Solar Panels FAQ

Solar panels work with iridescent light so even though bright, direct sunlight is ideal for the best performance of the panels, the vastly improved level of technology of modern panels mean that depending on the quality of the solar panels you install and the efficiency of the inverter, you will be able to generate electricity even at times of cloud cover. You may not see direct sunlight on many days, but solar light is around us all day. Plants need solar energy to grow, which is why you see grass, flowers and weeds growing in your garden even when you don’t see the direct sunshine.

Cut your electricity bills:
Sunlight is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation your electricity costs will be reduced.

Store unused electricity in a Battery:
As the system generates power during daylight, there is the possibility that you may not use all the free electricity that you produce. However, by installing a battery storage system, you will be able to have access to electricity for use in the evening. Click here for more information on Batteries for Solar Panels

Sell electricity back to the grid:
If your system is producing more electricity than you need, or when you can’t use it, you can sell the surplus back to the grid. Click here for information about selling excess electricity to the grid

Cut your carbon footprint:
Solar electricity is green, renewables energy and doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide] or other pollutants. A typical home solar PV system could save over a tonne of carbon dioxide per year – that’s more than 30 tonnes over its lifetime.


Solar PV needs little maintenance; simply keep the panels relatively clean and make sure trees don’t begin to overshadow them. In the UK panels that are tilted at 15° or more have the additional benefit of being cleaned by rainfall to ensure optimal performance. Debris is more likely to accumulate if you have ground mounted panels; so if dust, debris, snow or bird droppings are a problem, they should be removed with warm water (and perhaps some washing-up liquid or something similar; the installer should advise you accordingly) and a brush or a high pressure hose (or telescopic cleaning pole). Alternatively, there are a number of specialist window cleaning companies who will clean solar PV panels for you at a cost depending on the size of your array and location. Many of these companies use a water fed pole system which does away with the need for a ladder. Once fitted, your installer should leave written details of any maintenance checks that you should carry out from time to time to ensure everything is working properly. This should include details of the main inverter fault signals and key trouble-shooting guidance. Your installer should demonstrate this to you at the point of handover. Keeping a close eye on your system and the amount of electricity it’s generating (alongside the weather conditions) will familiarise you with what to expect and alert you as to when something might be wrong. The panels should last 25 years or more, (there are solar panels still operational on satellites that were launched in the 1960’s) but it is possible that the inverter will need replacing at some point during this period.

Costs have fallen significantly since 2010 when the government launched the Feed-in Tariff and they vary between installers and products. Other factors that affect PV installation costs are:

  • The more electricity the system can generate, the more it costs but the more it could save.
  • Larger systems are usually more cost-effective than smaller systems (up to 4kWp).
  • Panels built into a roof are more expensive than those that sit on top.
  • The equipment and installation costs can vary enormously depending on the location of the property, the amount of work to be carried out, the quality of the material chosen, the Company chosen to do the work, the brands of the various pieces of equipment, where in the property the equipment will be installed and various other small but relevant factors. That is why the best way to get an accurate costing is to have a professional survey done.

Click here to get a free quotoation

PV cells are made from layers of semi-conducting material, usually silicon. When light shines on the cell it creates an electric field across the layers. The stronger the sunshine, the more electricity is produced. Groups of cells are mounted together in panels or modules that can be mounted on your roof.The power of a PV cell is measured in kilowatts peak (kWp). That’s the rate at which it generates energy at peak performance in full direct sunlight during the summer. PV cells come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most PV systems are made up of panels that fit on top of an existing roof, but you can also fit solar tiles. Click here for more information about how the system works


Most parts of a solar module can be recycled including up to 95% of certain semiconductor materials or the glass as well as large amounts of ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Some private companies and non-profit organizations are currently engaged in take-back and recycling operations for end-of-life modules. Recycling possibilities depend on the kind of technology used in the modules.

Silicon based modules:
Aluminium frames and junction boxes are dismantled manually at the beginning of the process. The module is then crushed in a mill and the different fractions are separated – glass, plastics and metals. It is possible to recover more than 80% of the incoming weight.
This process can be performed by flat glass recyclers since morphology and composition of a PV module is similar to those flat glasses used in the building and automotive industry. The recovered glass for example is readily accepted by the glass foam and glass insulation industry.

Non-silicon based modules:
These require specific recycling technologies such as the use of chemical baths in order to separate the different semiconductor materials. For cadmium telluride panels, the recycling process begins by crushing the module and subsequently separating the different fractions. This recycling process is designed to recover up to 90% of the glass and 95% of the semiconductor materials contained.
Some commercial-scale recycling facilities have been created in recent years by private companies. Since 2010, there is an annual European conference bringing together manufacturers, recyclers and researchers to look at the future of PV module recycling.

Solar trackers increase the amount of energy produced per panel at a cost of mechanical complexity and need for maintenance. They sense the direction of the Sun and tilt the panels as needed for maximum exposure to the light.

Fixed racks:
These hold panels stationary as the sun moves across the sky. The fixed rack sets the angle at which the panel is held. Tilt angles equivalent to an installation’s latitude are common. Most of these fixed racks are set on poles above ground.

Ground mounted:
Solar power systems consisting of solar panels are held in place by racks or frames that are attached to ground based mounting supports. Ground based mounting supports include:
Pole mounts: which are driven directly into the ground or embedded in concrete.
Foundation mounts: can be concrete slabs or poured footings. Ballasted footing mounts, such as concrete or steel bases that use weight to secure the solar panel system in position and do not require ground penetration. This type of mounting system is well suited for sites where excavation is not possible such as capped landfills and simplifies decommissioning or relocation of solar panel systems.

Roof mounted:
These solar power systems consist of solar panels held in place by racks or frames attached to roof based mounting supports. Roof based mounting supports include:
Pole mounts, which are attached directly to the roof structure and may use additional rails for attaching the panel racking or frames.
Ballasted footing mounts, such as concrete or steel bases that use weight to secure the panel system in position and do not require through penetration. This mounting method allows for decommissioning or relocation of solar panel systems with no adverse effect on the roof structure. All wiring connecting adjacent solar panels to the energy harvesting equipment must be installed according to local electrical codes and should be ran in a conduit appropriate for the climate conditions.

As with most world authorities the UK government are committed to fighting the problems of fossil fuels supplies running out and have set up a set of policies on the subject. Click here for more information on government policy.

Most residential PV modules have a weight of 40lbs though this varies slightly between manufacturers ranging between 33lbs to 50lbs. Installations for commercial arrays tend to use larger and thus heavier panels at over 50lbs.
The recommended total weight load of the average PV system, including the modules, mounting racks and other hardware components is from 3 to 4lbs per square foot.
Residential and commercial roofs are generally capable of bearing a weight of 20lbs per square foot.


A soft rag or brush and biodegradable soap are the recommended tools. Harsh materials should be avoided in order not to damage the panel which could incur an expensive repair. There are companies who provide this type of service in the same way as a window cleaning one. 

The warranty on solar panel performance is usually 25 years and the product warranty on the panel is typically 5 or 10 years plus the inverter warranty of 5 to 10 years, depending on the manufacturer.

Click here to go to the Guarantee/Warranty page

In the UK, South facing solar panels generate more than other orientations, however South East and South West facing would usually generate up to 94% of what would be expected from a south facing installation. An East/West facing roof can generate about 80% of the energy gained from a South facing one.

Solar panels can be fitted to most types of roofs provided the structure is sufficiently strong to hold the weight. That type of assessment is normally made by the technical team when they visit your property. However, installations on some types of roof may be more expensive than others, but the pricing of such would be part of the quotation process from the outset.

Click here to go to the roofs page

Having solar panels on your property will usually help to improve the energy rating shown on the EPC [ Energy Performance Certificate ]. Even though the actual figures would vary from property to property and also dependant on area, data suggests that energy-saving home improvements like adding solar panels could significantly increase the value of a property. Because of the reduced energy costs, buyers will usually pay a premium to own a home that already has solar panels installed.

Most insurers deem solar panels to be a permanent fixture of your home, form the fabric of the property, so your buildings insurance cover should be sufficient to replace any damaged or destroyed panels. You should check with your own insurer to determine if there are any variations on that.

All solar panels, regardless of style,shape,material or brand are built to withstand high winds. Generally they can deal with winds of 140mph or 2,400 pascals [the unit by which  solar panel wind resistance is measured] – that’s equivalent to a category 4 hurricane,  whose wind speeds range from 130/156 mph.



Batteries FAQ

The only factor that should determine whether or not you get a battery is the affordability of any initial up-front cost. Without a battery, your solar system will not be giving you the maximum benefits you could gain as explained in the pages of the website. If you would like to get more  detailed information about  how getting a battery would be an advantage to you, please contact us.

Click here to find out how having a battery would be an advantage to you

It is always better to have your battery installed at the same time as your solar panels system, however they can be retro-fitted if you already have your solar array in place.

Be aware that at the time of your enquiry, the vat situation may have changed regarding retro-fitted systems.

Click here to find out the current price and vat situation regarding batteries for solar systems

There are many manufacturers of batteries for solar panel systems and some of them are shown on the website. The battery you installed will be determined by the size of your solar system, your planned useage of power and a number of other factors. The best way to make your choice is after a full survey has been completed so that you can see the best options available.

Click here to find out the best battery for your needs

The physical dimensions of a battery will be determined by the required electrical capacity, so for instance the weight of one could vary from 25 to 329kg. Once the survey has been carried out, then more definitive details can be obtained. But it would be highly unusual for space inside or outside could not be found in which to locate the battery.
On average, many batteries are roughly the size of areoplane carry-on luggage and the modern ones are much lighter, so can be fitted almost anywhere including the loft. It is best placed as close as possible to the consumer unit, but anywhere like a cupboard, garage or utility room would be fine.

Click here to find out how having a battery would be an advantage to you