Generate electricity from sunlight using panels mounted on your roof.
Roof mounted solar panels capture the sun's energy using photovolatic cells. The cells convert the sunlight into electricity which can be used by you to power appliances and lighting during the hours of daylight. Cells do not need direct sunlight to work - you can still generate electricity on a cloudy day.
Cut your carbon footprint: Solar electricity is green, renewable energy and doesn't release any harmful greenhouse gases. A typical home PV system could save around 1 tonne of CO2 per year.
Cut your electricity bill: Sunlight is free, so once you've paid for the initial installation, your electricity costs will be greatly reduced. Any appliances you are using during the hours of daylight will draw power from the solar panels rather than from the grid (depending on the size of system you have fitted).
Earn money from feed in tariffs This is a scheme where you can earn cash for any unused electricity generated by your system.
Each panel is made up of cells. Each cell is made from one or two layers of semi-conducting material - usually silicon. Daylight creates an electric field across the layers. The stronger the sunshine, the more electricity is produced. The most common for existing roofs are the pre-made panels, however, there are versions which can be "built into" a roof and will blend with the surrounding tiles. These will normally be fitted during the construction of a new roof and are less common (at the moment).
Basically, any roof which is large enough to accommodate a system is suitable.
You'll need a roof that ideally faces within 90 degrees of south and isn't overshadowed by trees or buildings. If the surface is in shadow for parts of the day, your system will generate less energy.
The panels themselves are fairly lightweight being made of composite and aluminium but a whole system could contain many panels. If your roof is structurally sound there should be no problem with weight. If in doubt, ask a construction expert or alternatively we would be happy to give you some advice.
At the moment you don't need planning permission for most home solar electricity systems, as long as they are below a certain size, but you should check with your local planning officer if your property is a listed building or is in a conservation area etc.
The wholesale cost of solar panels and the kit required to mount them on the roof is changing all the time, as more and more systems are fitted throughout the country the lower the costs become. Maintenance is very low as modern panels incorperate self cleaning coatings. Please contact us to arrange a site survey and quotation (our survey and quotations are free of charge). Savings can be significant – around 1 tonne of CO2 a year. A 2.2kWp system can generate around 40% of a household’s yearly electrical needs. If the system is eligible to receive the feed in tariff it could generate some income as well. Maintenance is generally small – you’ll need to keep the panels relatively clean and make sure trees don’t begin to overshadow them.