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Preparing for a Solar Panel Installation

Updated December 2016: With good preparation, a capable installer and with all the facts in hand, installing a solar panel system can be an enjoyable and very rewarding experience. As with any construction project the success and efficiency of a solar PV panel installation comes down to good planning. Some advice for potential system owners preparing for a new solar panel installation is below:

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Energy Performance Certificates & Solar Panel Installations
Energy Performance Certificates: An EPC cetificate must be provided with a Feed in Tariff (FIT) application. A grade 'D' or higher energy performance rating of your home or commercial building will mean that your system can achieve the highest Feed in Tariff (FIT) rate. It pays to know what EPC rating your property will achieve before commissioning a system. Many energy efficiency improvements are comparatively low cost and easy to install. Carrying out the neccessary improvements before installing the solar panels, achieving a 'D' rating or above and then qualifying for the highest FIT rate will usually more than pay you back for the initial improvements.
Roof Mounted Solar PV Panel Installation

Connecting to the National Grid: Single phase solar PV systems under 3.68kWp in size (approx 16-20 panels) and three phase systems under 11kWp (40-60 solar panels) do not usually require advanced permission from the Distribution Network Operator (the power company which maintains the local mains power network) before connecting the solar PV system to the National Grid.

Systems bigger in size and multiple installations as may be the case with new builds will require permission from the DNO before systems can be connected. If prior approval is required, grid connection applications can take upwards of 65 days so the sooner the grid connection application is made in the planning & design process the better.

Solar PV Mains Connection
Mains Electricity Suppliers: Installing a solar PV system and becoming an electricity generator will change the amount of mains electricity that you need to buy and the times you need to buy it. To avoid delays and complications, if it's found to be of benefit to change suppliers it is a good idea to change before the solar PV system is installed. Taking into account your new energy usage profile and the terms and conditions of a new supplers Feed in Tariff agreement.
Ground Mounted Commercial Solar PV Panel Mounting System
Planning Permission: Planning permission is sometimes required when installing larger systems or installing solar panels in sensitive areas such as within conservation areas. Gaining planning permission can be a lengthy process so it is advisable to find out any special requirements beforehand and make a pre-planning enquiry with the local authority early in the design & planning stage. More information about Planning Permission requirements for Solar Panels can be found here: Planning Permission for Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems.
Commercial Flat Roof Solar PV Panel Installation
Building Regulations & Structures: For safety and to maintain the structural integrity of the building; solar panel installations needs to be installed in compliance with the building regulations, see building regulations for solar panels. It is also worth bearing in mind that solar panel systems can operate for a very long time (40 years plus). It is sensible to make sure that underlying structures such as roofing supports, roofing materials and any other support structures will also last for the lifetime of the solar PV system. This will avoid what could later prove to be costly and complicated repairs further down the line.
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Free Solar Panel Quote & System Design Service

Now you know what's possible, why not use our free quote and system design service and generate a bespoke solar panel system design and quotation?

Quotations and System Designs are provided Free of charge based on aerial photography and the information that you provide.

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