PV Solar FAQ’s

What is a PV solar panel?

A PV solar panel is a Photo Voltaic (PV) panel that uses sun light to produce electricity so that you can use this renewable energy to power your home appliances. It is often said that they only work on sunny days. This is not true as they will continue to produce electricity even on the cloudiest winter’s day, just with a lower output than on a bright summer day.

How much energy do PV solar panels produce?

This depends on the solar panels you go for as all panels differ. The ones we use range from 355kWh to 385kWh for each panel. An average house in the UK will get 6 PV solar panels on their roof, which would produce about 2,300kWh on a sunny day. The average UK electricity usage per household is 4,650kWh per year. Therefore, you will get about 50% of your home’s electrical needs from the panels.

What is an inverter?

An inverter changes the solar panels direct current produced by the suns energy into alternative current that can then be used in your home to power all your electrical appliances. We will design your system to have this in the most efficient or practical place in your home.

Where do inverters need to go?

Inverters work more efficiently in cooler environments, so we design them to be installed in utility rooms, garages, or under-stairs/basements areas. Some devices even work outside, so can be placed on external walls. If space is tight in your home, we can place them in the loft. However, as this will get very hot in the summer, it will reduce the efficiency of the inverter.

Do I need a South facing roof?

Yes. Is the basic answer. A South facing roof with a 40o pitch will get you a 100% efficient system. But even South East/West facing roofs at a 30o pitch will get you 90% efficiency. Roofs do not need to be exactly South facing and will work well with a 60O degree differential.

Will my PV solar panels work in the winter?

PV solar panels do not need sunny weather to produce electricity. Even on the cloudiest day, you will produce energy. However, the efficiency of the panels will be reduced. Shorter days and cloudy days will mean less electricity is produced. But you must remember that in Northern Europe we get much longer days in the summer.

How many PV solar panels can I get on my roof?

Meco Homes will survey your property to see if your home will be eligible for solar panels. East and West facing roofs, or roofs over hung by trees are not suitable for solar panels.

If you have south facing roofs, we can design a system that works for your home and energy requirements. We will measure your roof area to work out the number of panels you need to get the most efficient system. If you may have a large South facing roof but half of it is partially shaded by trees, you will only be able to use the other sunny half. Every property is different.

Is planning permission needed for solar panels?

Solar panels come under ‘permitted development’ so most properties do not need planning permission. However, if you live in a conservation area, an area of outstanding beauty, or a listed building you will have to apply for planning permission. Meco Homes will help you through the process if this is the case.

How long do PV solar panels last?

Solar panels do gradually degrade over time and lose some of their efficiency in creating electricity. Good PV manufacturers offer between 10–25-year warranties on the panels themselves. The panels will lose about 3-15% of their power generating capacity over a 25-year period.

I have heard that solar panels in shading do not work?

In the past ‘shading’ was a problem for solar panels. But now all good panels have diodes, and we install power optimisers to stop shading from being an issue.

How long will it take to pay back the cost of a PV solar install?

A correctly installed system will generate a return in investment of around 10%-15% per year. So, it will take approximately 10 years to pay off the investment. If you link the solar panels to a heat pump heating source you will see much bigger investment returns, depending on the peat pump size and heating requirement.

A 6kW heat pump needs 2.96kWh of electricity to run at maximum power. If you installed 3 solar panels on your roof which will produce 1.2kWh on a sunny day, that will mean the panels produce 40% of the heat pump’s electrical power needs.

Can I sell unused power back to the grid?

Yes. You can sell unused power back to the grid at 0.05p per kWh.

You will buy that energy back at 0.15kWh. So, if you have a larger system it’s better to also look into getting a storage battery to store the unused electricity you produce during the day to use in the evening when energy is at its most expensive.

Are there any Green Home Grants for PV solar systems?

No. There have not been any grants for solar installations since 2019.

What maintenance is required for my solar panels?

Solar panels are very low maintenance, but it is advisable to clean them once a year with soapy water to maintain performance and to check that all PV panels are still securely fixed to their fittings. Also, check that no rodents have nibbled a cable or two.

Do you want more information on PV solar?

Find out more about our PV solar services.