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Solar Panels: Your Questions Answered

Solar Panels: Your Questions Answered

As the sun finally makes an appearance and the global crisis continues to be a hot topic (physically and metaphorically), renewable energy is something that households are thinking about more and more. Last week, we took a look at how solar batteries work and the difference that they make to individuals investing in solar power. Thanks to further interest from Trust A Trader customers, this week we will take a look at some of your most commonly asked questions.

Q: How much space do you need for solar panels?

A: If you are considering getting solar panels installed, then space is a major issue. The average size for a domestic property is 3.5kWp which needs about 20m2 of roof. This is around 3m x 7m, 4m x 5m or 10m x 2m.

Q: Do you need direct sunlight?

A: In an ideal world, your solar panels will be placed on a south facing surface in direct sunlight (i.e. not in the shade of buildings or trees). If your property faces east or west, you can still have solar, but you are likely to get just over 10% less electricity from it. If the only available surface is north-facing, you probably won’t be able to get solar panels.

Q: Do I need planning permission?

A: In the majority of cases, solar panels are classified as permitted developments. This means that they don’t usually need planning permission. There are, however, exceptions. If you live in a conservation area, national park, or listed building, you may be subject to more restrictions, so it is best to check with your Local Authority, or ask your solar panel specialist, before you make any decisions.

Q: Can I still make money from solar panels?

A: For a while, people installing domestic PV solar systems could access the Feed-in Tariff, which meant that you can be paid for any excess electricity that is fed back to the national grid because you don’t need it. That tariff stopped for new applicants in 2019. However, it is possible for you to still get payment for the transfer of your excess electricity; it just has to be done via renewable energy companies, who will pay you directly for the power that you export. This system is known as the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) and applies to properties in Great Britain.

Q: How long before my solar panels pay for themselves?

A: The length of time it takes to recoup your outlay on solar panels via savings and exporting excess energy via the SEG depends on the size of your solar installation and your energy usage. However, on average, the average 3.5kWp solar PV system costs between £5k and £6k. Average savings are up to £600 per year (if you take advantage of SEG), so it should pay for itself within ten years.

If you want to find out more about whether solar panels could be right for your property, get in touch with a local specialist for a quote. Don’t forget to follow Trust a Trader on Facebook or Twitter.

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