Need to know a little more before you opt for installing solar panels? Then check out our handy guide to 4 kW solar panel systems.
Let’s start with the basics. A solar panel system is a set of panels that are fitted onto the roof of your property that capture sunlight and convert it into electricity. This electricity is then either used by you in your home, or sent back into the electric grid to be used by other people.
There’s a simple reason why you might want to consider installing a solar panel system, and that’s money. By using the electricity that you make through your system you’ll get savings on your home electric bill. Not only that though, but with the UK government’s feed-in tariff scheme you’ll be paid a certain amount of cash tax-free for every kilowatt hour of electricity you produce. That means that not only can a solar system pay for itself, but after a while it can also make a profit!
Solar systems are divided into different kilowatt groups (1 kW, 2 kW, 3 kW and 4 kW), depending on how many panels a system has and how much roof area it covers. A typical 4 kW system has sixteen solar panels and covers around 28 square metres of your roof. This is the largest domestic system that you can have that qualifies for the government’s feed-in tariff, and is the most popular size for the average UK home.
You will (obviously) need at least 28 square metres of suitable roof space in order to fit the system. For roof area to be suitable it needs to be more or less south facing, at an angle of around 35 degrees, and free from shade from trees for the majority of the day. You will probably not need planning permission unless your home is a listed property or in a conservation area.
If you want to be a part of the government’s feed-in tariff then you need to ensure that your solar panels are MSC approved, and the panels must be fitted by a government approved installation company. You will also need an Energy Performance Certificate (available through a government approved assessor). In order to get the top feed-in tariff rate you’ll need at least a D grade on your Energy Performance Certificate, which measures the energy efficiency of your building.
That depends on the brand that you buy as well as the installation company that you use. In general, the Energy Saving Trust says that the average cost of a solar system including installation is around £7,000. However, for big brand names that have high efficiency you could find yourself paying £10,000 or more.
With a well placed, fully functioning system you can expect to cut your home energy bills by around £120 per year. In terms of how much you can expect to earn from the feed-in tariff, that will depend a little on where you live and when you sign a contract. Right now you’re looking at about £700 or so per year, tax free. Again though, that figure is a very general estimate. Be aware of the fact that feed-in tariff rates change all the time (they changed on July 1st, 2015, and look to be set to change again in October). And they usually go down rather than up. Your feed-in tariff rate will be set at the rate for the time you sign up for the scheme and will change to reflect inflation.
Nope, not at all, though you’ll need a qualified installation company to install your system for you. It usually takes around two days to install a full system, and there should be little disruption though there may be some noise.
There are plenty of solar panel brands on the market. The big names are Sharp, Canadian Solar, Sunpower Solar, Suntech Power Solar, and Yingli. These companies are dependable and have good reputations. There are, however, many other smaller manufacturers to choose from as well.
No, it won’t, though it might limit your choices a little. Every energy company in the UK that services over 250,000 customers is required to support the government’s feed-in tariff. As long as the company you’re choosing is large enough you should be able to switch energy companies at will.
Solar panel systems are pretty low maintenance and have few moving parts. A good system will last a long time, with only the inverter needing replacement around once every twenty years or so. In terms of your feed-in tariff, you should know that your rates will be fixed for twenty years. After that, anything could happen including the government dropping the scheme altogether.
And that should be all you need to know, the basics of 4 kW solar panel systems! Is this the right choice for you? That depends on plenty of factors, but hopefully you should now have some of the answers you were looking for.
Solar PV technology is also coming down in price thanks to advancements in manufacturing technology and more competition in the marketplace; a 4kW system can as little as £5,000. Once installed the electricity generated is eligible for the higher rate of 13.88pence / kW hour and by working with an approved MCS installer you can feed back what you don’t use into the system at the current export rate of 4.85p per kWh. If you install now, you will be guaranteed an index backed income for the 20 years.
Aside from the obvious cost savings post install, virtually all the electricity produced from a solar PV system has zero CO2 emissions and protection of the environment should be on everyone’s agenda.
Research Phase – We appreciate that considering a solar panel installation is something that requires a ton of research. That’s why we provide a lot of information on our website and our expert team are on hand to answer any questions you might have. You won’t be sold to and we’ll answer any questions you may have that aren’t covered in our guides or FAQ’s.
Free Quotation – If you’re already clued up on all things solar and are ready to start learning about prices then a member of our team will be happy to talk you through pricing and your options.
Free consultation and survey – A Solar Wow advisor visits your home to give you advice on the requirements for your project. We don’t employ salesmen, all our advisors have hands on experience of solar PV installations.
Quotation and Schedule of Works – After a site survey has been undertaken we will provide you with a detailed quote and a breakdown of the payback period.
Application and design process – Where required Solar Wow ill take care of all the design and application processes for a solar PV system installation; this includes a CAD system design, G59 (DNO) application, witness test and planning permission if needed.
Installation process – Once everything has been agreed and you are happy with our quotation / schedule of works our engineers will complete the installation. Our experienced installers have installed both roof mounted and ground mounted Solar PV on a range of properties. All jobs are completed to the highest possible standard; demanded by our MCS and REAL accreditations.
Aftercare – With no moving parts solar energy systems are invariably smooth and simple to manage. In the event of any problems we take advantage of an online monitoring and management syste, which helps minimise downtime and get your investment back up and running quickly should their be any problems.
If you have any questions feel free to contact us. We endeavour to respond within 24 hours.