FAQ – Photovoltaic Systems


How long do solar panels last?

The truth is we are not yet sure as some solar panels that are 40 or more years old are still generating electricity, and that is obviously with old technology! However, most solar PV modules come with a 20+ year performance warranties which cover the life span of the FiT. We also offer a 5 year workmanship warranty on our installations, so you can be assured your work will be of the highest standard.


Am I charged VAT?

VAT is chargeable at a reduced rate of 5% for a system generating electricity for personal use, however if the electricity is for commercial use, the rate is 20%.


Do I require an Energy Performance Certificate?

In order to obtain the higher rate FiT the building that will be using the electricity generated by a solar PV system must has an EPC rating of D or above. However, this assessment can be done after the solar PV system has been installed, which often brings a buildings rating up quite a lot. From December 2012 schools will not require EPCs to obtain the higher FiT rate.


Is tax payable on any FiT income?

No, the Feed-In-Tariff rate is completely tax free –for both payments received for generation and exporting of electricity.


Will solar panels work in the winter?

Yes, they work using daylight and can sometimes be at their most efficient on a clear cold winter’s day.


How long does the installation take?

Depending on how many panels are being installed, a small job can take be done in one days. Larger installations may take up to a couple of weeks.


Do solar panels affect house sales?

According to the Energy Saving Trust, a home with PV panels sells 30% faster than a home without them.


Do I need planning permission?

No, planning permission is not required unless it is for a listed building or in a place of outstanding natural beauty. Find out more here

Is maintenance needed on solar PV module?

No, there are no moving parts to a PV module or inverter, so no regular maintenance is necessary.


How well do Solar PV panels work?

The effectiveness of a solar array is dependent on a number of factors, one of which is the intensity of the photons or light energy it receives. The modules operate using direct sunlight and diffused solar radiation, which is light that has been spread out in the atmosphere by dust and water particles. Therefore a clear sunny day is not necessary for a solar PV system to function, they are able to generate electricity all year round throughout most weather conditions.


The modules work with temperature co-efficiency, meaning they work better when cooler. If the modules heat up too much their efficiency reduces, therefore they can work just as well, if not better, on an overcast day covering a strong sun or a bright cold winter’s day as they can in the middle of a hot clear summer’s day.


What happens in a power cut?
Due to necessary safety regulations, you are unable to continue generating your own electricity during a power cut. This is to protect anyone working to repair the national grid from receiving an electric shock which may be caused if you are exporting electricity whilst the grid is being worked on.


If you do experience a power cut, the inverter will shut down immediately and only begin to generate electricity again once it receives an appropriate electrical signal from the grid. You do not need to touch any part of the installation for this to happen, it operates completely independently and safely.

Back to top