Tim Higgins Solar PV Advice

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Cambridgeshire Solar Panels

Solar Panel Information

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Solar Energy Surveyor

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Practical Considerations
Is Your Property Suitable
In order to fit Solar Panels a roof needs to be in good condition and of a reasonable size facing South, East or West . A south facing roof  provides the best returns.  Alternatively panels can be installed on a flat roof or as ground based installation.
An initial survey will be required to measure and record the following:
Roof Size, Orientation, pitch and to look at any potential shading issues from trees or nearby structures.
The surveyor will need some information from your electricity bill in order to be able to calculate potential electricity savings.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
In order to benefit from the full generation tariff a property must have an EPC certificate rated in Band D or above at the time the Solar System is registered with the Electricity company. If a certificate is not already in existence then the Solar Panel Installer should be able to arrange to issue one.
The EPC rating will depend on a number of factors including the level of insulation, the efficiency of the heating systems, and if double glazing is fitted etc. The government have introduced this as they wish to reduce energy wastage before offering an incentive for electricity generation. Many houses will already be in band D or above and the installation of a Solar System will itself add to the rating.
Should  level D not be attainable with a Solar system fitted  the Energy Assessor will be able to advise on the necessary work that would need to be carried out in order to qualify for the full FIT.

If your property has an Energy Performance Certificate a copy should be available on the EPC Register website: www.epcregister.com.
Planning Permission
For domestic Installations planning permission is not normally required as long as the property is not a listed building, in an area of natural beauty or in a conservation area.  The owner should check with the local authority if in doubt.
Choosing an Installation Company
Some points you may wish to consider:
Does the Installation company do their own installations or do they pass the work on to another party. The company should be accredited by the Micro-generation Certificate scheme (MCS). You can check by following the link below: http://www.microgenerationcertification.org.
Is the Company a member of the REAL Assurance Scheme governing the code of conduct with their customers. You can check from the link below: http://www.realassurance.org.uk.
What Guarantee is being offered with the system. For example a 10 year insurance backed guarantee from IWA see link below: http://www.iwa.biz.
How much deposit is required, up to 25% is normal.
Has the company calculated the number of Kilowatt hours per year that your system is likely to generate based on the Government Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP Calc). This should be fully explained to you. Have they shown you the typical financial returns from the proposed system.
What make of panels and inverter are being offered to you, has a data sheet been provided. Are the panels Mono crystalline or Polycrystalline. What is the efficiency of the inverter.
How will the panels be mounted to the roof, are the brackets screwed to the rafters or simply hooked over the battens.
What are the timescales for the work,
You are entitled to a 7 working day cooling off period after signing the contract. There will be a more detailed second survey and a visit from an Energy Assessor to provide an EPC certificate if required. The installation date will then be agreed with you. You should allow for scaffolding to be put up before and taken down after the installation of the panels. The work is usually completed in one day but if the weather is poor or where the installation is on more than one roof it may take longer.