for finding out if planning permission is required and dealing with the necessary paperwork.

What happens to the system and the deal if the householder moves home?

Solar energy installations and Feed in Tariffs are linked to the property, as it’s a long-term arrangement. The agreement stays with the property.

What happens if a company that has offered free solar panels ceases to operate?

This will vary from one company to another and in what way the company has ceased to trade.

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Other Sources of Funding Local Council Grants Some local councils run renewable energy schemes of their own and if your home meets certain criteria, may award a grant that will pay for the installation of your solar PV with either full or part funding. These local grants are very limited and usually aimed at homes struggling the most with fuel bills. Interest Free Loans Where available, these loans are offered by local authorities and regional governments, covering just a proportion of your solar PV installation. These types of loan can be very attractive, especially where the repayment terms are flexible for homeowners. On a £5,000 loan from a bank with a typical 14.5%, a zero interest loan monthly payment would be in the region of £83 compared to the bank’s £118 – a £35 monthly saving and a total saving of £2,058 over the period of the loan. Leasing Solar PV This system operates along the same lines as a vehicle lease for homeowners who would like to spread the cost over a specified period. The customer takes out a contract with the leasing company associated with the installer. The installer will then proceed to design, supply and install the system for the customer. There are no upfront costs to the client with payments commencing at time of delivery. The lease is designed to become cash positive after about 6 years, after which the homeowner pays a nominal rent for the system. This type of finance is 100% tax deductible, giving the homeowner the opportunity to proceed with the installation early enough to take full

advantage of the Feed In Tariff. This eliminates the need for more complex bank loans or trying to raise the full amount before the project can commence. You could also visit www.therenewablenergycentre.co.uk/grants for information on the types of loans available. Frequently Asked Questions About Free Solar Panels Q: Will my home be harder to sell with someone else’s panels on? A: There seems to be very mixed feelings about this and it could work one of two ways. The Energy Savings Trust has statistics that indicate that homes with solar panels on them sell 30% faster than those without. However, the prospective buyer may not like the idea of inheriting the agreement of a previous owner but may be persuaded otherwise if shown the benefits of electricity savings. Q: Would a free solar panel supplier require regular access to my property for the purpose of maintenance? A: No. Some access from time to time may be required but the company should contact you to arrange a date and time convenient to you. Q: Can we purchase the panels off the company at a later date if we want to? A: No. The company benefits from the revenue generated over the 25 year period. However, it’s often the case that ownership of the system transfers to the homeowner at the end of the FIT scheme and the panels will be left on the property in perpetuity or for the life of the panels so the homeowner can continue to benefit from them. A solar PV system may be classed as a home improvement and, as such, increase the value of the property.

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Q: Can anyone qualify for free solar panels? A: No. Free panels are only offered to those whose household meets the right criteria to obtain optimum performance. For instance, although panels operate on roofs that aren’t south facing, free solar panels are usually selected for roofs that are either south facing or within about 30% either side of due south. There will also be a specified roof size that will be able to house sufficient panels without interruption and the space available must not overshadowed by trees or neighbouring buildings.

Chapter Nine

Hidden Costs
Hidden costs of installing solar panel systems are usually related in some way to the ongoing care of the system. Fortunately, roof mounted solar panels have no moving parts, which reduces the risk of damage or malfunction. Solar panels are made of ultra strong materials and robust mountings that are designed to be waterproof and withstand extreme temperatures, high winds and snow load over a long period of time. Each solar product often comes with its own specific guarantee including a 5 or 10 year workmanship and materials warranty; 20-25 year performance warranty, guaranteeing 90% of rated production for between 10 and 15 years and 80% for 20-25 years. However, it’s important that the panels are kept operating at maximum efficiency for the length of their life and a budget should be in place for cleaning and maintenance and consideration given to how you would deal with any problems, should they arise. Cleaning and Maintenance The glass casings of the solar modules are often designed to include selfcleaning properties and a combination of angle and rainfall usually works well to keep the panels free of dirt to some extent but rain alone is not sufficient, as it will be impregnated with grease and grime from traffic and the environment in general. Similarly, bird droppings and a build up of wind-blown leaves and airborne debris, if left unchecked, can greatly diminish the output of the panels. It’s estimated that you could risk losing around 25% of your electricity production if the build up is allowed to continue indefinitely.

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In the chapter on Surveying Your House For Optimum Usage it was suggested that you consider mounting the panels low down on the roof in order to make them as accessible as possible for cleaning and routine maintenance. But the final decision on their positioning must rest with where they will be able to perform most efficiently without the possibility of becoming overshadowed with neighbouring buildings trees and other obstructions. Panels go through stringent tests to ensure they are able to withstand heavy snow loads. Having a covering of snow on the panels may not pose a problem when it come to damaging them and snow will melt in time, but all the time it’s blocking out the light it’s also preventing the panels from producing the desired power. If heavy snowfall occurs you will want to be able to remove it swiftly and safely.

The Hidden Cost of Keeping Your Solar Panels Clean The frequency, method and products used in cleaning your solar panels can be discussed with your installer. This not only helps to decide the best way to keep your panels generating the maximum power but ensures you meet the manufacturer’s requirements for proper usage and do not infringe any rules that may affect your warranty. The hidden cost of keeping your solar panels clean so they can continue to perform at their most effective needs to be taken into consideration when calculating your return on your investment. That cost will be largely determined by your own personal circumstances and preferences. Here are some ways you might consider: Clean Them Yourself If the panels are low mounted it may be possible to use a telescopic cleaning kit for ensuring they are kept free of debris and dirt. It’s also possible to get cleaning products that include dirt and rain repellent to help keep your panels cleaner for longer. Ask Your Regular Window Cleaner Telescopic window cleaning equipment has been used by professional window cleaners for some time now in order to access high windows and glass conservatory roofs that can be particularly difficult to access. More and more cleaning companies are adding solar panel cleaning to their list of services so, if they’re there to do your windows anyway, it may be cost-effective to work in a panel clean from time to time. Automatic Solar Panel Cleaning Systems You could install a system that can be programmed to automatically wash and rinse your solar panels. This involves attaching nozzles to your solar

Safety First: There are several ways that cleaning can be tackled but safety must always come first. n Many accidents causing serious injuries and fatalities are caused every year by falls from roofs. n Solar modules are not live and high standards of protection have been introduced, rendering them as safe as any other electrical appliance found in the typical home, but it should always be remembered that dangerous levels of voltage are still present and the necessary care should be taken. n Solar panels only heat up to a similar level as any glass or black plastic that’s left exposed to the sun. However, accessibility to children or anyone else that may accidently touch them when they’re at their hottest should be avoided.

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panels then using an existing water source like a hose bib to provide the water. A special reservoir containing soap concentrate is also available for use when necessary. Although this may seem a worthwhile addition attaching cleaning nozzles may make your warranty void and could be more expensive than it’s worth. Does Your Installer Provide This Service? Your installer may offer an ongoing maintenance service which could include cleaning. The benefits are that they should be very aware of any manufacturer’s instructions and familiar with their own systems. They, if anyone, should have the experience and practical knowledge of the best way to keep their products operating to maximum performance. Caring for Components We have already seen that solar panels do not require a great deal of servicing and for on-grid systems there are no batteries to replace but there are other electrical components to the system. As with all technology electronic components can malfunction at times and it’s fair to say that during the long life expectancy of the system, something like the inverter for instance, may eventually need fixing or even replacing. What Part Does The Typical Solar Panel Warranty Cover? As mentioned above solar panels come with their own guarantee from the manufacturer which usually includes a 5 or 10 year workmanship and materials warranty. This type of warranty means that if some sort of malfunction is caused as a result of defects found in materials or workmanship of the panels it will be repaired or replaced by the manufacturer and the choice of whether it’s repaired or replaced is theirs.

Some installers may offer an option to extend this warranty for a further 5 years. They may offer this free, as part of a promotional deal or as an added extra which you will have to pay for if you take the option. As with all warranties there are always exclusions and limitations that you need to be clear about to decide if an extension is worthwhile. For instance the warranty won’t cover damage caused by what they would term as abuse or misuse, which may include modifications that don’t strictly follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Insurance Cover If the 5 or 10 year warranty only covers defects of materials and workmanship, an insurance should be in place for the rest - like accidental damage; lightning; fire, flood and vandalism. This usually means adjusting your buildings insurance. If the panels have been financed through a mortgage lender or some other third party then they will no doubt insist that they’re included in the building insurance. Possible theft of your panels is also something that can be covered. Claims are rarely made but the whole point of insurance is to be ready for the unexpected. This is also where having a servicing contract with your installer could also come in handy. Not just to ensure the upkeep of your panels but, in the unlikely event that accidental damage may occur, you know you’ll be up and running again quickly and with the minimum of inconvenience. Because it’s one thing having the cost covered by insurance but you will also want to get the repairs done as quickly as possible. Having your system inoperative is not only inconvenient but it’s leaving you out of pocket. If your installer provides this kind of service how long will it take to get a response to a call out? Are There Any Extra Costs Hiding in Your Roof? Any repairs needed to the roof should be done prior to installing solar panels and if, during the survey of your home, it’s considered that the

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roof needs strengthening this will be an extra cost before the solar panels can be installed. Strengthening can be done without the need for replacing the roof and usually with little disruption to the home as the reinforcements are usually constructed underneath the roof with fairly easy access from the loft. The cost for this will vary depending on the amount of work required but it could cost a further £500 or more. Frequently Asked Questions About Hidden Costs Q: Will I have to pay tax on the generation and export tariff that I receive? A: Income received from the Feed In Tariff scheme is tax-free for householders.

Chapter Ten

Selling Your Solar Powered Home
Having solar panels installed is similar to installing double glazing, an extension or any other home improvement; it’s expected to add value to the property. When it comes to being on-grid and part of the Feed In Tariff scheme, the extra income plus savings on the electricity bills should make it even more desirable to a potential buyer, especially as people become more environmentally conscious. With the government’s commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and the incentives they’re currently providing to encourage as many people as possible to join, being able to produce your own solar power is expected to become the norm. When this happens, buying a household without solar electricity will be seen as disadvantageous. Solar As a Selling Point It’s going to take a few years to see the full impact that solar panels, or any of the other renewable technologies for that matter, will have on house prices but there are some early indications that are worth taking note of. Although it doesn’t involve exactly the same elements as what we’re talking about in this book, if we look at the increasing number of ‘zero carbon’ apartments that are beginning to spring up it can give us an idea of how people are viewing this type of technology when it comes to house buying. It’s estimated that these properties are more likely to sell for about 2% more than their carbon producing equivalents - even without the added incentive of the Feed In Tariff payments - as these go

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to the landlords. This suggests that the combined benefits of a lower carbon footprint and reduced electricity bill are good enough incentives to pay extra for property. However, it seems that there is still a lot to do to make people aware of the full benefits achievable and that the majority of people buying homes are almost totally unaware of the potential of the Feed In Tariff incentive payments and focus only on the lower energy bills. This lack of knowledge is reflected in the extra amount buyers seem prepared to pay for the inclusion of solar panels. There have been some small surveys where 33% of buyers said they would be more likely to buy a property with solar electricity but 17% said they would be less likely. Add to this the 53% that said lower electricity bills would be an influential factor and I think it’s fair to conclude that people are unaware and even confused by the potential of having a solar powered home. One of the main problems is that estate agents have not been representing properties with solar panels as effectively as they could, with many actually ignoring the marketing potential altogether. This is set to change as electricity bills rise and people are almost forced to become aware of the benefits. The lesson to be learned is never to assume that the estate agent will market the benefits of your property’s solar system properly. All that aside, studies do show that there is a demand for homes with solar panels, which means that this added feature can and should generate more interest than those without. It’s estimated that having solar panels has the potential to sell your property 30% faster, if marketed correctly.

Help Yourself to Market Your Property Effectively n Solid proof is always good for marketing purposes so keep copies of electricity bills from before the time the solar panels were installed to compare with bills from the same period (summer or winter) from after the installation. n Make sure the estate agent you use includes details of both fuel savings and feed in tariff payments being received on the sales details. n A good service record will not only serve as proof of how little maintenance is required but will also validate that the system is in good running order. Added Value For The Future Fuel prices are rising and set to continue to do so. The Feed In Tariff is locked in to the higher payment for those meeting the right criteria prior the 2012 deadline and guaranteed by the government for 25 years. Once the next review takes place the payments will be set to reduce for those that install after the deadline. This makes your existing installation even more valuable for the future. It’s also worth noting that suggestions are being made that the size of a household’s carbon footprint may affect the amount of Council Tax liable, similar to what’s already happening to cars – the larger the engine the higher the road tax. It’s only a proposal but it’s worth keeping an eye on and using to your advantage when you finally come to sell your property.

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Things To Consider When Selling Your Home With Solar Panels Unlike central heating or an extension, solar panels do not offer a buyer any immediate benefit. When buying a new home most buyers are counting every penny, so to be persuaded to pay a premium for solar panels, no matter how attractive the idea, just may not work, unless the buyer can be convinced that the future financial benefits far outweigh the immediate disadvantages. Again, that’s where proper marketing of the property comes into its own. How Much Should The Premium Be? If we accept that, as things stand at the moment, solar panels increase the value of the property by 2%, on a property worth £250,000 you are looking at an added value of around £5,000. There are two problems with this; the first is that the lack of awareness of the benefits of this relatively new technology is showing that buyers are generally not prepared to pay that much for the addition of solar energy. The second is that even if they were prepared to pay an extra £5,000 it would not cover the installation costs of the solar panels, which will probably be in the region of £10,000 to £13,000. To make selling a solar panel property worthwhile, you would probably need to stay in your home for at least 5 years after installation in order to benefit from the Feed In Tariff and electricity savings sufficiently enough to at least recover the cost of the installation. In reality, the technology is still relatively new and the exact benefits of solar power and FITs are still unknown to the majority of home buyers so the affect it will have on house prices is yet to be seen. The conclusion is that if you are not intending to stay in your property long enough to make the investment worthwhile, there’s little point in having solar panels installed.

Take The Tariff With You Clearly, when you move home you cannot take your solar panels with you, no more than you would expect to take your double glazing, central heating or extension. It wouldn’t be worth your while to do so anyway, as it would be considered a separate installation and you would not be able to benefit from your previous tariff terms. The solar panels and tariff remain with the property and generally benefits are transferred to the new homeowner. Although the panels and the electricity savings remain with the house they were intended for, it may be possible to have the Feed In Tariffs assigned to you in a similar way that companies offering free solar panels do. They install solar panels onto roofs of other homeowners for free, but your panels would already be installed free of charge to the new homeowner. Similarly to having free solar panels, the benefits to the buyer would be not having to pay the extra for the solar panels and still benefiting from the cheaper electricity bills. For your point of view, as the seller, you could continue to receive the Feed In Tariff payments. As you will already know what return you are likely to achieve over the tariff term and as you wouldn’t be able to include the full price of the solar installation in the asking price for the property, this is a good way to redeem your investment and at the same time secure an ongoing income. This option may appeal to buyers looking for a property with solar energy but without the extra finance to pay the premium. The added incentive of lower cost electricity could be a very attractive and unique selling point. There will be costs involved getting the correct documentation drawn up and ironing out the terms and conditions that would apply. As

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the ownership of the panels would remain with you, the cost of maintenance and servicing remains your responsibility. Solar panels are low cost but not ‘no cost’ and some components can be expensive to repair or replace. Similarly, insurance cover and service contracts will all be affected, so professional advice from a suitable solicitor that has experience in these matters should be sought before entering in to any such agreements. Your buyers also have rights that you need to know about and which you wouldn’t want to infringe on. Frequently Asked Questions About Selling Your Solar Powered Home Q: If I choose free solar panels what impact would this have on my house price? A: We have seen from the chapter on Free Solar Panels that these schemes do have some benefits but when it comes to selling your property having free solar panels could have a negative effect on both the value of your property and ease of sale. Even if a buyer comes along that is actively looking for a property with solar panels, the chances are they will want to benefit from the Feed In Tariffs as well as the reduced cost of electricity. Worse than that is they may object to inheriting your deal with the solar panel owners. Q: Is it an added complication to transfer the system over to the next owner? A: No. The system is transferred within the sale of the property and not separately.

Chapter Eleven

Feed In Tariffs For Commercial And Non-Domestic Properties
The government’s Feed In Tariff scheme extends beyond domestic users. The public sector, health services, education, places of work and worship are all included. Just with domestic users there are criteria that have to be met in order to qualify - like the size of the solar installation has to be less than 5MW - but that’s sufficient to mean that almost everyone could become eligible and covers many types of properties. Included are industrial buildings, hospitals and medical centres, care facilities and nursing homes, warehouses, farm buildings, churches and retail outlets. As solar systems are listed as a permitted development technology planning permission is not usually required but it’s always best to check, as some properties, like churches for instance, may well be listed buildings. A simple check with local authorities should clarify the matter. As with domestic installations, products used and installers must be MCS accredited in order to qualify for payments. Here are some examples of what type of savings and income can be generated from the Feed In Tariff for non-domestic installations. Farm Buildings There have been some changes to Feed In Tariff regulations and agricultural land. New deadlines for completing solar farm developments limit the potential for large scale solar farms being installed on agricultural land. However, solar panel arrays up to 50kW which would

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require an area of approximately 400 m2 installed on farm buildings or erected on special frames can bring excellent returns. As with domestic installations, all installations under 50kW must use MCS accredited products and installers in order to qualify for the FIT scheme. If the installation is above 50kW it has to be accredited through Ofgem’s Renewable and CHP Register. Then the farmer is able to receive the generation and export tariffs and make savings on the electricity used on site in a similar way to any other homeowner but on a larger scale. Example Of What Can Be Achieved With A Solar Panel Installation On A Farm Building
Area of South-Facing Roof Number of Panels Output Per Panel Total Predicted Generation Per Year Feed In Tariff Rate Export Rate % Exported Rate Annual Income from FIT % Energy Used on Farm Energy Savings at 12p per kWh Total Cost of Installation Gross Annual Margin Return on Initial Investment Payback Period Predicted Total Income Over 25 Years 148 m2 82 230w 16,189 kWh 31.4p/kWh 3p/kWh

Schools Schools too are finding that installing solar is not only a great example in the community of how to cut carbon but a practical way to defend themselves against rising electricity costs. With a generation tariff of between 31.4p and 43.3p per unit and 3p per unit exported to the grid, it’s also a good investment in the future. As with household applications, the tariff is guaranteed for 25 years and payments are inflation-linked. Example Of A School Installation Based On A Typical 4 kWp Solar System Situated On A South-Facing Roof
Cost of System Expected Units Generated Yearly Yearly Generation Payment % Energy Used by the School % Energy Exported to the Grid Estimated Savings on Electricity Bill £16,000 Approximately 3,400 kWh £1,400 75% 25% £331 £25 10 Years £1756

50% £5,326 50% £971 £64,124 £6,298 9.8% 10 Years £193,652
Note: The inflation-linked values will cause payments to increase each year.

Export Income Payback Period Total Savings and Income Per Year

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Industrial Buildings There is great potential for large commercial properties. An ideal situation would be a 9.66 kWh (42 panel) system installed on a southfacing roof. Example Of A Solar System Installed On an Industrial Building
Output Per Panel Predicted Yearly Electricity Generation Feed In Tariff Rate Customer’s Electricity Price Annual Income From FIT In First Year Total Financial Return Over 25 Years % Return On Initial Investment Payback Period 230w 8.292 kWh 43.3p/kWh 10p per kWh £4,134 £151,081 16% 8 Years

Here’s An Example Of What Was Achieved By A Non-listed Church Building Installation
Amount Of Panels Panel Capacity Roof Orientation Cost Of Installation Estimated Income From FIT Payment 129 24KW South Facing £80,000 £8,000 Per Year

Frequently Asked Questions About Feed In Tariffs For Commercial And Non-Domestic Properties Q: How would a church find the funding for a solar energy installation? A: Many churches have managed to access grants and then raise the remaining funding within the local community. There are ethical co-operatives that match investors with ‘green’ projects. The investors help to cover the upfront costs for a share of the FITs profits. And there are ‘rent your roof’ schemes or ‘free’ solar panel offers where businesses pay the cost of the panels and installation and in return take the FITs payments. Q: I’ve heard about the Generation Green programme, what is it? A: Generation Green is a programme designed by British Gas to educate and inspire pupils and the wider community about sustainability and energy efficiency. There are a variety of educational resources and activities available and opportunities to win solar panels for the school.

Churches The Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) has produced guidelines about the things that should be considered when exploring the possibilities of whether solar panel systems are appropriate for a church. More information and practical ideas for making your church more energy efficient can be got from the Diocese of Oxford, who has produced a simple guide called For Creed and Creation. You will need to find out if planning permission is required as the church may be a listed building, in which case you may have to work alongside English Heritage and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB).

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Q: How long does it take to install a solar panel system on a commercial property? A: In comparison to domestic systems which take between 2 to 5 days to install, commercial systems can take several weeks to over a month, depending on size. However, most of the work takes place outside so disturbance to the workplace is minimal.

Chapter Twelve

Other Potential Green Revenue Sources
The aim of renewable electricity tariffs and heat incentives is to help make these types of technology available to everyone, whether in a domestic or commercial context, as fast as possible and overcome the problems of cost associated with any relatively new technology. As tariff schemes last around 20 years this gives the industry the time required to invest in and develop production techniques which, in turn, helps bring down the price of renewable energy. The UK’s dependency on imported fossil fuels has been growing rapidly for some time. By helping to lower the costs of the technologies that are tackling climate change, the government can help reduce that dependency along with the UK’s carbon footprint. This book is primarily concerned with on-grid solar PV technology and getting the most from the Feed In Tariff scheme associated with it but there are other potential green revenue sources that should be considered and compared, including: n Wind Turbines - which may be free standing or building mounted n Hydroelectricity – electricity produced by water power n Anaerobic Digestion – power produced by the breakdown of organic materials to produce gas n Micro Combined Heat and Power - heating technology which generates heat and electricity simultaneously, from the same energy source - (Micro CHP is limited to a pilot scheme at this stage)

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Wind Turbines Forty percent of Europe’s wind energy blows across the UK, opening up the possibility of generating electricity for the home from small scale wind turbines. Small wind turbines or micro-wind systems can harness the power of the wind then use it to generate electricity that can help power domestic lighting and electrical appliances. Once installed, wind turbines can be integrated into the electricity grid in a similar way to solar panels. A particular benefit of wind turbines is their ability to continue generating power at night and throughout the winter. Most of us are familiar with free-standing wind turbines but there is a type of turbine that has been designed for mounting on a building. The style and efficiency varies from one manufacturer to another but it’s generally accepted that a building-mounted wind turbine will not generate as much electricity as its pole or tower- mounted counterpart. A building-mounted turbine is far less costly to install than a free standing version, where the construction of its foundations have to be considered. As with other technologies, what’s right for the location has to be considered along with how much power is required for the site and what return can be made. Unlike roof-mounted solar panels, there are moving parts involved with wind turbines and the combination of weight and vibration could add stress to the fabric of the building. Just as one would consider the strength of a roof before installing solar panels, structural advice should be sought prior to installing wind turbines. The wind blowing from Europe will not affect all parts of the UK in the same way so location has to be considered carefully. Local wind speeds are very important to the system’s efficiency. It’s recommended by The Energy Saving Trust that average wind speed needs to be 5 metres

per second, 11 miles per hour or more. Obstructions to the flow of wind from trees or buildings and even the height at which the wind turbine is placed will also have an effect on the amount of electricity that can be generated. Again, like solar panels, the system and the installer have to be MCS accredited to be eligible for the FIT scheme. Eligible turbines installed prior to 31 March 2012 will receive the following tariffs: Turbine Size <1.5kW >1.5-15kW Generation Tariff 34.5p/kWh 26.7p/kWh Export Tariff 3p/kWh 3p/kWh

These are index-linked for 20 years. Other Things To Consider About Wind Turbines The capital outlay and installation costs for a wind turbine system can be quite high compared to some other technologies. This depends on the model and whether it’s building-mounted or free-standing. Unlike solar PV panel systems that only require planning permission if they are for heritage buildings or on conservation areas, all wind turbine installations require planning permission at this time. Although solar panels have no moving parts, therefore emit no noise, the same cannot be said of wind turbines. The amount of noise generated will vary but a working turbine cannot be completely silent as there are two sources of sound. The first and most obvious is the sound of the blades rotating, which is unlikely to be much of a problem unless you are very close to them or it’s particularly windy. The main source of noise will come from the generator as the blades rotate coupled with unavoidable vibration. This will be more noticeable during high winds when more energy is being produced and resonate through whatever the turbine is attached to.

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Hydroelectricity Hydroelectricity systems work by harnessing the power of moving water in order to generate sufficient electricity to power the lighting and electrical appliances of an average sized home. If the hydro system is sufficient to replace electricity that would normally be bought from the national grid, then savings could be quite substantial. Hydroelectricity systems can also be connected to the grid and are eligible to receive the Feed In Tariff. A 15kW system or smaller could qualify for a generation tariff of up to 19.9p/kWh and an exported tariff of 1p/kWh. Other Things To Consider About Hydroelectricity This technology is dependent on access to fairly fast flowing water so there are three main things to consider: 1. Is there a suitable river or stream close to the property? 2. Not only is access to a fast-flowing water course required but also the permission to build round it. 3. Is the water flow pretty consistent throughout the year or does it vary during a dry period when a significantly reduced flow may leave a shortfall in electricity requirements for that time? It is necessary to have an Abstraction Licence. This is obtained from the Environment Agency or the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. Anaerobic Digestion Anaerobic Digestion is a process where micro organisms break down biodegradable materials producing a methane and carbon dioxide bio-gas that can be used to replace fossil fuels as an energy source. The

widespread use of this technology would greatly reduce the amount of organic waste that would otherwise be used in landfill or have to be incinerated. The bio-gas produced can be used for heating and cooking in the home and converted to bio-methane for injection into the national grid making it eligible for FITs. The size of the tariff is still under some debate. Anaerobic digesters for the home are not really viable at this time. This is due to a couple of main reasons, the first being that the average household doesn’t produce enough biodegradable waste and would only be able to generate around 4% of the energy a typical household would use in a year. Secondly, a digester has to be big enough to reach the optimal temperature of 35OC in order to produce bio-gas – again, this just isn’t practical in a domestic situation. One viable possibility for its use could be as a community project, providing the right planning permissions and licences could be acquired. The bio-gas and fertilizer by-product could be sold. The most practical application at this time seems to be for farmers, where there is more space to build a suitable sized plant and the potential for far more biodegradable waste. Tariff from 1 April 2011
<500 kW AD System >500 kW AD System 12.1p/kWh 9.4p/kWh

Proposed Tariff
<250 kW AD System >250 - 500 kW AD System 14p/kWh 13p/kWh

Subject to the outcome of parliamentary consultation, revised tariffs will be introduced from 1 August 2011.

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Other Things To Consider About Anaerobic Digestion It’s currently being debated whether the tariff proposed is high enough to make investing in this technology worthwhile. Depending on the size of system required, planning permission may be needed and it’s certainly advisable to discuss any plans in full with local planning authorities before having an AD system installed. Micro Combined Heat and Power (Micro-CHP)

Other Things To Consider About Micro-CHP Micro-CHP only generates electricity when there is a requirement for heat also. That means this technology is most effective for use in houses where heat demand is high. For instance, older buildings where the usual means of reducing heat demand, like improved insulation and draught exclusion, doesn’t work and other low carbon heat generators like wood stoves are ineffective. Renewable Heat Incentives (RHI)

Micro-CHP refers to a form of heating that produces electricity from the same source at the same time. At the moment that source is usually mains gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) but Micro-CHP systems can also be fuelled by oil or bio-fuels. Although gas and oil are fossil fuels and therefore not classed as renewable energy sources, this system still qualifies as low carbon technology. Generating heat and electricity at the same time is far more energy efficient than burning fossil fuel for heating purposes and then getting whatever electricity is required for the home via the grid. A Micro-CHP system used in a typical domestic setting would be expected to generate around 1kW of electricity per hour, which is sufficient power for the lighting and electrical appliances of most households. Just like other modern boilers used in the home, Micro-CHP systems are about the same size and shape and can be wall mounted or floor standing. The only significant difference is their ability to generate electricity at the same time as heating water - as a by-product of that heat. Therefore, Micro-CHP technology is also eligible for the government’s FIT scheme, providing the householder with a generation tariff of 10.5p/kWh and an export tariff of 3p/kWh. However, this is a pilot scheme that will support up to 30,000 installations with a review to commence with the completion of the 12,000th installation.

Apart from the Feed In Tariff scheme, there is also the Renewable Heat Incentives (RHI) scheme. March 2011 saw the government announce details of the RHI which was expressly designed to provide financial backing and encouragement for people to switch from using fossil fuels for heating to renewable energy alternatives. For domestic users there will be two phases to the scheme. The first is the Premium Payment Phase which is a one-off payment and comes into effect from July 2011. It’s worth £1.5 million and available to 25,000 UK households who install renewable heat from that date. The exact amounts that will be available for different technologies have not yet been confirmed but the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) suggests the following: Phase 1 - Short Term One-Off Premium Payments
Solar Thermal Air Source Heat Pumps Biomass Boilers Ground Source Heat Pumps £300/unit £850/unit £950/unit £1,250/unit

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Other Potential Green Revenues

105

Recipients will have to ensure that they have an energy performance certificate to show they have a well-insulated home and must agree to give feedback on how the equipment performs. Phase 2 - Long Term Tariff Those in receipt of Renewable Heat Premium Payments will also be able to receive long term RHI tariff support, once it’s introduced, and anyone who installed eligible technology from 15 July 2009 will also be able to benefit from the Phase 2 tariff. There are still some things that need to be clarified concerning air source heat pumps. Although they are definitely included in the Phase 1, one-off Premium Payment, their inclusion in the tariff payment will depend on consumer feedback related to their performance. The tariffs will commence from October 2012. The Green Deal The government’s Green Deal is another mechanism for helping consumers finance energy efficient improvements to their homes without upfront costs. Payment is recouped via a charge applied to their energy bill. It’s paid in instalments, along with their utility bill which should be less due to the savings made. It’s not a conventional loan, as the bill-payer isn’t responsible for the full cost of the system on the charges due on the bills they pay. Once the bill-payer moves out of the property the obligation is transferred to the next bill-payer. The contractual liability of the customer is with the energy provider. Before finance is available and work carried out on the property an accredited adviser must recommend an appropriate solution, after carrying out an assessment of the property in question. The adviser will

be in a position to give customers a broad range of information about how they might best improve the sustainability of their homes and not just focus on one particular system. The advice given must also be appropriate to the terms of the Consumer Credit Act which means taking into account an applicant’s individual circumstances. There are a number of safeguards in place to protect the consumer and the ‘golden rule’ of The Green Deal is that the expected financial savings must be equal to or greater than the costs attached to the energy bill. The recommended work must also be carried out by an accredited installer. Frequently Asked Questions About Green Sources Of Revenue Q: Will a wind turbine mounted on my property cause damage to its structure? A: Buildings are designed to take compressive loads - a pressure that flattens rather than lateral loads associated with wind resistance and which a building- mounted wind turbine would impart. The vibration caused would be transmitted to the building and could cause structural damage. Q: How can I tell if hydroelectricity will work for my home? A: Hydroelectricity will not be suitable for every home due to its dependency on a nearby source of flowing water like a stream, river or weir, so that’s the main consideration. After that, you would need to know about the practicalities like seasonal variations in water flow and accessibility. There is free guidance to help you to find answers to all these questions and more from your nearest Energy Saving Trust advice centre.

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Q: What is the main health and safety issue with anaerobic digestion systems? A: Fire. Bio-gas is combustible. Q: How difficult is it to have a Micro-CHP unit installed? A: If you already have a conventional boiler, it’s easy enough to replace it with a Micro-CHP unit as they’re about the same size. It’s not a complex procedure when performed by a qualified installer and electrician. Q: Will tariffs specific to Micro-CHP be considered in the future? A: Yes and they will be in conjunction with the Renewable Obligation tariffs for combined heat and power. Q: Do I have to pay tax on my tariffs? A: The government announced that income from Feed In Tariffs would be tax free for householders installing systems largely for their own use. Similarly, Renewable Heat Incentive income will also be exempt from tax. Q: Can RHI payments be re-assigned to someone else in the same way as FIT? A: No. Only the owner of the installation will be able to receive the RHI payments. They cannot be assigned to others.

Appendix

Solar Insolation Values For The UK
As described on in chapter four, solar insolation or irradiance is a measurement of the amount of energy you can expect your solar panels to capture from the sun per square metre, depending on your location and tilt of the panels. On page 36 there is a table of solar insolation values for London and in this appendix we have included similar charts for the rest of the UK. The values are shown as average irradiance measurements in kilowatt-hours, per square metre, spread over a day and averaged out over a period of each month of the year. We have already seen how the amount of energy captured from the sun varies depending on the tilt of the solar panels, time of year and location. The following tables show the results gained by mounting your solar panels horizontally and vertically, and gauge the optimum tilts for best winter and summer performance and, more importantly, best yearround performance.

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109

Solar Insolation Values - London
JAN
Flat 0o Upright 90o 38o Best Year Round Tilt 22o Best Winter Tilt 54o Best Summer Tilt

Solar Insolation Values - South East England
APR 3.57 2.58 MAY 4.59 2.70 JUN 4.86 2.64
Flat 0o Upright 90o 38o Best Year Round Tilt 22o Best Winter Tilt 54o Best Summer Tilt

FEB 1.37 1.80

MAR 2.31 2.18

JAN 0.80 1.34

FEB 1.44 1.94

MAR 2.42 2.33

APR 3.70 2.71

MAY 4.73 2.80

JUN 4.99 2.72

0.75 1.20

1.27

2.04

2.76

3.67

4.17

4.20

1.41

2.18

2.94

3.84

4.31

4.32

1.30

2.03

2.62

3.34

3.66

3.69

1.44

2.18

2.81

3.50

3.79

3.80

1.19

1.95

2.77

3.84

4.52

4.63

1.30

2.08

2.94

4.01

4.68

4.76

JUL
Flat 0o Upright 90o 38o Best Year Round Tilt 22o Best Winter Tilt 54o Best Summer Tilt

AUG 4.20 2.80

SEP 2.81 2.47

OCT 1.69 2.07

NOV 0.92 1.43

DEC 0.60 1.01
Flat 0o Upright 90o 38o Best Year Round Tilt 22o Best Winter Tilt 54o Best Summer Tilt

JUL 5.00 2.81

AUG 4.31 2.90

SEP 2.88 2.57

OCT 1.75 2.18

NOV 0.95 1.51

DEC 0.62 1.09

4.82 2.71

4.25

4.16

3.26

2.41

1.53

1.05

4.42

4.30

3.37

2.53

1.61

1.12

3.76

3.73

3.06

2.37

1.56

1.08

3.92

3.86

3.17

2.49

1.64

1.16

4.66

4.41

3.31

2.33

1.43

0.97

4.85

4.55

3.41

2.43

1.50

1.03

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111

Solar Insolation Values - South West England
JAN
Flat 0o Upright 90o 39o Best Year Round Tilt 23o Best Winter Tilt 55o Best Summer Tilt

Solar Insolation Values - East Of England
JUN 5.37 2.84
Flat 0o Upright 90o 38o Best Year Round Tilt 22o Best Winter Tilt 54o Best Summer Tilt

FEB 1.51 1.98

MAR 2.49 2.36

APR 3.91 2.83

MAY 5.13 2.97

JAN 0.72 1.18

FEB 1.34 1.80

MAR 2.37 2.30

APR 3.60 2.63

MAY 4.68 2.78

JUN 4.90 2.68

0.81 1.26

1.34

2.25

3.00

4.07

4.70

4.64

1.25

2.03

2.89

3.71

4.24

4.21

1.37

2.24

2.86

3.72

4.13

4.08

1.27

2.02

2.74

3.38

3.77

3.69

1.25

2.14

3.00

4.24

5.08

5.12

1.16

1.94

2.90

3.89

4.61

4.65

JUL
Flat 0o Upright 90o 39o Best Year Round Tilt 23o Best Winter Tilt 55o Best Summer Tilt

AUG 4.37 2.88

SEP 3.07 2.72

OCT 1.74 2.09

NOV 1.01 1.54

DEC 0.65 1.08
Flat 0o Upright 90o 38o Best Year Round Tilt 22o Best Winter Tilt 54o Best Summer Tilt

JUL 4.86 2.75

AUG 4.20 2.83

SEP 2.82 2.52

OCT 1.64 2.04

NOV 0.91 1.45

DEC 0.57 1.01

5.28 2.90

4.68

4.34

3.60

2.45

1.65

1.13

4.27

4.16

3.30

2.36

1.55

1.04

4.07

3.90

3.40

2.41

1.68

1.16

3.77

3.73

3.10

2.32

1.57

1.07

5.12

4.59

3.64

2.36

1.54

1.04

4.69

4.41

3.35

2.29

1.45

0.96

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Solar Insolation Values - East Midlands
JAN
Flat 0o Upright 90o 37o Best Year Round Tilt 21o Best Winter Tilt 53o Best Summer Tilt

Solar Insolation Values - West Midlands
MAY 4.44 2.67 JUN 4.51 2.53
Flat 0o Upright 90o 38o Best Year Round Tilt 22o Best Winter Tilt 54o Best Summer Tilt

FEB 1.31 1.80

MAR 2.20 2.11

APR 3.37 2.47

JAN 0.71 1.18

FEB 1.35 1.84

MAR 2.28 2.18

APR 3.47 2.54

MAY 4.51 2.70

JUN 4.69 2.59

0.64 1.07

1.13

2.01

2.64

3.45

4.01

3.88

1.24

2.06

2.74

3.56

4.09

4.05

1.15

2.00

2.51

3.13

3.56

3.40

1.26

2.05

2.60

3.25

3.64

3.55

1.05

1.92

2.66

3.62

4.37

4.28

1.15

1.97

2.75

3.73

4.45

4.46

JUL
Flat 0o Upright 90o 37o Best Year Round Tilt 21o Best Winter Tilt 53o Best Summer Tilt

AUG 3.82 2.59

SEP 2.59 2.31

OCT 1.54 1.93

NOV 0.80 1.27

DEC 0.51 0.94
Flat 0o Upright 90o 38o Best Year Round Tilt 22o Best Winter Tilt 54o Best Summer Tilt

JUL 4.69 2.68

AUG 4.04 2.73

SEP 2.70 2.41

OCT 1.65 2.08

NOV 0.90 1.45

DEC 0.57 1.03

4.50 2.59

3.95

3.74

3.01

2.22

1.36

0.96

4.14

3.99

3.14

2.40

1.55

1.06

3.48

3.35

2.81

2.18

1.37

0.99

3.65

3.58

2.95

2.36

1.57

1.09

4.33

3.98

3.06

2.15

1.27

0.89

4.53

4.23

3.19

2.31

1.44

0.97

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115

Solar Insolation Values - North East England
JAN
Flat 0o Upright 90o 35o Best Year Round Tilt 19o Best Winter Tilt 51o Best Summer Tilt

Solar Insolation Values - North West England
JUN 5.47 3.06
Flat 0o Upright 90o 36o Best Year Round Tilt 20o Best Winter Tilt 52o Best Summer Tilt

FEB 1.35 2.03

MAR 2.45 2.61

APR 3.88 3.04

MAY 5.35 3.31

JAN 0.66 1.16

FEB 1.32 1.85

MAR 2.30 2.28

APR 3.63 2.74

MAY 4.92 2.99

JUN 5.00 2.79

0.61 1.17

1.21

2.23

3.71

4.14

4.90

4.65

1.21

2.06

2.83

3.79

4.49

4.31

1.24

2.22

3.03

3.76

4.33

4.07

1.24

2.05

2.69

3.46

4.00

3.78

1.11

2.12

3.17

4.33

5.33

5.15

1.12

1.96

2.83

3.97

4.89

4.77

JUL
Flat 0o Upright 90o 35o Best Year Round Tilt 19o Best Winter Tilt 51o Best Summer Tilt

AUG 4.29 3.05

SEP 2.91 2.81

OCT 1.66 2.27

NOV 0.77 1.38

DEC 0.44 0.94
Flat 0o Upright 90o 36o Best Year Round Tilt 20o Best Winter Tilt 52o Best Summer Tilt

JUL 4.88 2.82

AUG 3.98 2.74

SEP 2.73 2.51

OCT 1.53 1.95

NOV 0.79 1.29

DEC 0.50 0.95

5.13 3.01

4.49

4.32

3.56

2.56

1.44

0.95

4.31

3.94

3.23

2.23

1.37

0.96

3.95

3.85

3.34

2.52

1.46

0.98

3.80

3.54

3.04

2.19

1.39

0.99

4.96

4.59

3.60

2.46

1.34

0.86

4.73

4.18

3.28

2.16

1.28

0.88

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117

Solar Insolation Values - Yorkshire And The Humber
JAN
Flat 0o Upright 90o 36o Best Year Round Tilt 20o Best Winter Tilt 52o Best Summer Tilt

Solar Insolation Values - Central And Southern Scotland
JAN
Flat 0o Upright 90o 34o Best Year Round Tilt 18o Best Winter Tilt 50o Best Summer Tilt

FEB 1.30 1.86

MAR 2.30 2.31

APR 3.51 2.64

MAY 4.69 2.86

JUN 4.78 2.68

FEB 1.16 1.75

MAR 2.03 2.05

APR 3.22 2.46

MAY 4.55 2.85

JUN 4.66 2.68

0.62 1.12

0.51 0.99

1.16

2.06

2.85

3.64

4.24

4.09

1.02

1.91

2.51

3.32

4.11

3.97

1.19

2.04

2.71

3.31

3.77

3.58

1.04

1.90

2.37

3.00

3.64

3.47

1.08

1.96

2.86

3.82

4.63

4.50

0.94

1.83

2.53

3.49

4.49

4.37

JUL
Flat 0o Upright 90o 36o Best Year Round Tilt 20o Best Winter Tilt 52o Best Summer Tilt

AUG 3.89 2.68

SEP 2.67 2.46

OCT 1.54 1.99

NOV 0.75 1.25

DEC 0.47 0.92
Flat 0o Upright 90o 34o Best Year Round Tilt 18o Best Winter Tilt 50o Best Summer Tilt

JUL 4.31 2.58

AUG 3.63 2.55

SEP 2.42 2.28

OCT 1.33 1.76

NOV 0.64 1.14

DEC 0.38 0.86

4.64 2.70

4.07

3.83

3.16

2.28

1.32

0.94

3.77

3.52

2.87

1.99

1.20

0.86

3.58

3.42

2.96

2.24

1.34

0.97

3.31

3.17

2.68

1.95

1.21

0.89

4.47

4.08

3.21

2.20

1.24

0.86

4.15

3.77

3.93

1.93

1.12

0.78

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119

Solar Insolation Values - North Scotland
JAN
Flat 0o Upright 90o 33o Best Year Round Tilt 17o Best Winter Tilt 49o Best Summer Tilt

Solar Insolation Values - South Wales
MAY 4.52 2.88 JUN 4.63 2.70
Flat 0o Upright 90o 38o Best Year Round Tilt 22o Best Winter Tilt 54o Best Summer Tilt

FEB 1.11 1.74

MAR 2.05 2.16

APR 3.30 2.59

JAN 0.72 1.14

FEB 1.33 1.74

MAR 2.21 2.04

APR 3.52 2.54

MAY 4.57 2.70

JUN 4.75 2.59

0.47 0.99

1.00

1.88

2.60

3.44

4.08

3.93

1.21

1.97

2.59

3.61

4.15

4.11

1.03

1.87

2.46

3.12

3.62

3.43

1.23

1.96

2.46

3.29

3.65

3.61

0.92

1.80

2.61

3.62

4.46

4.32

1.13

1.89

2.61

3.78

4.51

4.52

JUL
Flat 0o Upright 90o 33o Best Year Round Tilt 17o Best Winter Tilt 49o Best Summer Tilt

AUG 3.61 2.57

SEP 2.45 2.38

OCT 1.31 1.80

NOV 0.59 1.12

DEC 0.32 0.77
Flat 0o Upright 90o 38o Best Year Round Tilt 22o Best Winter Tilt 54o Best Summer Tilt

JUL 4.71 2.66

AUG 3.97 2.64

SEP 2.71 2.37

OCT 1.55 1.87

NOV 0.89 1.35

DEC 0.59 0.99

4.31 2.61

3.75

3.50

2.96

2.01

1.16

0.76

4.16

3.91

3.12

2.18

1.45

1.03

3.30

3.15

2.77

1.96

1.18

0.79

3.68

3.51

2.93

2.14

1.47

1.06

4.11

3.75

3.02

1.95

1.08

0.69

4.56

4.14

3.17

2.11

1.36

0.95

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121

Solar Insolation Values - North Wales
JAN
Flat 0o Upright 90o 37o Best Year Round Tilt 21o Best Winter Tilt 53o Best Summer Tilt

Solar Insolation Values - Northern Ireland
MAY 4.92 2.97 JUN 5.00 2.77
Flat 0o Upright 90o 35o Best Year Round Tilt 19o Best Winter Tilt 51o Best Summer Tilt

FEB 1.32 1.83

MAR 2.30 2.26

APR 3.63 2.72

JAN 0.61 1.09

FEB 1.25 1.79

MAR 2.15 2.12

APR 3.39 2.55

MAY 4.54 2.79

JUN 4.54 2.58

0.66 1.14

1.19

2.04

2.81

3.78

4.48

4.30

1.13

1.98

2.62

3.51

4.12

3.90

1.22

2.03

2.68

3.44

3.98

3.77

1.16

1.97

2.49

3.19

3.66

3.42

1.11

1.95

2.82

3.96

4.88

4.76

1.05

1.89

2.64

3.68

4.49

4.27

JUL
Flat 0o Upright 90o 37o Best Year Round Tilt 21o Best Winter Tilt 53o Best Summer Tilt

AUG 3.98 2.72

SEP 2.73 2.49

OCT 1.53 1.93

NOV 0.79 1.27

DEC 0.50 0.92
Flat 0o Upright 90o 35o Best Year Round Tilt 19o Best Winter Tilt 51o Best Summer Tilt

JUL 4.30 2.54

AUG 3.64 2.51

SEP 2.56 2.36

OCT 1.42 1.82

NOV 0.74 1.25

DEC 0.43 0.82

4.88 2.81

4.29

3.93

3.22

2.22

1.35

0.95

3.79

3.56

3.02

2.08

1.32

0.83

3.79

3.52

3.02

2.18

1.37

0.98

3.34

3.19

2.83

2.04

1.34

0.86

4.72

4.18

3.27

2.15

1.26

0.87

4.15

3.79

3.07

2.02

1.24

0.77

122

123

Glossary Of Terms
AC - Alternating current. Amorphous - A type of solar cell, also known as Thin Film, consisting of a thin film of non-crystalline silicon. Anaerobic Digestion System - Gas produced by the breakdown of organic materials. Angle - Also called Pitch and usually refers to the inclination of a roof in degrees. Azimuth Angle Gauge - A device for making angular measurements in degrees with respect to true North. Battery Bank - Batteries used for storing energy that are linked together to form a ‘bank’. Combiner Box - An electrical enclosure allowing multiple panels to be combined in parallel and which also houses series string fuses or circuit breakers. Controller - For an off-grid system using batteries, a controller regulates the amount of current the solar system feeds the batteries. Crystalline - One of the two main technologies used for the production of solar panels.The other being non-crystalline amorphous. Current - The flow of electrons in a circuit. DC - Stands for Direct Current. A solar panel system generates low voltage Direct Current which has to be converted to AC. Deemed - Estimated.

124

125

Efficiency - The extent to which a solar system can transform sunlight into electricity for domestic or commercial use. Elevation Gauge - A device used in line-of-site surveys to reveal obstacles. Energy - Power generated over a period of time. Electrical energy is usually shown as Watt-hours (Wh) or kilo Watt hours (kWh). 1 kWh = 1,000 Wh. Export - Refers to the transference of excess electricity generated to the national grid.

Inverter - Converts the electricity from direct to alternating current suitable for use in the home. Irradiance - See Insolation.

kWh - Kilo Watt hours. A measurement of electrical energy.

Latitude - The angular distance of a location in respect of the equator, expressed in degrees and minutes.

FITs, Feed In Tariff scheme - A government backed scheme designed as an incentive to installing accredited solar systems.

MCS - Microgeneration Certification Scheme. An internationally recognised, industry led and funded scheme focused on ensuring the quality of renewable technology installations and products. Micro-CHP - Micro Combined Heat and Power. A form of heating that produces electricity from the same source at the same time. Usually refers to mains gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) but can also be fuelled by oil or bio-fuels. Monocrystalline - Solar cells cut from a single crystal of silicon. Mounting System - The hardware used to fix the solar panels to the roof, a pole or the ground. Multicrystalline - Also known as polycrystalline. These are solar cells cut from a block of silicon that has been made up of a large number of crystals.

Generation - The generation of all electricity via a solar system. Green Deal - A government backed incentive for helping consumers finance energy efficient improvements to their homes without upfront costs. Grid Connected - Also known as grid-tied and refers to a system that is tied to the national grid.This allows the home to run on solar electricity generated during the day with surplus energy being sold back to the energy company. In the evening and at night, power required by the home is imported from the grid in the usual way. Grid-Tie - See Grid Connected. Ground Fault Protector - Averts the risk of damage to the controller or solar array by immediately cutting off the flow of current, in the event of a short occurring.

New Build - A building that has yet to be occupied for the first time.

Hydroelectricity - Electricity produced by water power.

Obstacles - Any temporary or permanent fixtures that will cast shadow on, or block sunlight from, the solar panels at any time during the year. Off-Grid - A solar system that is operating completely independent of the national grid. On-Grid - See Grid Connected. Orientation - Refers to the direction in which your roof is facing.

Insolation - Also called Irradiance. Refers to the number of hours of sunlight and the strength of that sunlight at a particular location - taking into consideration the changes that occur throughout the course of the year.

126

127

Photovoltaic - Often abbreviated to PV, photovoltaic simply refers to the process by which sunlight is converted into electricity. Pitch - See Angle. Polycrystalline - See Multicrystalline. Power - A measurement of the rate of energy conversion in Watts (W). PV - See Photovoltaic.

Thin Film - See Amorphous. Tilt - The angle at which the solar panels need to be mounted in order to get the best all year round performance, after taking into consideration the location’s irradiance values, roof pitch and orientation. Voltage - Measured in Volts (V) and is the potential difference between two points, like the positive and negative ends of a battery. A measurement of the energy of electricity, in particular, per unit charge. Warranty - Solar panels come with their own specific guarantees, and usually include a 5 or 10 year workmanship and materials warranty. Wattage - An amount of electrical power expressed in Watts (W). Wh - Watt-hour. A unit of energy equivalent to 3600 joules. Wind Turbine - A device that can be free-standing or building-mounted and used to harness the power of the wind to generate electricity. Wp - Watt-peak. The professed power of a solar cell or panel.

Retrofit - A term used when describing an installation on a building that is already occupied. RHI - Renewable Heat Incentive. Another of the government’s schemes designed to provide financial backing as an incentive for people to switch from using fossil fuels for heating to renewable energy alternatives. ROC - Renewables Obligation Certificate. A green certificate issued by Ofgem for eligible renewable electricity generated within the UK.

SAP - Standard Assessment Procedure. The government’s recommended procedure for calculating the energy rating of domestic properties. Shade - See Obstacles. Solar Array - A group of solar modules linked together. Solar Cell - An electrical device designed to convert energy extracted from light into electricity by photovoltaic means. Solar Modules - Also known as solar panels and consist of assemblies of cells designed to capture energy from sunlight. Solar Panels - See Solar Modules. Solar Shingles - PV cells that are designed to look like regular asphalt tiles while still being able to capture sunlight and convert it into energy. Survey - In this book, ‘survey’ refers to inspecting your home to evaluate its suitability for a solar panel system and plan how to get the most from the government’s Feed In Tariff scheme.

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References

Solar Electricity Handbook - Michael Boxwell http://www.ofgem.gov.uk http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk http://www.microgenerationcertification.org http://www.builditsolar.com http://www.spiritsolar.co.uk

How To Make Money From Solar Energy
The UK Government has introduced Feed In Tariffs, giving British homeowners the ability to generate an estimated £1,000 per annum from solar electricity. This book is an informative read, giving you an introduction to all you need to know about solar energy and photovoltaic systems. Having read the book, you will be able to answer the following questions:

n Are solar panels right for your house or business? n How do you accurately calculate the expected return? n How do you install panels to ensure maximum return? n Should you consider installing free solar panels? n What are the hidden costs of solar panels? n How do solar panels affect the sale of your house?

Price: £15.99 UK

For more information on Solar Energy visit: www.theecoexperts.co.uk

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