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What Are The Main Benefits Of Solar Panels?

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rom the homeowner’s perspective, the benefits of solar panels revolve around cost savings and the payments you get through government schemes. By using the sun’s energy to create your own electricity or hot water, you can save hundreds of pounds each year on your energy bills. This is more so for solar PV as it can generate quite large amounts of electricity. Of course though, there are environment benefits too. Solar power is a form of renewable energy, so its use reduces the need for exhaustible materials like coal and oil – materials which are fast running out.

More significantly, solar power doesn’t pollute the earth’s atmosphere with harmful emissions in the same way that coal and oil do. Once fitted, solar panels emit no pollution whatsoever and only the construction and installation process contribute to the Earth’s carbon footprint. Solar panels are, in fact, the most environmentally friendly of all available renewable technologies. [/toggle]

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Are There Different Types Of Solar Panels?

“] [dropcaps_dark] Y [/dropcaps_dark] es there are a few different types of solar panels available on the market today from one that make hot water for your home to ones that produce electricity. Then there are different technologies for the different types. Sounds confusing?! it’s really not, let go over them:

Solar Photovoltaic Panels

These are the type that make electricity for your home or business and there are three main types Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline and Hybrid. These three types describe the cell technology in the panels. Polycrystalline are the starting point these cells are made up of silicon moulded together then cut into squares and are slightly less efficient than Monocrystalline Single-crystal wafer cells that tend to be more expensive, and because they are cut from cylindrical ingots of fresh silicon. Hybrid solar panels are made with extra technology to help the panels perform better giving better efficiency, but you will pay for the privilege. See solar PV panels.

Solar Thermal Panels

Solar thermal panels make hot water and can even contribute towards heating on a commercial solar thermal install. There are two types that work on the same sort of technology, by pumping water through the panel it gets heated and this heat is then transferred to a cylinder to heat hot water and even run through a heating system too on a larger commercial solar install. Evacuated tube collectors are thought to be slightly more efficient all year round but being glass tubes are more delicate than flat plate collector that are very robust and strong, See Thermal Kits.

To get more information on panels and what would be best for you please give us a call and we will be happy to help and talk you through the differences a simply and  clearly.
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How Well Do Solar Panels Work In The UK?

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[dropcaps_dark] D [/dropcaps_dark]espite Britain having a reputation for grey and cloudy weather, there is in fact more than enough sunlight on our fair isle to power solar panels. The UK actually receives the same amount of sunlight (or ‘solar radiation’) as parts of France and Spain – areas with a supposedly more Mediterranean climate – and even gets 60% of the solar radiation found at the Equator.

But it’s not just theory that shows solar panels can work in the UK – it’s been proven over the last couple of decades. Solar panels for domestic use may be relatively new, but certain industries have been using them with success for a number of years now. And while it may seem an odd comparison, think back to the solar powered calculator you may have used at school or work. That didn’t stop working on a cloudy day, and it’s based on exactly the same solar technology [/toggle]

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Do You Need Planning Permission For Solar Panels Or Renewables?

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[dropcaps_dark] P [/dropcaps_dark] lanning permission regulations were altered in 2008 to make the installation of renewable technologies permissible as long as we stick to curtain rules. As such, most domestic solar panel installations in the UK do not require planning permission as long as they are under a certain size, heat pumps and biomass are also OK to fit. The general rule is that solar panel installations are acceptable unless the panel ‘protrudes by 200mm or more’.

Conservation areas and World Heritage sites, or is perhaps a listed building, you should seek advice from your planning officer but these still get put through depending on the install plans. While most solar panel installations don’t require planning permission, they are of course still subject to UK building regulations. Regulations apply not just to the siting of renewables, but also to the associated pipe work or electric, so we are a fully registered installer with MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) certification.

Using an MCS installer is particularly important if you plan to apply for a ‘FIT‘ solar energy grant or the ‘RHI‘. Only installations carried out by registered installers are eligible for the Feed In Tariff Scheme.

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Will I be eligible for the Feed In Tariff (FIT)?

“]  [dropcaps_dark] B [/dropcaps_dark] espoke Renewable Solutions are approved MCS installers and all our installations are eligible for full government incentives. Remember you will need an Energy Performance Certificate rated ‘D’ or above to get the full tariffs. Don’t worry about this as we will get you one on agreement of install, please look at the page on this and call us if you think there are any potential problems. Our experienced team can evaluate the EPC on visit to the property for the survey.  [/toggle]

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Are There Grants For Solar Or Other Renewables?

“] [dropcaps_dark] T [/dropcaps_dark] he answer is no for solar PV (electricity) and yes for other technologies such as solar thermal, biomass or heat pumps. There used to be grants for solar PV to contribute towards the cost of the install but these where stopped when the Feed In Tariff started. Now you get paid for the energy you produce with solar PV.

For solar thermal, air source heat pumps and biomass boilers there is the Renewable Heat Incentive which is out for commercial installs and will be out for residential installs summer 2013. This will also pay you for the energy you produce very similar to the Feed In Tariff, on the back of this and already running is the RHIPP (Renewable Heat Incentive Premium Payment). This means you will be able to get a lump sum to help you pay for a renewable system (£300-£1250 depending on the technology).

There are not grants that pay outright for systems but there are financing schemes available through Bespoke Renewable Solutions where the technology can pay for itself through its tariff payments. If you have interest in a particular system please contact us for information on what we can do.

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Are There Ways To Finance A System?

“] [dropcaps_dark] T [/dropcaps_dark] here are ways to finance a system from using an interest free credit card to our own financing options with our partners.

Credit Card

With Bespoke Renewable Solutions you can pay for a system with a credit or debit card. We have had a few customers finance their systems this way, pay it off at your convenience and use the tariff from the system and energy savings to let the system pay for itself.

Credit cards offer interest free introductory periods on purchases as a way to entice new customers. You may get up to one year at 0% interest, but after that you will have to start paying interest. So, make sure you check out the standard interest rate too.

If it takes you longer than you thought to pay off your system, you want to move an existing balance you can take advantage of 0% introductory rates. You may have to pay a balance transfer fee, but you could still save a significant amount of money by getting a break from paying interest. Look into these options when getting the card, make sure it’s right for you.

Money Solutions UK

Money Solutions Uk our a finance broker for Bespoke Renewable Solutions and have over 22 years’ experience in the finance industry and were founded to help you find the best deals. With Money Solutions UK you can take comfort from dealing with an independent company that responds to YOUR needs and deal with people that have the experience in Finance and the understanding of your needs. Money Solutions UK will come up with the best finance offer for your system with very little hassle.

National Energy Card

Coming soon – early 2013 – join our newsletter to see when this new finance option is available.

Siemens Commercial Financing

Coming soon – early 2013 – join our newsletter to see when this new finance option is available.

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Are There Going To Be More Feed In Tariff Cuts?

“] [dropcaps_dark] Y [/dropcaps_dark] es the Feed In Tariff will be reviewed every three months and will be altered depending on the volume of installs for this period. So if you want the rates of the moment, don’t waste too much time. [/toggle]

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How Long Does It Take To Fit Solar PV or thermal?

“] [dropcaps_dark] F [/dropcaps_dark] or residential installs it will only take a day, even if you are having a 4kW system with 16-22 panels. Commercial install all depend on the size of the system and the mounting system that is being used to install the panels, we have done 10kW installs with 40 panels before in a day too. Larger systems than this it could be a few days or a week. Also if it is a commercial install it will be business as usual and we will keep out of the way of you day to day business clockwork.  [/toggle]

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What is a kWh?

“]  [dropcaps_dark] A [/dropcaps_dark] kWh (kilo watt hour) is a specific amount of electricity.  1 Kwh is the same 1 unit of electricity that is shown on your electricity bill.  An electrical item having a rating of 1kW will consume 1kWh for every hour it is on at full power. [/toggle]

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What guarantees will I receive?

“] [dropcaps_dark] S [/dropcaps_dark] olar PV Panels efficiency is generally guaranteed between 20 -30 years depending on manufacturer. Inverters normally have a guarantee of 5 years (can be extended) if you purchase Samil power inverter from us you will get a 10year guarantee and Enecsys inverters a whopping 20 years guarantee . Workmanship is usually guaranteed for 10 years.

Heat pumps come with a 12 month guarantee but these can also be extended and the same also applies to biomass boilers. Check your quotation for specific details. [/toggle]