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Below is a list of the common questions we get asked so you can make an informed start on your decision to go renewable! If there is anything else you’d like to know that isn’t below, please feel free to give us a call.

What is Solar PV?

Solar photovoltaics (PV) are materials that convert light directly into electricity, using no moving parts. It is made out of semiconducting materials, most usually silicon.

What is kWp?

The size of a solar system is measured in kWp (kilowatt peak). It is the amount of power produced under standard laboratory test conditions, which broadly equate to bright sunshine. So a 2 kWp system will produce 2 kW of electrical power in bright sunshine. For standard modules of 16% efficiency, each kWp takes up about 6.25m2 of roofspace. More efficient modules are available, and because they convert light more efficiently, they take up less space. 1kWp of high efficiency 20% modules only take up 5m2 of roofspace.

Do I need planning permission?

Unless you live in a listed building or in a conservation area you do not usually require planning permission. In all cases we recommend that you speak to your local authority to confirm you individual situation.

How much electric will my PV panels generate?

The kWh produced by a solar array depends on the size of the PV array, and the amount of light received (which depends on location and orientation). In terms of location, a solar panel in the UK will produce between 700 kWh (Scotland) to over 1000 kWh (Cornwall) for every kWp of panels installed. We will model the output of your proposed system at the design stage.

What happens if I have shading?

Shading will reduce the power output of solar panels and any panels directly connected to the shaded panel. AR Power can calculate exactly what impact your shading will have with their 3D modelling software PV Sol and provide expert advise in regards to panel positioning.

What happens if my PV Solar Panels are producing more than I’m using?

Any PV not used will be sent back to the grid. The SEG (Smart Export Guarantee) scheme went live on 1st January 2020 whereby you sign up with an energy supplier who will buy back your exported energy. Read more, including current rates, in our blog section.

Where can I install the panels?

Generally, solar panels can be installed on any roof or free terrain with enough space to accommodate them, whilst trying to avoid shade.
Solar can be installed on virtually all rooftypes – tiles roofs, slate roofs, flat roofs, trapezoidal metal roofs, standing seam roofs, and even integrated into the roof.
Solar panels can of course also be installed on the ground as well, from back-garden arrays to solar fields. Visit our Solar PV gallery for more info

Am I restriced to a particular system size?

In short no. A system with a 3.68kW maximum export (generally a 4kWp system or slightly above) may be installed without prior permission to your local DNO under G98. However, with a growing battery storage market many customers are opting to fill their roof space and maximise their solar PV output. We can make a G99 application to your DNO to install a higher output PV system. Northern Power Grid charge £350 ex VAT for this application and the turnaround time is 45 working days

Do I need to inform Building Control?

We notify your electric and microgeneration (solar PV) works for you

Do solar panels require maintenance?

This is one of the most common questions about PV.  Unlike other technologies, solar PV has no moving parts, so there is nothing to wear out or need lubricating. Solar panels have a performance warrantied to work for 25years, and may last even longer than that.

Solar panels have a surface coating on them to help water and dust run away, and they are considered self-cleaning if pitched at greater than 10 degrees.
However, in some locations there is too much dust, plant debris (leaves etc) or bird excrement, so the panels can get dirty.

AR Power have a specialist cleaning kit and may be available on request to quote for a panel clean or system health check.

What happens in a power cut?

In the event of a power cut your inverter will automatically shut down. The system will not generate in a power cut.

There is battery technology (Tesla Powerwall 2 with Backup Gateway) available to retrofit to your PV system that will provide power in the event of a power cut. For more info call 0191 4813316.

Who will fit the system?

AR Power have our own installation teams who will install your system and walk you through all of the set up

How long does a PV Solar Panel installation take?

A domestic system is generally installed within a day. With the addition of a battery system this may run into two.

A commercial system depends on system size.

For your business

Your business can experience benefits like strengthening your organisation’s brand and environmental credentials by improving workspace energy efficiencies.

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