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Solar PV FAQs

Frequently asked questions about Solar Photovoltaic Systems

Q How much can I save with a Solar PV system installed at my home?

A The amount you can save very much depends on the size of the system you install and on certain other factors such as the way your roof is facing and the manner in which you consume your electricity.  As a guide a 3.68kw system will generate approximately £748 in the first year in a mixture of savings and payments through the feed in tariff scheme.


Q How much can I earn from the system?

A Again this depends on the size of the system you choose to install and the orientation and pitch of your roof.  As a guide a typical 3.68kw system will earn the user approximately £487 through the feed in tariff payments.  (Based upon using 50% of the electricity generated) Plus an additional £71 in export payments in the first year.  It is also worth noting that in addition to this the system would also generate £205 worth of free electricity.


Q What is an "FIT" payment?

A FIT stands for "feed in tariff".  When you install a solar PV system with an authorised MCS installer you are eligible to receive the FIT payment.  At present the feed in tariff pays up to 14.90p for each unit of electricity you generate, even if this electricity is used by you in your own home.  In addition to receiving a payment for generating electricity you are also paid for excess energy you then export to the national grid, this is currently 4.64p per unit.  It is very important to note that these payments are index linked and rise each year in line with the retail price index (RPI) and that you are eligible to receive these payments for 20 years.


Q Do I need planning permission?

A In most cases planning permission is not required.  Planning permission may be required in cases where the property is in a conservation area or when the property is a listed building.  On a normal domestic property planning permission is not required provided the solar panels do not extend beyond 200mm of the roof.  All of Newleaf energies solar PV installations are within the 200mm regulations.


Q Is it safe?

A Newleaf energy are MCS registered Solar PV installers and as such comply with all regulations regarding industry standards, using fully certified electricians and installers, to be eligible for the FIT payment you must use a registered MCS installer.


Q How long will the system take to pay for itself?

A This again depends on the size of system and the pitch and orientation of your roof, typically a 3.68kw system will pay for itself in 6.6 years and continue to be eligible for the FIT payment for 20 years.


Q How long will the system last?

A The Solar PV panels are guaranteed for 25 years and the inverter which converts the supply from AC to DC is guaranteed for 5 years.  The system is guaranteed to work at a minimum of 80% efficiency 25 years after installation.


Q How long does it take to have a solar PV system installed?

A Although each property is different and each design for solar PV varies it usually requires 3 days from beginning to end.  The first day will see the scaffold installed and the site made safe for installation by the fitters.  The second day will see the system installed and the electrician turn the system on.  The scaffold will then be removed as soon as possible.  Backlogs may occur due to poor weather and can mean a delay in removing the scaffolding, we aim to have it removed within 3 days.


Q Is my house facing the right way for a solar PV installation?

A Many people believe their home is only suitable for a solar PV installation if they have a south facing roof, although this is ideal homes that face other directions can still benefit greatly from a solar PV system.The direction your home faces will determine how much sunlight it gets throughout the day.  The closer this is to south the better, so panels mounted on a roof facing south, south west or south east will perform the best.  But many people are surprised to learn that panels facing east or west only lose about 15% of the output they had achieve if they faced due south.


Q Will the fitting of Solar PV affect my home insurance?

A The fitting of a Solar PV system is an improvement to your home and although a structural engineer will confirm your roof is able to support your chosen system safely you should still inform your insurance company.