Solar PV Systems

Look around any group of housing these days and there will be a good change that a portion of them will have Solar PV systems fitted. PV stands for PhotoVoltaic, and it means simply that electricity will be produced when the panel is exposed to light. They’re a great concept – take energy from the sun and use it to power your home, business etc. These panels produce DC electricity, like a battery, and when combined with an inverter, produce AC electricity suitable for use in your home and export to the grid. Combine it with a Battery Storage System to futher the benefits.

Grid Neutral is offering Solar PV systems for your home or office, our smallest 2kW systems cost £2,685.06 +VAT* and are fully configurable depending on your needs. They also offer you the following benefits: 

  • Reduce your Carbon Footprint
  • Possibly generate a small income from the Smart Export Guarantee
  • Reduce reliance on the grid – and energy companies
  • Protect yourself from future energy price rises
  • Alleviate eco-guilt: turn your kettle on with a smile
  • In-roof, On-roof and Flat-roof options. Compatible with most existing roof coverings and new-builds
  • Ground mount systems and Solar PV car-port EV charge stations

Product details. We use Trina Solar Panels coupled with Solis inverters. Both are long-proven manufacturers and are designed to work with each other:  

  • Systems of all sizes available – configured to suit your needs
  • Possibility to upgrade to battery storage in the future
  • Compatible with energy diverter systems, such EV Chargers, Immersion Heater Controllers etc.
  • Very low maintenance
  • Online energy monitoring
  • Fast, neat installation, with immediate energy-saving results
  • Long warranties available (up from five years as standard)

 See details of our Battery Storage Systems here.

*Not Incl. Scaffolding. Based on a standard, non-slate on-roof installation. VAT rate will depend on whether social conditions can be fulfilled.

FAQs - Glad you asked. See below:

Unfortunately, the government stopped supporting the Feed-In Tariff scheme in 2019. However, future MCS-accredited PV installations will qualify for the Smart Export Guarantee. This will pay a small fee of around 5.5p for each kWh that you export to the grid, and it will be paid to you by your energy company. The days of making a smal income from a PV installation are long-gone. But you can make some great savings. Be somewhat sceptical of any company that tells you a PV system “could” earn you “£££’s”.

The performance warranty available from most manufacturers will guarantee performance out to 20/25years. Bear in mind that this is a guarantee and is based on worst-case scenario assumptions – so it is likely that panels will indeed be performing very well at that age. It is possible that many of the installations that have been made in the last decade will still be generating electricity in 50 or even 100 years time – with a few inverter changes to show for it. Inverters tend to be the hardest working component of an installation, especially if they’re installed in a space subject to extreme temperature swings such an uninsulated loft. Most manufacturers will provide a 10 yea warranty for their inverters (for a small fee) – which should stand as a testament to the confidence they have in the life of their products.

In theory you could. Though you would no longer be eligible for any government tariffs in the new property, as these are usually based on brand-new equipment being installed. If you moved your PV installation, technically it would become second hand. You would have to bear in mind the cost of removal, transportation (and the incumbent risk of damage) and re-installation at the other end. A new system would likely be the efficient route.

The upper power limit of most renewable energy systems is very often dictated by the line capacity of the electricity supply – 16 Amps per phase as dictated by the G98 engineering directive, not necessarily the space available on one’s roof or garden. In these instances, panel efficiency doesn’t actually matter as efficiency determines the space taken up by a system for a given power output. For most houses, this means you can fit a 4kW system (with an inverter output capped at 16A/3.68kW). This is perphase. If you have a three phase electricity supply you could install 11.04kW provided you have room. The 16A limit can be exceeded – an application would be made by us to your District Network Operator to exceed this. They will review the line capacity in your area and inform you of the upper installed limit.

It is often not acknowledged by many renewable energy salespersons just how marked the difference between Summer and Wintertime installations. Most often the summer:winter ratio would be approx 4:1, with some looking more like 7:1 depending on orientation, tilt and shading etc.

It is clear from the graph below that most households would not be powered throughout the year – unless major economies were made in household power requirements. But given that the system could well be producing far more energy during the summer than was required by the house, when looked at over the course of the year we may achieve Grid Neutral status. Beware any salesperson who tries to convince you that Solar PV systems, when combined with electric heaters will give you free heating all year round. The graph above shows how average daily output varies between 4-6 kWh in the months when you need energy the most. What you do get would barely be enough to power the house, let alone heat it.

Shading will ultimately affect the performance of a solar array, but not by much. Solar panels are linked in series, because of this, an array can only perform as well as the poorest performing panel. This can be overcome on modern panels with the use of bypass diodes that effectively ‘bridge’ shaded panels allowing the remainder to perform as normal. In diffuse conditions (such as cloudy days), shading as actually far less of a problem and so performance can be quite good.

If you’ve ever seen how solar panels are made, you’d probably be wondering whether they produce more energy than it took to create them. What you’d be wondering about is the Energy Yield Ratio (EYR), it’s a very worthy question. Fortunately the value is very much positive, and has been since manufacturers really got a handle on how to make them both efficiently and at large scale some 25+ years ago. It depends less on the panel, and more on where its installed: a panel in Scotland will produce much less energy than one installed in the Australian outback. Even so, a modern panel installed in Scotland will probably achieve an EYR of around seven over the first 10 years of its life. That is to say that it will produce seven times more energy than it took to create it. By comparison, the same panel installed in a system in Australia could maybe achieve an EYR of 12. What you have to consider though is the harder environment in the desert; a panel installed here could potentially only last half the life of one in a much more benign environment. That said, there are some PV systems that are 50+ years old still functioning OK – and consider those that are powering the myriad of PV-powered satellites that have been in orbit in hostile space since the 1960’s.

In short, no. We have two options for transferring electrical energy over long distances. We can choose to keep it in DC straight from the panels, and place the inverter in the house somewhere, or we can place the inverter near the remote PV installation and transfer in AC. Generally our preferred option is to transfer in AC. The voltage is lower, and so losses may be marginally higher – but generous wire sizing will minimise this. The principal advantage is that the cable would be RCD protected, which gives an additional layer of safety. Important when you consider that a buried cable may be in place for several decades.