Although Peterborough may not be the sunniest of locations, solar panel installation can still be a great way to save money and reduce your carbon footprint.
Installing solar panels can be quite a daunting task and I’m sure there are many questions you want to ask. There are probably many questions you didn’t even know you should be asking too. In this guide I will go through some of the most important and frequently asked questions about solar installation in Peterborough from the benefits and costs of solar installation to the installation process itself and maintenance.
Solar Panel Installers in Peterborough
There are various solar panel installers located in around Peterborough. Head over to Solar Guide to compare the different installers. It’s a good idea to get quotes from multiple installers before going ahead with installation.
Benefits of Solar Energy
There are two main benefits to installing solar panels:
Reduce your energy bills – Although the government’s ‘Feed-in Tariffs’ scheme no longer accepts new applicants, there is still a financial incentive to installing solar panels. Over the past few years, the cost of solar panel installation has dropped dramatically whilst energy prices are on the increase.
Reduce your carbon footprint – Climate change is becoming and increasing concern and solar panels are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.
Who Will Benefit the Most From Solar Panels?
Almost anyone who installs solar panels will benefit in the long run. Those who spend a lot of time at home and consume a lot of energy will see the greatest benefits.
There is also a small difference in the effectiveness of solar panels depending on where you are in the UK. Solar panels installed in the south of England will produce more energy than those installed in the north of England or Scotland. Since Peterborough is located near the middle of England, the effectiveness of solar panels installed here will be about average in comparison with the rest of the UK.
Can I Get Free Solar Panels in Peterborough?
Although there was a free solar panel scheme in Peterborough, it seems that this scheme is no longer open to new applicants. It is still worth checking with your local council as they may have information on any upcoming schemes for free solar panels or financial incentives.
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Peterborough?
Solar panel installation costs about the same across the UK so living in Peterborough won’t really have an impact on the price. The cost of solar panel installation will primarily depend on the size of the system being installed. The table below should give you a basic idea of the size of system you will require and how much it will cost.
|System Size||Roof Space Required (m²)||Suitable for||Estimated Cost|
|3kW||21||Family of 3||£5520|
|4kW||28||Family of 4||£6040|
Can I Get Paid for Generating Electricity?
The government did have the ‘Feed-in Tariffs’ scheme but unfortunately it closed to new applicants on 31 March 2019. However, you may still be able to sell your surplus solar power.
How Much Can I Save?
How much you can save depends on a few factors. If you spend a lot of time at home, your savings are significantly higher. According to the Energy Saving Trust, if you do spend a lot of time at home, a 4kW can save you between £205 and £220 per month depending on where you live. Peterborough will be somewhere around the middle. If you are out for most of the day, the savings are significantly lower and estimated to be between £85 and £90. If you do spend most of the day out of your house, you can increase your savings with a solar battery.
A 4kW system costs around £6040, so it will likely pay for itself after around two and a half to six years, depending on how much energy you use.
Is My House Suitable for Solar Panels?
In terms of getting enough sunlight, then yes, Peterborough is an ideal location for installing solar panels. Even on overcast days solar panels can produce a significant amount of energy. Planning permission is usually not required for solar panel installation.
However, there are a few things to consider to ensure the roof on your house is suitable for solar panel installation.
Size – A 250-Watt solar panel is around 1.75m x 0.9m. The number of these panels you need will depend on your electricity consumption. To give you a rough idea, a household with three people will need to install around 12 panels which will require
18m² roof space.
Space in loft – The inverter – which is about the size of a microwave – will require a small amount of space in your loft.
Structure – 12 solar panels weigh approximately 360kg. Before installing solar panels, you need to make sure your roof will be able to support them. Your solar installer will be able to help you with this.
Roof direction – In the northern hemisphere, solar panels are not suitable for north facing roofs. Conventional wisdom tells us that a south-facing roof will provide the most sunlight, but there is some debate on whether or not an east or west-facing roof is preferable to a south-facing roof. There isn’t too much in it though and your solar installer should be able to provide some specific advice for you.
Obstructions – Solar panels require sunlight to function, so you need to make sure the roof where they are installed is not shaded by trees or other obstructions.
Pitch – The ideal angle of a roof for solar panels in the UK is between 35° and 40°. However, as long as the angle is between 10° and 60°, the loss of performance will be minimal. If your roof is not at a suitable angle, the solar panels can be fitted to and angled mount.
How Long Does Solar Installation Take?
The longest part of the process is finding a suitable installer, getting quotes and having your home assessed. The actual installation process is very quick and should only take one day or two at the most. If an installer predicts installation will take longer than this, they may be trying to overcharge for labour and you should find another installer.
Questions to Ask Your Solar Panel Installer?
When you are not an expert on solar panels and their installation, you aren’t going to know which questions are important to ask. Solar Guide have a list of eight questions to ask your solar installer. I’ll list the questions below but make sure to head over there for a more in-depth explanation.
- Is the solar installer MCS certified?
- Is a structural report included in the quotation?
- Will my roof need strengthening?
- How will the panels be held on the roof?
- Will you need to carry out shading analysis?
- Who will be installing the solar panels?
- What warranties will be offered?
- Does the price include any extras
A question that isn’t on that list and I would recommend you asking is how long installation will take. It should only take one day or two at the most. If they predict it will take longer than this they may be trying to overcharge for labour.
How Long Do Solar Panels Last?
Newer solar panels are expected to last 40 – 50 years and should come with a warranty for around half of that. Solar panels do lose efficiency over time but most warranties account for that with a guarantee the efficiency will not drop below 80% during the warranty period.
Can Weather Damage Solar Panels?
Solar panels are designed to last so they shouldn’t be damaged by weather. There was an incident in Denver where a severe hail storm destroyed countless windows and cars, yet of over 3000 solar panels at the National Renewable Energy Lab, only one panel broke.
Severe weather should not damage your solar panels, but if it does, the solar panels should be under warranty if it happens within around 25 years of installation.
Do Solar Panels Require Ongoing Maintenance?
Solar panels don’t require much maintenance, but the little maintenance they do require you want to get right in order to maximise your benefits. Monitoring the performance and keeping the panels clean are the main things you will need to do. You can find some great tips for cleaning and maintenance over at GreenMatch.