Solar PV Panels



We are very pleased to recommend the services of Solaflair. You took the trouble to explain how the PV system will work and then took all measures possible during the installation to avoid disruption to our home. The timing was perfect as we have just experienced one of the sunniest years on record and we are already seeing a very good reduction to our energy bills – and thank you for overcoming some of the unforeseen difficulties with our roof.  

– J Sacha, Bodicote

Solar PV [Photovoltaic] implements a technology in which direct light is converted into electricity. This option uses solar cells, usually placed on the roof, and made up of layers of semi conducting material. An electric field is created when the sun’s UV rays fall on the layers of the cells, causing electricity to flow. The stronger the sun, the more electricity is produced.

An average Solar PV system could cost around £4,000- £7,000 installed. An average domestic system would typically be  between 1.5 and 2 kWp; panels covering 10-15 sq m could produce about a third of an average family's electricity - saving on standard electricity costs.

A typical home Solar PV system could save around 1200 kg of CO2 per year.

Planning permission is not usually required unless you are in a conservation area however  it is always best to consult your local planning office. if you live in a Listed Building, or a building in Conservation Area or World Heritage Site. If you live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland you will need to consult your local authority if considering an installation.

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Renewable electricity is an alternative form of electricity generated from sources that releases much less CO2 into the atmosphere. A barrier to generating renewable electricity yourself can be the very high up-front costs. To encourage more people to generate their own electricity the Government has created the Clean Energy Cash Back Scheme (or Feed in Tariffs). This creates an opportunity for everybody to become electricity generators. The scheme exists in Scotland, England and Wales but does not run in Northern Ireland.

The Feed-in Tariff (FIT) guarantees you a minimum payment for each unit of electricity you generate from renewable sources. This means that anybody that wishes to invest in buying and installing eligible technologies can be confident that the cost of their investment will be recovered.  The generator is paid for every unit they generate, even if they use all the electricity themselves (the generation tariff). If the generator does export electricity to the grid they will be paid an extra tariff on top of the FIT (export tariff). In reality most small-scale installations will receive the export tariff for 50% of their generation as this is the average amount exported by domestic homes.
The FIT will last 20 years for all eligible renewable electricity generators, (previously 25 years for solar photovoltaic). The FIT will be index linked so it will increase each year by the rate of inflation (RPI). The scheme will be reviewed annually to check that the scheme is working well and able to provide a quicker response to cost and market change. Once the installation has been registered for the feed-in tariffs it will be able to claim the feed-in tariff that applies at the time of registration for 20 years. More information on The Feed-inTariff (FIT)

You can calculate how much your particular system might earn you using the ‘Cashback Calculator’ on the Energy Saving Trust website found here. 

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) 

To qualify for the FIT your renewable electricity generator must be installed by an MCS certified installer. The products must also be MCS certified.
is an important quality assurance mechanism that sets out both: 
standards for installers of small-scale heat and power generators; and standards for small-scale heat and power generating products. 

Energy Performance Certificates for Solar PV installations
The owner/ occupier of the building with the renewable technology should now have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to show it is level D or above to claim the full Feed in Tariff rate. If you do not have a valid EPC for the building on which you intend to install on or wire your system to then you should obtain one in order to identify the current energy performance and EPC rating of your building and any cost-effective measures you can install to improve the rating of your building. If the EPC shows that your property is not currently at level D or above, you will need to install measures to improve the energy performance of your property and obtain a new EPC certificate showing a rating of level D or above before you apply for FITs. Your PV installation can help you achieve the level D certificate. If you register for the feed-in tariff before you can provide a valid EPC with a level D certificate you will not be able to provide the level D certificate later to receive the higher tariff.

Registration of your Solar  PV Installation
Once your system has been installed, the MCS installer will provide you with a certificate of installation and register the installation with Ofgem on the central FIT register. 
You must then inform your chosen electricity supplier that you are eligible for the FIT and provide the MCS certificate and Energy Performance Certificate to them. The electricity supplier will cross-check the installation with the central FIT register and the EPC register. Payments will then be made by the energy supplier on a quarterly basis (unless otherwise agreed).

Future Tariffs Rates
Both the Generation Tariff and the Export Tariff are index-linked which means they will increase (or decrease) with inflation (RPI index). The tariffs will be adjusted to ensure a positive return on investment (ROI ). 
The rates of the Feed in Tariff will be adjusted to reflect the costs of the technologies. As the technologies improve and the volume of installations increases the costs of installing should decrease. The tariff rates are intended to provide a rate of return of between 5% and 8%. Since the tariff scheme was introduced a total budget was introduced for the whole scheme which means the tariffs will need to be cut frequently and more severely than had originally been envisaged. 

For Solar PV there could be tariff reductions every 3 months. If the registration of new installations is high the tariff will be reduced in the next quarter. The amount of reduction could be between 3.5% and 28%. If the rate of new registrations is low then there might not be any reduction in tariff rate in the next quarter. If there is no reduction in tariff for 2 successive quarters then there will be an automatic reduction in the tariff rate of at least 3.5% following quarter. New rates will be announced 2 months before they are put in place and will be based on the deployment of the previous 3 months. 
The degression of the other technologies is still under consultation. At the moment degression is reviewed annually and comes into force on the 1st of April of every year.
Source: www.realassurance.org.uk/consumers/feed-in-tariffs

A full table of eligible technologies and their FIT bands is available on the Department of Energy and Climate Change Website (DECC).

Q: Do I have to pay for an EPC certificate? If so how much?

If you do not already have a valid certificate, you will need to obtain one before applying for FITs. They typically cost under £100 for dwellings.

Find out more on how to get an EPC. There may be additional costs to improve the energy performance of your property to EPC level D.

EPCs are typically valid for 10 years, and are required for most buildings on sale, rental, or when built, so you may already have a valid EPC for your property.

Q: I have a Display Energy Certificate (DEC) Is this enough?

No – only an EPC showing level D or above is acceptable. EPCs and DECs provide information about different aspects of energy performance, and are not interchangeable.

Q: Can I install Solar PV to get a level D certificate then apply for FITs?

In some cases this may be possible. However, you should be aware that if you decide to install solar PV on a building that has a rating lower than D and a subsequent EPC assessment shows that the solar PV installation has not improved the rating of the building to a level of D, you will be unable to obtain the standard tariffs without undertaking further improvements to the energy performance of your property and obtaining another EPC assessment.

This is because a generator must be able to provide as part of their application for FITs an EPC certificate showing a rating of level D or above for the building to which the solar PV installation is attached or wired to provide electricity.

Q: How does EPC work?

If you do not have a valid EPC for the building on which you intend to install or wire to your solar PV, you should obtain one in order to identify the current energy performance and EPC rating of your building and any cost-effective measures you can install to improve the rating of your building.

If the EPC shows that your property is not currently at level D or above, you will need to install measures to improve the energy performance of your property and obtain a new EPC certificate showing a rating of level D or above before you apply for FITs.

Q: Can my PV installer carry out an EPC assessment?

The assessment can be carried out by an installer if they meet all the qualification and accreditation requirements under the terms of the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations 2007 (for England and Wales) or are members of an Approved Organisation (in Scotland).

Q: If I make improvements to my home after installing PV and applying for FITs, can I re-submit the EPC and get an uplift in the tariff?

No. Generators who cannot demonstrate that they meet the energy efficiency requirement at the time they apply for FITs will only be eligible for a lower tariff for the duration of the tariff lifetime. Paragraph 32 of the explains this policy here

Q: What if the generator does not provide an EPC with their FITs application?

If no EPC has been received by the time the application is processed, the generator will receive the lower  tariff.

Q: What if the generator does not provide an EPC with their FITs application, but after a few weeks gets around to getting one and submits to original FIT licensee?

The application for FITs needs to include a EPC certificate level D or higher otherwise the tariff will be set at the lower rate. EPC certificates cannot be submitted late even if the property is improved.

You could check with your FIT licensee whether they have processed your original application for FITs. If they haven’t, you could withdraw it and submit a new application accompanied by the EPC certificate.

Q: Does the EPC rating requirement apply to non domestic properties to? What about farmers and barns?

The requirement for EPC level D applies in respect of both domestic and non-domestic buildings. There are limited exceptions – see paragraph 33 and 34 of the phase one response doc here.

Q: What is happening about EPCs for holiday lets?

The requirement for EPC level D applies in respect of both domestic and non-domestic buildings and includes holiday lets. There are limited exceptions – see paragraph 33 and 34 of the phase one response doc here

Q: What if I find out the EPC was incorrect after applying for FITs?

Only qualified assessors are able to undertake assessments of buildings and provide EPCs based on standard methodology and guidance. Therefore, there should not be an issue of an EPC being incorrect in the first place.

If an EPC is found to be incorrect because it has been deliberately fabricated, that would constitute fraud which would need to be investigated by the FITs supplier or Ofgem. If fraud was found to have taken place then appropriate steps would be taken, potentially including reducing the tariff for which a PV installation is eligible. The issuing energy assessor’s EPC accreditation scheme operator will be notified in such instances.

Q: What is the multi-installation tariff?

The multi-installation tariff applies to PV installations where the generator or nominated recipient for FITs already owns or receives FIT payments for more than 25 PV installations on different sites.Such installations will receive a tariff set at 80% of the level of the standard tariff.

Q: Why is the threshold 25 installations

The threshold has been set at 25 installations in the light of responses to last autumn’s consultations expressing concerns about perverse impacts on some community projects of setting the threshold at more than one installation. Such projects may have PV installations on more than one site but not enough sites to benefit from any economies of scale.

Q: Does this mean tariffs will change for my current sites?

The multi-installation tariff will only apply to installations with an eligibility date on or after 1 April 2012.

Q: Do my current sites count towards the quota?

Yes.

Q: Will existing sites get their tariffs reduced when I go above the threshold of 25 ?

No. The lower tariffs will only apply from the 26th installation onwards. installations.


Source: www.decc.gov.uk

Our new Solaflair installed Solar PV system has now been operational for 6 months, and it's been superb - requiring no effort whatsoever as it happily generates electricity for us every day.
The sales approach was not at all pressurised, the installation was quick, with each step well communicated in advance.
The follow-up service was also excellent as step by step instructions were given to ensure the process of claiming the Government FITS incentive was very easy indeed. The service was friendly and they were prompt with any queries I had.
The system has so far generated 5% more electricity than we expected from the original prediction provided which is really good news. Thanks again...

– Anthony Simpson, Didcot

We are very pleased to recommend the services of Solaflair. You took the trouble to explain how the PV system will work and then took all measures possible during the installation to avoid disruption to our home. The timing was perfect as we have just experienced one of the sunniest years on record and we are already seeing a very good reduction to our energy bills – and thank you for overcoming some of the unforeseen difficulties with our roof.

– J. Sacha, Bodicote