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Latest Solar Help & Advice

Shedding Light on Solar PV Systems: A Beginner’s Guide

Since the rise in household energy bills, many homeowners are starting to consider renewable energy sources to power their homes. The most common renewable energy source used by homeowners is solar energy. This blog post is a guide to solar panels, including the different types, benefits, and the common misconceptions.

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Why Should Solar Panels be Serviced?

As we come into the winter months, there is no better time to have your solar panels serviced. While solar panel systems are low maintenance, it is still important to get them regularly checked. But you might be wondering what the benefits of having your solar panels serviced? The answer, there are so many benefits to solar panels being serviced, from improve longevity to complete safety checks. We will explore these in this article.

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The Benefits & Costs of Hiring Solar Panel Installers Norfolk, Suffolk & Cambridge: A Guide

Homeowners across Norwich, Norfolk are steadily turning their gaze towards the sun. Harnessing solar power has become a common sight in Norfolk, from Great Yarmouth to Swaffham. Residents are making a proactive shift towards renewable energy, all thanks to the presence of solar panel installers in Norfolk, who have been instrumental in driving this green change.

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Solar Panels & Battery Storage FAQs

How is solar power used?

Solar panels produce Direct Current (DC) electricity.  As most properties use Alternating Current (AC), we install an inverter to convert DC to AC.

Unless Battery Storage is fitted, the solar energy produced must be used immediately.  Therefore, when the panels are producing more electricity than can be used, the excess energy is exported to the national grid.  This is where the Feed-in Tariff (FIT, which ceased in 2019) or Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) credit is obtained, as your energy provider will repay you for this power.

What happens to surplus energy?

You can use surplus energy to heat your water via an energy diverter, or to charge your electric vehicle via an appropriate car charger. Additionally, installing battery storage to your system will allow you to collect the surplus extra energy to use as and when required. Please contact the Aspecte team on 01953 660550 if you would like to find out more.

How much energy is generated by solar panels?

A typical domestic solar panel can produce anywhere between 250-425 watts of electricity. Most UK solar panel systems operate on a system of 8-12 panels. A solar system like this can produce between 2,450 – 3,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, depending on location and how the panels are set up. Please be aware the specific figures for your solar panels will be available in your handover document after your installation.

What is an optimiser?

An optimiser is used on an installation when any panels maybe affected by shading, causing the panel to not operate as efficiently, and affect the rest of the panels on that same string. Alternatively due to the orientation of a solar array, we may advise the installation of optimisers.  This ensures your system is generating power despite some of the panels being shaded, so if for a part of the day a panel is in the shade due to a tree covering the panel, only the one panel will not work, however if you didn’t have optimisers all the panels will be affected.

How much energy is needed to power my home?

A typical 3-bedroom home will use between 3500 and 4500 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year.

Typically, household appliances consume power as set out below:

Washing Machines: 255 kWh per year

LCD TV: 175 kWh per year

Dishwashers: 657 kWh per year

Kettles: 164 kWh per year

Toasters: 109 kWh per year

Hairdryers: 182 kWh per year

Computer Screen:  300 kWh per year

Fridge Freezer: 408kWh per year

Does the size of the panel affect the power output?

There are a few variables and design characteristics that affect the efficiency of panels, but size generally correlates with output i.e. larger panels generally give a higher output.  At Aspecte we will aim to make your solar array as efficient as possible, considering the size and orientation of your roof.

What is the lifespan of my solar panels?

Many solar panels are guaranteed to last anywhere from 20 to 30 years, with 25 years being a common estimate.

Will my system need servicing?

Aspecte warranty is held for 1 year.

At Aspecte we offer an annual service to ensure your system is working efficiently. If you would like to have your system serviced, it currently costs £149 + VAT, please get in touch (01953 660550) for further information. This service includes a software update, safety checks, system checks.

How often should you clean solar panels?

It is recommended that you give your solar panels a clean at least once a year. An annual clean has been found to improve energy output by as much as 12% when compared to panels that were only cleaned by rainfall. We recommend you doing this during the Spring or Autumn months.

I have battery storage installed, however my app shows that I am still exporting power to the national grid?

Do not be surprised if you see this happening it is perfectly normal, this can be a technical issue of some apps. Our investigations have found that the energy going back to the grid is minimal and your system is still operating correctly. Some of the information received is a database anomaly. All grid tied inverters will has some losses due to the grid, this is the nature of electronics and timing issues. 

How do I track / monitor my usage?

The majority of systems can be linked to Wi-Fi and be monitored via either a web portal, or an App, which will show how the system is performing and how much energy is being produced.

What happens if I change my Wi-Fi or password?

As the installed products communicate via Wi-Fi, the app(s) will need to be updated accordingly. This may be completed by the homeowner. If problems are encountered following a change to your Wi-Fi, Aspecte can attend to assist, however this additional visit will be chargeable.

How accurate is the Payback Period, as stated in the quotation document?

The Payback Period is automatically generated by the specialist software, accounting for typical daylight hours, project location, roof orientation and any shading identified at survey stage.  This payback period can be shortened through the use of panel optimisers and other accessories, and through the use alongside a dual rate tariff – all of which can be discussed with our surveyor. 

For example, our software calculates the Payback Period on a solar PV/Battery system based on the panels charging via the sun daily during the summer.  The Payback duration can in fact be dramatically reduced when used alongside a dual rate electricity tariff – during winter months the batteries can be charged at a lower off-peak rate and discharged when the owner would normally be paying for peak rate electricity.

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