Installing a Solar PV system in your home
There are a wide variety of questions our clients have asked us about over the years, so in this article, we aim to help and advise you with some key points you should be aware of BEFORE you buy.
Our free local site survey will determine which system is best suited to your specific needs of those of your property. It is very rare for properties in the Cambridgeshire area to be affected by more than one of these factors which is why we are confident that any solar PV system we specify will be perfect for you.
What you need to know about Solar pv energy
In the UK, our climate is seasonal so the strength of sunlight will vary throughout the year, as does the temperature. Both these factors affect the ability of a solar PV panel to produce electricity.
Here are some important factors that will affect solar PV power generation.
Sunlight: How much do you get?
Your location will determine how much sunlight you receive. The Southwest gets more than the Scottish Highlands for instance. The Government publishes estimates of the output of solar systems across the country using your post code along with the orientation of your pv system relative to South, plus the angle of the roof.
This gives you a reliable indication of the output of your system, the Feed in Tariff (FiT) payments you will receive and the return you can expect from your Solar PV investment.
Sunlight and Solar radiation in different UK regions and times of year.
Solar radiation map of the UK
Daily sunlight intensity over a year
Average annual rainfall:
When it’s raining heavily the sunlight has very little chance of penetrating both cloud cover and a virtual water barrier to reach the Solar panels and generated electricity.
Cloudy and rainy regions will receive less sunlight than those without rain & clouds. This doesn’t automatically mean that Solar PV panels are a non-starter though as Solar PV panels will typically produce electricity from “diffuse” sunlight even if this is only 20% of optimum levels.
Higher altitudes have better exposure to sunlight than those at sea-level. This is simply because the air is thinner at higher altitudes so sunlight is less scattered.
Average annual temperatures: Hotter is not always better
The silicon cells in solar PV panels are semi-conductors. These are more efficient at lower temperatures, so if you live in a very hot area (in summer) this may be a factor to consider. A 5 degree increase above 25 degrees will lead to a 1% reduction in output. So in the Gulf states where temperatures can exceed 40 degrees they always install additional panels to compensate for this.
Wind: Ensure panels are properly mounted
If you are in an exposed, windy spot, mounting the solar PV array properly is paramount. Wind can damage both the equipment and reduce energy output and therefore your financial returns. So again, ensure you use an experienced installation company who offer solid guarantees on their work. We calculate the wind-loading forces on solar arrays to ensure they will be stable in any circumstances and install them in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions to minimise the effect of wind, flexing the panels and creating damaging micro-fissures in the solar cells that result in reduced output
Shade: Sunlight impairment reduces output
Are you in a heavily built-up area or one that is overlooked by tall trees or buildings? When the sun goes behind a tall building, direct sunlight reaching the panels is reduced; this means the output of the system is reduced. In the winter the numbers of daylight hours are less, further reducing output.
How obstructions impair sunlight reaching your solar pv panels
So is Solar pv right for you?
None of this means that solar pv won’t work for you, but as part of our service, we offer you a free site survey to assess the most suitable system for your specific location.
Possible mounting points for solar PV panels
Do the numbers stack up for you? Find out here
To determine how suitable your home might be for solar PV & estimate the likely returns, enter your information
into our free and instant online solar PV output calculator.
If you would like to talk to us about a site survey, you can request a call back or simply contact us by email.