Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Panels

With more homeowners choosing to generate their own solar energy than ever before, solar has emerged as the most popular renewable energy source.

Before investing in solar panels, many people have a number of questions that need to be addressed. In order to assist you in determining whether solar is the best source of renewable energy for your home, we have addressed frequently asked questions about solar panels, ranging from how much solar panels cost to how well the technology performs on a gloomy day.

What is solar electricity?

Electricity produced using solar photovoltaic (PV) technology is also known as solar electricity. Solar Panels are used to collect the sun’s free, renewable energy and convert it to electricity.

How do Solar Panels work?

A solar PV panel is made up of several cells, which are composed of layers of silicon or another semi-conducting material. This substance conducts electricity when exposed to light.

The cells can function even on cloudy days without the need for direct sunlight. However, power production increases with solar intensity.

Each solar panel in a solar PV system produces about 355W of energy in conditions of intense sunlight. Typical systems produce direct current (DC) electricity and include about 15 panels. An inverter is integrated with the system to convert DC electricity to AC because domestic equipment needs alternating current (AC). You can utilise this electricity within your house or export it to the grid.

How many solar panels will my home need?

Your solar panels will be able to provide more electricity for your home the more you have installed. Your energy usage, the number of occupants in your home, and the size of your property will determine how many solar panels you need. A 4kW system can meet higher demand, but that would require 25+ square metres of space on your roof. Smaller homes might need a 1kW system, which requires roof space for 8+ square metres of solar panels.

Solar system sizeRoof space needed (in square meters)
1kW 8+

Do I have enough space for Solar Panels?

Space is an important factor. The standard system size is about 4.2kWp, which normally occupies about 25m2 of roof space.

The best roof is one that faces south and is not shaded for maximum power production. North-facing roofs are not advised, although east or west-facing roofs could still be taken into consideration. Around 15–20% less energy will be produced by a system facing East or West than by one looking directly south.

Shaded roofs

Any neighbouring structures, trees, or chimneys may shade your roof and harm the efficiency of your system.

Finding a position without any shade is ideal, although it’s not always possible to do so. Utilizing “optimisers,” certain solar PV systems may reduce the effects of shade. Other than the increased monitoring options they provide, using optimisers is neither necessary nor advantageous if you don’t have shading because they don’t produce more energy.

Do I need permission to install a solar PV system?

As “permitted developments,” solar PV systems frequently don’t need planning approval. However, there are exceptions, so it’s advisable to seek advice from your neighbourhood planning office. Additional limitations can be in place if you reside in a listed structure, conservation area, or national park.

You must register your solar PV system with your distribution network operator if you intend to install one in your house (DNO). The DNO is the organisation in charge of supplying power to your house. The device will typically be registered for you by your installer.

How much do Solar Panels cost?

It is difficult to estimate a precise cost because it depends on a number of parameters, such as the number of panels required, but overall, solar panels are about 70% less expensive than they were in 2010.

To meet their energy needs, the majority of households will require 12–16 panels. A 3kWh system of 12 solar panels is required for the typical home of 3 people, costing between £5,000 and £6,000 in total. A solar system will typically cost between £2,000 to £9,000 for smaller homes and up to £15,000 for larger ones.

Check out our 6 reasons why you should install Solar Panels

What is a solar battery?

Solar panels typically produce more energy than is needed at any given moment for home use. You are losing out on energy produced by your solar panels since all the extra energy is transmitted to the electrical grid. The unused energy from your solar PV system can be stored in a solar battery so that you can use it at night when your solar panels aren’t producing any power.

What advantages can solar battery storage offer?

Here are the top three reasons for investing in a solar battery for your home

Lower your electricity costs

Using energy wisely could enable you to save money. If you’re on a time-of-use tariff like Economy 7, you can be charging your battery on inexpensive nighttime electricity and utilising it during expensive hours.

Earn money for the energy you don’t use

New Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) tariffs may compensate you for any extra renewable electricity you create and export to the grid if you plan to install solar panels and a solar battery.

Reduce your carbon footprint

You may contribute to a Net Zero future by adding energy storage since you produce and use renewable energy.

What to know before installing a home battery storage system

Here is a list of factors to take into account when purchasing a solar battery for your home.

Make sure you’re producing adequate electricity

If you want to see if a solar PV system would be beneficial for your home, use this helpful calculator.

In search of backup during power outages?

Confirm that the solar PV/battery system you are considering functions during a power outage because not all of them do.

Aim to make your house as energy-efficient as you can

To make the most of your energy, consider draught-proofing, insulation, energy-efficient lighting, and a smart thermostat, among other things.

Get a free no obligation Solar Panels Installation quote

Can I really charge an electric car for free using solar energy?

The largest advantage of having an electric car, or considering getting one, is probably the ability to charge it for nothing, which lowers your fuel expenses and environmental effect. It’s important to let your installer know if you intend to use solar energy to power your home and electric vehicle, which would necessitate a larger solar PV installation.

Check out our guide Can you charge your electric car with solar energy

Do solar panels still work on cloudy days?

Definitely! Solar PV panels are able to produce energy because of solar radiation, not temperature, heat, or direct sunshine. Solar panels will undoubtedly collect more energy in hot, sunny nations, but don’t be deceived into thinking that they won’t function properly in the UK. They can still produce power in cloudy conditions because they don’t require continuous direct sunlight to function. Don’t forget that Germany, which is not exactly famed for its profusion of sunshine, is currently the world leader in the production of solar energy.

What is the Feed-in Tariff?

The Feed-in Tariff, a programme the government launched to compensate people who produced their own electricity using solar panels with payments spanning 20–25 years, came to an end in March 2019. Kilowatt-hour (kWh) rates were initially established at 43.3p, however, these were subsequently cut to 3.47p, and the programme stopped accepting new applications in March 2019.

Get a free no obligation Solar Panels Installation quote

Has the Feed-in-Tariff been replaced?

The Smart Export Guarantee has taken the position of the Feed-in Tariff, which expired in 2019. Through the SEG, an electrical supplier may pay homeowners who generate sustainable solar energy. The tariff is based on each unit of electricity supplied to the National Grid.

Read more about the Smart Export Guarantee