If you have any questions about solar panels or our services, use the Q & A’s below to help, alternatively, we are always happy to help via 0844 850 8410 or our online contact form.
What is Solar PV? Click to toggle
Solar PV (Or photovoltaic) systems are a means of generating electricity purely from sunlight.Solar PV panels work due to something called the photoelectric effect, which was proven by Albert Einstein in 1905, and earned him his Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921.Sunlight is made up of particles called photons. When photons hit the panels in a solar PV system they are absorbed by electrons which is what makes up electricity.These electrons are collected by the system and can be used to power our electrical items in the same way as the power in sockets.Modern solar PV panels are used in many places from pocket calculators, parking meters, large power stations, spacecraft and an increasing number of people's homes.
How much electricity does a PV system generate? Click to toggle
That very much depends on where you are and in what direction your home faces. The best solar PV systems face directly South as this will allow them to be in direct sunlight for the longest time during a day.A good system in the UK will generate somewhere between 800kWh and 1000kWh per year for every Kilowatt of installed capacity, so if you have a very well positioned 4kWp system on your home, you could expect between 3200kWh and 4000kWh per year. This is very roughly 50% to 75% of the annual usage of a typical household* in a detached home.Even if your home is not pointing perfectly South, it may very well still be worth installing solar PV onto your home or business as yields only drop around 20% to 25% if your roof points due East or West.* - energy saving trust - Powering the nation - household electricity-using habits revealed
Will a solar PV system save me money on my energy bills? Click to toggle
In short. Yes, it will.How much you save will depend on how and when you use your electricity.You will receive your FIT payments whatever happens to the electricity generated but you will save the most money on your electricity bills if you try to use electricity when the solar system is generating at its best. This will be in the middle of the day when it is brightest.This can often be when people are at work, however it is usually possible to programme modern appliances to come on during the day, or specialist devices are available to divert power from the solar system to immersion heaters or storage heaters.
How much does a PV system cost? Click to toggle
The cost of a solar PV system will depend on how large a system will fit onto your home or business. Our prices start from £4495 for a system fitted onto a typical home.If you would like to talk to us about pricing or any other aspect of solar PV systems, we're always happy to discuss your needs and the best system for you in a friendly, no commitment consultation.
Will I be eligible for the Feed-in Tarrif Scheme? Click to toggle
The chances are that you will be yes.All systems provided by Poweri Services Ltd are eligible for FIT payments as we are fully MCS accredited and will even apply for FIT payments on your behalf.However, there are things to consider when choosing your solar PV system. It is a requirement of FIT registration that buildings have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of D or higher to claim the highest rate of FIT payment. This is to encourage you to insulate your home and take other, cheaper and more easily applied energy saving measures before you invest in an expensive solar PV system.We can supply you with an EPC as part of our service, which will include advice on simple energy saving measures with which it is likely you will be able to achieve a D rating even in a older home. However not all homes will be easy to upgrade particularly if you have a old heating system.You can still receive FIT payments if your home does not reach and EPC level of D, however it will be at a significantly lower rate, and your financial return on investment will be a lot lower.
What is MCS? Click to toggle
MCS stands for "Microgeneration Certification Scheme" and is the regulatory body, along with OfGem and DECC that oversee the installation of small renewable energy installations in the UK.It is a requirement of all installations wishing to claim FIT payments that the installation comply with MCS standards.The MCS scheme was conceived of, developed and launched by our Managing Director, Chris Roberts, he is still heavily involved with MCS as he believes in ensuring that all systems installed meet only highest of quality standards.
Do I need to inform my Energy Supplier? Click to toggle
You will need to apply for FIT payments through your energy supplier as it will be them sending money back to you for a change once your system is installed. This is something that we can do on your behalf if you would like us to, although it is a simple process and we will supply all of the information and documentation needed to make the application yourself.There are also regulations requiring you to inform the companies that own the National Grid (DNO's) that you are connecting a generator the their network. We will handle this process for you as part of our obligation as a responsible installer when installing systems under 4kWp.Larger systems typically installed onto commercial and industrial buildings require a more involved and long winded application process. We still offer to handle the application process on your behalf but will need to discuss the requirements with you in more detail.
How long will a system take to pay for itself? Click to toggle
Well, that depends a lot on how much you pay for it in the first place and how favourable your building is. Even a relatively poor system should pay for itself within around 10 years, and it could be a lot less than that.We will give you an honest and open assessment of the payback period of the system that would fit onto your building before you need to make any decision about buying it, or pay us anything at all.
Is the UK really a good place for a solar power system? Click to toggle
Given the last couple of dreary summers we've had you would be forgiven for thinking that the UK really isn't the best place to put PV systems, and it is true that somewhere in the desert in a very hot country would be better than here.There is actually more than enough sun in most parts of the UK to make solar PV a very worthwhile investment in a lot of cases. Prices have come down hugely over the last couple of years whilst electricity prices only continue to rise. This makes PV systems ever more attractive as a way of insulating yourself against rising bills.You can even make some money out of them with good systems generating around a 10-15% return on investment. That's better than any savings scheme available at the moment. It is worth remembering that PV is a long term investment though and will take several years to pay for itself. It is nice getting a regular cheque from your energy supplier though.
How big does my roof need to be? Click to toggle
The size of system that will fit onto your roof depends a lot on the shape of the roof and whether or not you have chimneys, flue pipes, Velux windows or other obstructions up there, but very simply you should be able to fit around 1kW of solar PV onto 10m2 of roof or 4kW of solar PV onto 35m2 if there is nothing in the way and the roof is fairly square.We will give you a full assessment of the potential of your roof as part of your free survey and design service for domestic properties. If you are interested in having solar PV installed onto your house then please feel free to call us any time.If you are interested in installing solar PV onto a larger building then we would like to talk to you a little about the project first as they are often more complicated systems for various reasons. Our honest, professional and quality service still applies at any size of project however.
Will my home or building need to be surveyed? Click to toggle
At some stage before we install your system the building will need to be surveyed yes.In order to ensure that the system we supply you with is fit to be installed onto your building, and to stay there for 20 years, we will need to visit and take some measurements and record some crucial details. We are required to survey under our MCS obligations, but would do so in any case as it would be almost impossible to guarantee that the system we sold to you would be suitable if we didn't.
What information do you need from a survey? Click to toggle
There are various things that we need to find out during the course of a survey, the main things are:-- The size of your roof.
- The location and size of any obstructions on your roof such as flue pipes or windows.
- The size and location of any trees, buildings or other objects that may cast shade onto your roof.
- The makeup of the structure of your roof (e.g. Rafter size and spacing).
- The type of roof covering (Tiles, slates etc).
- The condition of your roof (Is it damaged, or has it been altered in any way, such as a loft conversion).
- The height of your roof.
- Details of where we would need to erect scaffolding to allow us to safely fit your system.
- Details of your electrical system, such as meter type and location and your distribution board type and location.
Can I send you the information you need myself? Click to toggle
You could send us some information before we survey, which would allow us to tell you if your building is viable for a PV installation, but we would still need to survey before we agreed to install a PV system.We are obliged to do so under our MCS commitments, but we also believe that it is always a good idea to survey to ensure that we are fitting the best PV system possible.We also always like to come and meet you before an installation so that we can make sure that we know of any requirements that you may have from us, and that you are clear on what to expect from us. A personal service is one of our key aims and we wouldn't be able to do that nearly as well if we hadn't met you.
How long will a survey take? Click to toggle
A survey on a domestic property will typically take a couple of hours.A survey on a larger, commercial or industrial property will take longer depending on the building, but wouldn't usually take more than 4 hours.We make every effort to be as un-intrusive as possible and not to waste any of your time whilst we are surveying, but it is important for us to collect all of the information we need whilst we are there.
Do I need to be with you whilst you survey? Click to toggle
We don't feel that it is usually appropriate for you to be elsewhere whilst we are surveying your property so we would request that you be present, or at least close by at all times. We won't know our way around and wouldn't like to have to search for distribution boards or loft hatches for example. A survey is also a chance to meet you and talk to you about your reasons for getting a solar PV system and to find out about any other things that we may need to know when we are working on your installation.
Will you need to make any mess whilst you are surveying? Click to toggle
We shouldn't need to no. We always ensure that we are neat and tidy whilst in your home or business, however it is possible that we will need to ask you to move possessions or furniture to allow us to gather the information we need.
Do I need to do anything to prepare for your survey visit? Click to toggle
We would ask that you make sure that the loft is accessible as well as the electrical distribution board.If you have dogs or other pets that might not like us being there then we would also ask that you confine them during our visit. Other than that we would try to inconvenience you as little as possible whilst we are there.
Do you properly design my solar PV system? Click to toggle
Yes, we design every system we install to ensure that what we are providing you with is the best PV system that we can, and that it will be worth the investment you are making.We have a rigorous and very thoroughly tested design process that allows us to do this quickly whilst ensuring that every detail is covered. We also do not use off the shelf kit systems that try to be "one size fit all" as we do not believe that they really ever can be, and you would end up with a sub standard system as a result.
Can I see the design for my system? Click to toggle
Of course. We would always show you what your system would look like and explain where everything needs to go, how it is to be secured and what yield you can expect from the system before you agree to buy it. If you are unhappy with any details at all, we will change them straight away to make sure that you are happy with what we are installing.
How long does it take to design a solar PV system? Click to toggle
That very much depend on the size of the system. We would usually aim to get the design for a domestic scale system to you within a couple of days. For larger systems we would usually aim to get the design to you within a week, but this can take longer depending on your requirements and the type of system we're designing.The investment you're making in a solar PV system is usually a sizable one, and we think that it's worth spending some time making sure that you get the best system possible for your money.
What things do you consider when you're designing my system? Click to toggle
There are a number of things that we think about when we're designing a solar PV system. some are dictated by our MCS obligations, and some we do to ensure that we deliver the best system that we can for you.The key considerations are:-What are your goals in buying a solar PV system?people have various reasons for investing in solar PV systems, from purely environmental reasons, to wanting to be more energy independent to just wanting to make some money. All of them are valid reasons but the system you need to meet these needs might be different. We aim to ensure that we know exactly what you want so that we can make sure that you get it.Selection of componentsthere are a huge variety of different products on the market, and we review many different options regularly to ensure that you're getting the best system for your money.The local environmentThe site of your building is unique and needs to be treated as such. There will be different conditions throughout the year such as wind and snow conditions, and there are other buildings and trees around that may cast shade onto your solar array causing it to underperform.How to fix the panels to your roofThere are many different systems for doing this, but we will chose the best one available for the local conditions. They're going to be up there for 20 years or more and we need to ensure that they will be safe up there for that whole time.How to connect the PV to your electrical systemWe need to connect your PV system to the electrical system in your building to allow you to use the electricity is generates. We need to consider the best and safest way to do this. We also need to consider any energy that might be lost in the wires and ensure that this is kept to a minimum.How much energy will the system generate?Solar PV systems pay for themselves by generating electricity, and you're going to want to know how much to expect. We use the systems dictated by MCS as well as industry leading simulation software packages to let you know what you can expect from the system we're installing.
Do you have to use scaffolding when you're fitting my solar PV system? Click to toggle
We would almost always use scaffolding to access the roof of your property safely while we were installing your solar PV system. It's not only safer for us, but it's safer for your building as well.
Do you make a lot of noise when you're fitting my solar PV system? Click to toggle
We wouldn't normally make much noise no. There may be times when we have to use impact drills to install the fixings into your roof, and that can make some noise, but we try to keep it to a minimum. We would also work around sensitive times for you if required to ensure that the installation is as un-disruptive as possible.
Can anyone install a solar PV system? Click to toggle
Solar PV systems can be complicated and potentially dangerous to install so we would not advise anyone to attempt to install one themselves. They would also not be eligible for FIT payments from electricity suppliers as you need to be MCS certified to install a FIT registered PV system.We have the experience and the qualifications to be able to install the best system for you for the right price, so why not leave it to us?
Can you fix my existing Solar PV system? Click to toggle
Yes, we can fix your existing system for you.We would do this for you free of charge if we installed the system and it was still within its warranty period.If we did not install your system however then this is a service we would charge for so we would first encourage you to go to the installer who first fitted your system. They would be required to assess and carry out the repairs for free if the system is under warranty. If your original installer is no longer trading then you should have been signed up to a scheme such as IWA.biz, which we use, or REIGA who will ensure that your installers warranty is honoured even if they go out of business.If your system is outside of warranty then we will be happy to look at it for you and to carry out any repair works that are needed to bring it back to full working order.
Do solar PV systems often break down? Click to toggle
Solar PV systems can fail just like anything else, so they do occasionally break down. However, they are designed to be very reliable and very low maintenance and it's possible that it will work for 20 years without you needing to do anything to it at all. We would recommend that you check the inverter once in a while to make sure that it's still working, as you would be losing money if for any reason it did fail.Alternatively, we offer low cost monitoring packages that will keep an eye on it for you and let you know automatically if anything is wrong. It will also allow you to check on how much you are generating at any given moment on any given day. That can be a great way to optimise your energy savings as you can put you washing machine on when you know that your solar PV systems is generating well and know that you'll be paying nothing for the electricity it is using.
Can I repair my solar PV system myself? Click to toggle
We would not recommend that you try because there are elements of solar PV systems which can be dangerous if handled improperly. We're always happy to have a look at your system for you if you think there might be something wrong with it and if it's still under warranty we'll fix it for free.
Do I need Planning Permission? Click to toggle
The chances are that no, you won't need planning permission. Regulations across the UK have been relaxed over the last few years to allow solar PV systems as well as other renewable technologies to be fitted without the need for time consuming and potentially expensive planning applications.It is still possible that you will need planning permission for your system (if your building is listed, if you live in a conservation area or near a Site of Special Scientific Interest for example) you can ask your planning office directly about if you will need planning permission.It is worth noting however than some planning authorities will charge you around £70 just to tell you if you need to apply or not, and in the vast majority of cases we will be able to advise you on whether you will need permission or not as part of our service. I'd talk to us first as it won't cost you a penny
How do you know my roof will be strong enough? Click to toggle
As part of our MCS obligations we are required to ensure that the roof we are fitting a solar PV system onto is strong enough to take the extra weight, and in addition that the mounting system used is adequate to withstand any wind or snow conditions it will experience over the 20 years it will be on your roof.We are qualified to make a lot of these assessments ourselves during our design process. If your roof is unusual in some way or we are at all unsure about how strong it is, we use the services of a qualified and accredited structural engineer to give you the peace of mind that nothing we do will damage your home or business.
What is kWh? Click to toggle
kWh (or Kilowatt Hours) are the units commonly used for measuring energy in electrical systems. The electricity meter in your home measures in kWh, and you will typically pay between 9p and 12p for every kWh you use. if you have a 1kW heater switched on for one hour, that will use 1kWh of energy. Most homes in the UK will use between 2000 and 4000kWh of electrical energy per year** - energy saving trust - Powering the nation - household electricity-using habits revealed
What is an Inverter? Click to toggle
The energy generated by solar PV panels is DC electrical current similar to that generated by a battery. The electrical system in buildings used AC current and so a device called in inverter is used to change the DC current from the Panels into AC current that you can use in your home.For domestic PV system, these are usually around the size of a small suitcase and will be mounted into your loft, although that depends on if you have space up there and they can easily go in other convenient places. Inverters have to be chosen carefully to match the system size and position so a similar system on a neighbour's house may well have a different inverter.
Do you design PV systems that you are not installing yourself? Click to toggle
Yes, we are happy to help with the design of solar systems for other people to install.Particularly for larger systems it is common for some installers not to have the experience, qualifications or confidence to design the system themselves as it can be a very complicated process. We offer a wide range of services designed to help other installers deliver these larger, more complicated systems effectively and safely for their customers.
How long does an installation take? Click to toggle
The installation of solar PV systems onto a typical house will take around 4 days. 1 day for the scaffolding to be erected, 1 to 2 days for the system to be fitted and tested and 1 more day to take the scaffolding back down again. Some systems can take less or more time but we will let you know how long it should take before we start work.Larger systems on Commercial and Industrial buildings can take much longer than this, but our expert installers will always endeavour to install your PV system as quickly as possible and with as little disruption as possible.
How can I tell what my solar PV system is doing? Click to toggle
It's easy to forget that you have a solar PV system on your roof, and it can be difficult to tell if it's doing its job properly. You can check the generation meter to see if that is clicking up the kilo Watt hours, or you can look at the inverter which will keep a record of system activity. These can be inconvenient however, and not always very illuminating.A much better option would be to install a monitoring system that will connect your solar PV system to your computer, a display unit that you can keep in a visible location in your home, or even to your smart phone of tablet. We offer systems that can do all of this so that you can see exactly what your solar PV system is doing at any moment.