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General Solar Questions

PV is an acronym for Photo (light) Voltaic (Electric). Solar PV panels transform light into electricity, and it’s worth emphasizing that this refers to any form of light, not exclusively sunlight. These panels maintain their electricity generation even on overcast days; however, it’s important to note that their output increases with the intensity of the light.

Commercial SOlar Questions

The benefits of installing solar panels on your roof affect more than just the balance sheet, they showcase your values and commitments as a business too! The obvious effects are a reduced energy bills and reliance on the grid. This keeps your energy costs more stable and less expensive meaning you are less effected than short term energy price swings. No longer will you need to rely on the central creation of electricity by large corporations. The sun’s energy is freely available and is yours to harness.

Businesses can reap numerous benefits from adopting solar panels. To provide a more detailed perspective, the key advantages encompass:

Significant Cost Reduction:

By harnessing clean, free energy during daylight hours, businesses can decrease their reliance on the National Grid, which is under mounting pressure to meet the UK’s energy demand. While the exact savings may fluctuate over time, many businesses have managed to halve their energy expenses.

Financial Stability and Energy Security/Flexibility:

The continuous rise in energy prices poses a future cost burden for businesses. However, by sourcing energy from commercial solar panels, businesses effectively secure their electricity at a fixed cost. This shields them from market price fluctuations and regulatory changes, facilitating more reliable financial forecasting. Furthermore, solar panels offer the flexibility to use, sell, or store generated energy for future use.

Substantial Reduction in Carbon Footprint:

As modern businesses witness an increasing demand for energy due to digitalization and automation, reducing their carbon footprint becomes a paramount concern. Commercial solar panels offer an effective solution by significantly decreasing a business’s carbon emissions. This aligns with sustainable business strategies, supporting environmental responsibility.

Enhanced Public Image through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR):

Amid a growing global focus on environmental issues, businesses bear a heightened responsibility to minimize their ecological impact, a concept known as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Present-day environmentally-conscious consumers gravitate towards businesses that demonstrate a commitment to eco-friendly initiatives. Implementing commercial solar panels to generate energy serves as a visible testament to this dedication, potentially leading to increased lead generation and greater sales for businesses.

In summary, the advantages of adopting solar panels for businesses are abundant, ranging from cost savings and financial stability to environmental responsibility and improved public perception through CSR initiatives.

There is not a one size fits all solution for installing solar panels on your roof, it’s necessary “the more panels the better”. The systems balance your business needs with various components such as solar panels, batteries and solar arrays. 

There are some key questions to be asked in order to determine the size. 

  1. Do you use more energy at night or the day? 
  2. How much energy do you currently use? Is this likely to increase or decrease in the future? 
  3. Do you have a tax liability that can be impacted by solar incentives?
  4. What are are energy saving goals? 

The cost of installing commercial solar panels varies based on factors like project size and location. As a general guideline, if you’re making an upfront payment for your commercial solar panels, a small system typically requires an investment of around £10,000.

This cost encompasses:

  1. Supply and installation of your solar panels
  2. Inverter and isolators
  3. Cabling
  4. Testing and certification
  5. Administrative expenses, including regulatory registration and supplier engagement

If this initial investment is not within your means, there’s no need for concern. There are numerous financing options available for commercial solar panels.

For instance, you might qualify for a power purchase agreement, where solar panels are installed on your premises’ roof at no upfront cost to your business. The electricity generated is then purchased from the funder at a significantly reduced rate compared to standard suppliers. This approach can result in substantial savings for your business while benefiting the funder as well, creating a win-win scenario.

At times, though not always, planning permission used to be a mandatory requirement. However, in the present day, it is typically not necessary for installing solar PV systems on non-residential structures, which include business premises and community buildings. Small ground-mounted systems can also be erected without the need for planning permission under the category of ‘permitted development’.

To qualify for this exemption, several conditions must be met:

Roof-mounted solar installations should not protrude more than 200mm from the roof’s surface. For flat-roof installations, the solar panels must remain below 1m above the highest point of the roof.

Roof-mounted installations must also maintain a distance of at least 1m from the roof or wall junction and must not extend beyond the roof’s edge.

In specially-designated areas like Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), solar panels are not allowed on the road-facing wall or roof slope.

Commercial solar panels should be positioned in a way that minimizes their impact on the building’s appearance and the surrounding area.

Any unused materials or equipment from the solar panel construction or operation should be promptly removed.

Planning permission will be required if you plan to install solar panels on sites of historical significance, such as listed buildings, ancient monuments, or world heritage sites. We are always available at Low Carbon Energy to provide guidance on planning requirements for installations, regardless of their size or scope.

Commercial solar panels’ ability to convert sunlight into energy is quantified in percentages. When we consider that the sun produces 100% energy, solar panels typically convert around 15% to 22% of that energy into usable power. While this percentage might seem modest, it has a significant impact and can result in substantial savings.

Factors Influencing the Efficiency of Commercial Solar Panels

The efficiency of solar panels stands as a critical performance metric. Consequently, all solar panels available in the UK undergo rigorous testing before they are introduced to the market. These tests are conducted in carefully controlled conditions to assess their capability to withstand:

  • Wind
  • Hail
  • Snow and ice
  • Chemical residue
  • UV degradation
  • Rain and humidity
  • Insulation resistance
  • Thermal cycling

It’s worth noting that all the commercial solar panels we offer at Low Carbon Energy adhere to stringent manufacturing standards. Additionally, we provide an ongoing planned maintenance program to ensure that your panels consistently deliver optimal efficiency and performance.

When you invest in a commercial solar panel system, the primary components you’re paying for include the panels, the inverters and batteries. 

A rough estimation of the installation expenses can be made by multiplying £0.2p by the total watts required for your installation. For instance, a 10kW system would amount to approximately £2000 (excluding VAT). On the other hand, larger commercial systems, like the majority we install at Bee Eco, demand a more substantial initial investment to yield significant long-term benefits.

The reassuring aspect is that once the initial installation costs are covered, there are minimal additional expenses to contend with, as solar panels inherently require very little maintenance.

Maintaining solar panels comes at a minimal cost, typically ranging from £100 to £200 for an annual service. The precise expense hinges on the scale of your installation.

On the other hand, reactive service calls for repairing solar panels can incur significantly higher charges. This underscores why we consistently advise the adoption of a preventive maintenance plan for solar panel installations, rather than solely relying on summoning an engineer when issues arise. Preventive maintenance offers long-term value and affords you peace of mind.

In most cases, solar panels primarily require light cleaning to eliminate dust and debris, ensuring they sustain peak efficiency. For larger commercial solar panel setups, this task isn’t suitable for DIY endeavors. Inexperienced individuals may inadvertently damage panels, especially without the appropriate knowledge and tools. 

A typical commercial solar panel has a lifespan of at least 25 years, with many extending beyond 30 years. You can count on these panels to contribute to reducing your energy costs and carbon footprint over several decades. It’s important to note that their performance doesn’t abruptly cease after this period; rather, this marks the duration during which they operate at their highest efficiency.

Although this statement might have held some validity during the initial phases of solar energy adoption, recent years have witnessed a relative stability in solar prices. Solar panel performance has reached a level of efficiency where future enhancements are anticipated to be more gradual.

It’s crucial to bear in mind that pricing and efficiency constitute just one facet of the solar investment equation. Presently, there exist advantageous federal solar incentives that are slated to experience significant reductions over the next two years. When factoring in the rising utility costs, the pertinent question becomes: How much potential financial loss might your company incur while awaiting minor improvements in pricing and efficiency?

Solar panels can be installed on virtually any building, provided that the roof is structurally sound and offers adequate space for panels and mounting equipment. In cases where smaller structures have limited rooftop space, ground-mounted systems or solar carports present viable alternatives. Ownership of the building is a prerequisite; however, if you are leasing the facility, the installation would necessitate approval from the building owner.

There are three primary approaches for funding a commercial solar system, and you can choose one or a combination of these options: cash payment, loans, or a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) or Solar Service Agreement (SSA). Whenever feasible, we highly recommend opting for a cash purchase, as it provides the most favorable returns, streamlines ownership, and maximizes solar tax incentives.

Following cash purchase, low-interest loans or lines of credit represent the next most advantageous option in terms of return on investment for your solar project. We recommend financing only the portion of the net cost that remains after accounting for incentives to optimize your payback period.

In certain states, Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), also referred to as Solar Service Agreements, are a prevalent method for financing solar installations at commercial and institutional sites. Sun Valley Solar Solutions exclusively offers PPA programs designed for qualified 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, municipalities, and schools.

Numerous panel options are available for your company to select from, and it’s essential to weigh various factors when determining the most suitable choice. Key considerations include panel size, price, wattage, warranty, durability, and the stability of the manufacturer.

Lower wattage panels typically come at a more budget-friendly price. Therefore, if you have ample roof space available, you might discover that opting for a greater quantity of lower-wattage panels strikes an ideal balance between cost and return on investment. Conversely, if your building has limited roof space, selecting higher wattage panels can generate more energy while occupying a smaller footprint.

A proficient commercial solar consultant can thoroughly examine the diverse pricing options and savings scenarios, providing valuable insights to help you make an informed decision.

At Bee Eco, we take a comprehensive approach to solar panel solutions, encompassing design, installation, and maintenance to cater to your unique requirements. Our expert team of solar architects ensures that your system is optimized for maximum efficiency. Whether it’s integrating batteries for energy storage or connecting your PV system to the grid, we’ve got you covered.

Our commitment to sustainable energy solutions and cutting-edge technology guarantees that you’ll enjoy reliable, eco-friendly power generation for years to come. Trust Bee Eco to bring your solar vision to life, delivering tailor-made solutions that empower you and the environment.

The foremost step in any solar venture is the selection of a reputable partner. As evidenced by this FAQ, numerous factors can influence the success of a commercial solar project. A trustworthy solar installer possesses the expertise to navigate these variables, guiding you toward a tailored system that aligns with your project goals.

Upon deciding to embrace solar energy, the process is typically divided into four phases. Timelines may fluctuate based on project complexity and seasonal workload:

Due Diligence – This initial phase, aimed at ensuring a seamless construction process, involves a comprehensive assessment of the proposed site, encompassing utility interconnections. It also includes a legal review of title reports and pertinent records.

Engineering and Design – The conceptual plans are refined into formal design drawings, which are then submitted for permits and approvals. Upon approval, these drawings become final, marking the commencement of construction.

Construction & Commissioning – Construction typically spans 5-12 weeks, although more intricate projects may require additional time. Careful planning minimizes disruptions to your business operations. Once the utility confirms that the system aligns with the plan and operates within specified parameters, a permission to operate (PTO) is granted.

Operations & Maintenance – In this final phase, any maintenance and operational parameters established during the planning stage are put into practice. An effective operations and maintenance plan ensures the longevity and peak performance of your solar system.

No, solar panels are integrated with the utility grid and will not operate if the grid is down. The reasons for this are both technical and regulatory.

From a technical perspective, as long as the sun is shining overhead, solar panels will generate power regardless of how much electricity your operation is actually consuming. In a grid-connected system, excess solar power is sent back into the grid for a credit, and any additional power you need beyond what your panels are producing is pulled from the grid. It’s a constant push/pull. Commercial solar aims to significantly reduce the amount of energy you need to purchase during the day, and in doing so, reduce operating expenses through a levelized cost of energy.

Safety regulations are the second reason. During outages, repair crews could be jeopardized if there is a local power generator (like a solar array) leaking power back into the grid lines. For this reason, utility rules mandate that solar arrays must automatically shut down during outages.

Residential Solar Questions

Inverters change the DC current from the panels to AC current needed for your home and the grid. It’s essential the correct type of inverter is used and that they’re located in the right place. Many installers always put them in the loft, but this can be detrimental to your system. Naked Solar are meticulous about inverter choice and placement.

Your inverter monitors grid voltage and ensures that it is putting the power from your inverter into your system at a slightly higher voltage than the grid. Voltage is best thought of as pressure, the force behind the electric. If the inverter produces a higher voltage when you switch an electrical appliance on it will naturally use the power from the panels first.

Typically an unshaded south-facing roof in the UK equipped with a 4kWp system can produce more than 4000 units (kWh) of electricity annually. Even if your roof faces East or West, you can still anticipate generating around 3400 units (kWh) each year. This advantageous situation is owing to the fact that the average UK household consumes approximately 3200 units (kWh) annually. Your PV system’s impact on your electricity bills depends on the timing and manner of your electricity usage. With some insights into your usage patterns and habits.

You will continue to access electricity from the grid as usual. It’s important to note that electricity generation from your solar panels is not contingent on sunny weather; it functions regardless of the weather conditions.

No longer necessary. Since the discontinuation of the Feed-in Tariff, properties with solar PV installations are no longer required to possess an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Solar PV owners can now receive payment for the electricity they export to the grid from their energy supplier, and this no longer hinges on having an EPC

Technological advancements in solar energy primarily focus on exploring alternative materials, such as integrating PV technology into glass. However, these developments are not centered on enhancing efficiency and are less likely to gain widespread acceptance. The core technology employed in contemporary Solar PV panels remains essentially unchanged from what powered certain satellites during the early 1970s. While there have been minor incremental improvements, significant transformative changes are not anticipated at this juncture.

Shading has the potential to diminish the power output of solar panels, affecting not only the shaded panel but also any panels directly linked to it. Bee Eco employs advanced 3D modeling software, to precisely determine the extent of shading’s impact. In cases of severe shading, such as a chimney obstructing the panels directly (referred to as Hard Shading), there may be long-term damage to consider. Naked Solar is well-equipped to offer expert guidance on the optimal panel installation locations for your specific situation.

Monocrystalline panels offer higher power output per square meter. However, it’s important to note that this does not necessarily imply superiority over high-quality polycrystalline panels. The quality of a panel is influenced by numerous factors, with efficiency being just one of them. Efficiency becomes a critical consideration primarily when space for installation is limited.

Inverters are electronic devices that operate optimally when kept in cooler environments. Our typical recommendation is to install them in places like a garage, utility room, or, in some cases, outdoors. Conversely, we strongly discourage installing inverters in the loft. Lofts tend to become excessively hot, particularly on days when the inverter is working hardest. This elevated temperature can result in reduced inverter output and accelerated wear and tear on its components.

We acknowledge that loft installations are more convenient and expedient, and they might involve slightly shorter cable runs, which can seem advantageous. However, this trade-off is not favorable because the extra loss due to longer cables is outweighed by the increased energy production and lifespan of the inverter when it is installed in a more suitable location.

Additionally, having the inverter in a visible location allows you to monitor your system’s performance easily. Inverters feature displays that provide insights into the system’s smooth operation. If the display is situated in the loft, any issues may go unnoticed until you retrieve your Christmas decorations, which is far from ideal.

In most instances, no planning permission is needed for domestic solar panel installations. These installations fall under the category of ‘permitted developments.’ However, there are exceptions:

If you reside in a listed building.
If your home is situated in a conservation area or an area of outstanding natural beauty. (Note that panels are generally permitted in conservation areas, provided they are not installed on a wall or roof that faces a primary highway).
If the solar panels project more than 200mm from the roof. It’s worth noting that our installations always adhere to this limit.
If you are planning a ground-mounted array.
If you have uncertainties regarding permitted developments, you can consult the Government’s planning portal or request a callback for free advice from our team.

Solar panels function effectively on roofs oriented towards the South, Southeast (SE), or Southwest (SW). While solar panels positioned facing directly South will yield the highest performance and generate more electricity, those facing due East or West will still perform at approximately 86% of the efficiency achieved by South-facing panels.

Solar panels can be installed either on your roof or on your property’s land. Typically, we recommend an 8-panel Solar PV system as one of the smallest configurations, which conveniently fits on the roof of an average 3-bedroom semi-detached house. Our popular SunPower panels are particularly efficient, generating a substantial amount of electricity even on smaller roof surfaces.

When selecting your panels, the decision typically involves a blend of factors such as aesthetics, cost-effectiveness, performance, historical performance, and warranty coverage. Our experienced engineers are well-versed in the solar panel market and can provide expert guidance on choosing panels that align with your specific requirements.

Your solar panels will include a manufacturer’s warranty regarding their performance. Various manufacturers offer distinct warranty terms, typically with premium levels of protection linked to the higher-priced panels. It is advisable to thoroughly comprehend the warranty terms before making your purchase.

Solar panels are typically self-cleaning when positioned at an angle exceeding 15 degrees. Nevertheless, it is recommended to conduct an annual visual inspection and perform a rinse if needed. Many window-cleaning companies possess reach-and-wash systems and should be equipped to clean your panels when necessary.

It is advisable to have your solar panels inspected and serviced every two years. We provide a standard service and maintenance package, and you can seek guidance on this from your local office.

The probability of solar panels dislodging after installation is exceedingly low. We ensure secure attachment to the building structure using a roof hook and rail system during the installation process. Additionally, our panels are consistently positioned at a minimum distance of 30cm from the roof’s edge to mitigate excessive wind loading. Notably, during the hurricane force winds of February 2014, not a single solar panel installed by EnergyMyWay became dislodged from any roof.

The electricity generated by your solar panels undergoes a conversion process within the inverter, transforming it from DC (direct current) to AC (alternating current), which is the standard electrical current used in your home. Subsequently, this AC electricity is transferred from the inverter through an AC cable to your distribution board, where it is distributed to power the various circuits within your home.

Solar PV panels alone cannot provide electricity round the clock since they exclusively generate power during daylight hours. Achieving 24/7 electrical supply would necessitate the inclusion of supplementary energy sources or the implementation of a battery system in conjunction with Solar PV panels to enable a transition away from reliance on the grid.

To receive compensation for any surplus electricity you produce, it is essential to possess a smart meter. Many electricity providers offer complimentary installation of smart meters for their customers who do not currently have one.

Eco 4 Questions

ECO4 represents the fourth stage of the Energy Company Obligation initiated by the Government. This phase commenced in August 2022 and is slated to run until March 31, 2026.

The primary objective of the ECO4 Scheme is to furnish energy-efficient enhancements, at no cost, to vulnerable households. These measures are intended to enhance both the energy efficiency and heating capabilities of these homes.

To be eligible, the individual residing at the address where the work will take place must satisfy the ECO criteria established by Ofgem. For ECO4, this entails meeting one of the following qualification criteria:

  1. Receiving Income based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA),
  2. Receiving Income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA),
  3. Receiving Income Support (IS),
  4. Receiving Pension Credit Guarantee Credit (PCGC),
  5. Receiving Working Tax Credit (WTC),
  6. Receiving Child Tax Credit (CTC),
  7. Receiving Universal Credit (UC),
  8. Receiving Housing Benefit,
  9. Receiving Pension Credit Savings Credit (PCSC),
  10. Receiving Child Benefit

It’s easy – just visit: https://www.gov.uk/find-energy-certificate 

The ECO scheme should not be regarded as a grant program. Payments are remitted directly to the installer, contingent upon the completion of work in your residence. EDF exclusively collaborates with installers who adhere to the government’s accreditation criteria.

Consequently, all work undertaken is held to rigorous standards, ensuring that the enhancements contribute to the long-term efficiency of your home.