By installing a PV system, occupiers can generate their own ‘green’ electricity, not only reducing electricity bills but helping to offset carbon emissions. PV will play an increasingly important role in contributing towards ‘sustainable development’.
Key advantages of installing this type of electricity generation include:
- Emission free
- Noise free
- Require minimal maintenance (no moving parts)
- Can be integrated in, or mounted on an existing building structure
- Cause minimal visual intrusion
Recent changes to planning guidance mean you do not have to seek a planning approval for solar systems less than 200mm above the roof. However, some local authorities will insist on planning consent being gained prior to installation, particularly if your potential site is in a protected area or involves a listed building. Always check before going ahead as retrospective permissions can be difficult to acquire.
A solar electric system is commonly referred to as a photovoltaic, or PV generator. It converts sunlight into electricity by a solid-state process involving no moving parts and producing no noise or emissions.
Yes, the most robust and efficient solar cells at present are made from silicon crystal and are either mono-crystalline (extracted from a single crystal) or poly-crystalline (made up of many crystals); The alternative option is a thin-film solution, which is more flexible but less efficient – these solar technologies are then incorporated into the following:
PV Panels/ Modules
Most PV systems are formed of an array of PV modules. These modules comprise a series of interconnected PV cells, laminated between glass and a back-sheet and held within a rigid aluminium frame. PV modules are usually the most cost effective solution and can be combined to form an array of the correct size for your building and electricity demand.
PV tiles are a type of Building Integrated PV (BIPV). They can be used to directly replace standard roof tiles. BIPV like solar tiles are usually more expensive than modules but can be very cost effective where they are used to replace other building materials.
PV glazing can be used to replace conventional building materials, for example the glass roof of a conservatory. PV glazing functions to provide shelter, shading and electricity in one material. Like glazing, solar cladding can also be used in the place of other materials and can be made bespoke in order to fit the solar features of your site and electricity demand. Solar PV could be a good option if you are considering replacing part of a roof or building façade. In some cases solar materials may work out cheaper than conventional building materials or even offset their cost. If your potential solar site is new build, it is worth considering whether you could build electricity generation into the actual fabric of the building.
The closer to south the better as this means more sunlight will reach the PV cells but arrays work effectively and are commonly installed at other orientations - from east through to west. However, annual output is reduced if the array faces significantly away from south.
There are many different ways of mounting PV. Generally, a 1kWp system requires approximately 8m² of roof space. If there is not enough room to mount PV on your roof then we can recommend a ground mounted PV system.
Yes, the effectiveness of a PV array depends on how much sunlight it receives. Solar PV works in diffused sunlight as well as direct sunlight, but if part or all of a solar array is shaded during daylight hours, e.g. by trees or buildings, the amount of electricity it can generate is reduced.
Once Dulas have installed your solar PV system we will register you on the central FIT database and you will then receive a certificate confirming FIT compliance. You must then inform your chosen energy supplier that you are eligible to receive the FIT by providing the certificate. The supplier will then cross reference your installation with the central FIT database. Payments will then be made by your energy supplier at intervals to be decided between you and your supplier. You may be required to provide meter readings to the suppliers if requested.
See the list of Registered FIT licenced suppliers here:
PV and solar hot water heating systems are commonly confused, which is perhaps understandable given that both can be described as “solar power” and use roof-mounted modules/panels.
However, the two technologies actually bear little resemblance apart from the fact that they both harness the sun’s energy directly. In practical terms, the key difference is that PV generates electricity; whereas solar water heating produces thermal energy. It is more cost-effective to use solar thermal for heating than PV.
Solar energy is converted into electricity and fed into the national grid. Efficient, reliable, high power inverters form the heart of any PV system.
Inverters convert direct current (DC) electricity created by the photovoltaics into alternating current (AC) electricity which is used in our buildings. These systems are known as grid connect.
If there is no access to the national grid the electricity is stored in batteries and these are referred to as off-grid systems.
Please note that permission to connect to the grid must be obtained from your local Distribution Network Operator (DNO) before the system is turned on. Your installer will assist with making this application, though many DNOs requirements are met by using a ‘G83/1’ approved inverter.
The Kyocera modules which Dulas supply come with the following warranty:
90% of specified power output after 10 years (at standard test conditions).
80% of specified power output after 20 years (at standard test conditions).
In addition Dulas Solar guarantee the system free from defects in materials and workmanship under normal use for a period of two years.
There is no flat rate for a solar PV system. As a rough guide, a 1kWp grid connected system will cost in the region of £7,000 (inclusive of installation) and a 2kWp system would be around £12,000. A particular advantage of solar PV, even over other types of renewable energy systems, is that running costs are very low – it requires no fossil fuel to run and, since there are no moving parts (unless a tracking device is used), very little maintenance.