Specialists in Solar Panel installation

Installation and Maintenance

At First Greentech we are committed to providing you with a simple, straightforward installation. Our dedicated team will guide you through the process in a transparent manner.

In a typical house, the rate of return on initial outlay is in the range of 9-10% which is both Index-Linked to RPI, Tax Free and guaranteed for 25 years. The savings are made by using free solar power rather than grid electricity, whilst the inflation-linked income subsidies are both for simply generating solar electricity whether or not you use it, and also for passing any unused electricity to the grid. Both the rates of payment and the solar panels are guaranteed for 25 years. (The retail price index was running at 5.1% in mid-March 2011). This makes Solar PV one of the best investments for your money, both in terms of return and safety.

A solar panel system can provide approximately 50% of your electricity requirements, free, for decades, and in an environmentally-friendly way.

Watch the video The UK Solar Feed-in Tariff Explained.
* Please note that the FiT cashback payment has increased from 41.3p/kWh to
   43.3p/kWh since the making of this video.

Solar PV can be integrated into the majority of houses and buildings. There are many possible configurations, but the most cost-effective way of retro-fitting modules on existing roofs is to have PV modules sitting in a mounting system (frame) that is bolted to an existing pitched roof or at a slight angle on a flat roof.

A well-designed and installed PV system will require very little maintenance. The equipment will work automatically and silently without requiring any intervention. Rain is usually sufficient to clean the module surface, but in areas of high dust and grime the PV modules would benefit from occasional additional cleaning. The building insurance company should be informed of an installation for this may constitute a change in the policy, although the premiums should not change.

A system will usually require at least 8 square metres of space, though it is possible to use a smaller space. The average domestic 2kWp system requires roughly 16 square metres of space.

A typical domestic PV system can save over one tonne of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

The table below gives a rough indication of the costs of a typical 2kWp PV system, taken from the BPVA (British Photovoltaic Association):

Cost Breakdown for Typical 2kWp System
PV Modules   £4,200
Inverter   £1,000
Installation, Wiring, Metre etc.   £3,300
Total Cost   £8,500

Figure 1: Typical Example of Installation Costs

The table below gives an example of a grid-connected PV system, taken from the BPVA. Assumptions include the system size of 2kWp, roof space of about 16 square metres, retro-fit, south-facing roof with no shading, irradiation of 850 kWh/kWp (say, located in the Midlands). See a map of annual UK irradiation levels. The FiT (Feed-in-Tariff) payment is RPI linked. The income from the electricity exported and the savings will in effect increase this lifetime income. This system pays for itself in just over 10 years. The first year return on investment is just over 9.9%. Any maintenance costs and possible replacement of inverter are excluded from this example.

Cost of System Components and Installation   £8,500
Annual Electricity Generated   1,700kWh
FiT Income from Generated Electricity   £700 per annum
Export Tariff Payment   £25
(supplying electricity to the grid)    
Electricity Bill Saving   £119
(assuming 50% home use, 14p/kWh)    
Total Income   £844 per annum
Lifetime (25 years) Income   £21,100

Figure 2: Typical Return on Domestic PV System

Most domestic requirements would be less than 4kWp, corresponding roughly to solar panels covering 25-30 square metres of roof space.

In addition to solar panels, there is the possibility of replacing a roof by using solar tiles or solar slates. This option can cost up to 30% more and are a little less efficient than PV panels, but you do get an aesthetically pleasing new roof that is attached directly to the battens as for a normal roof, with the added benefit of being a solar energy generator. This is a great solution for newbuild properties or for extensions.

The Role of Government

It is the aim of the EU to reduce carbon emissions by 20% on the 1990 levels. Our government has committed to an 80% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. The government sets the FiT (Feed-in-Tariff) price to be paid for each kWh of electricity generated, whether or not the electricity is used. Utility companies purchase the kWh and pass the subsidy onto the solar panel customer. The current Chancellor is discussing initiating a reduction in stamp duty for green houses.

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Funding Grants and Loans

There is an exciting new government initiative which qualifies homes for £10,000 loans in order to help improve their energy efficiency. However, it will not come into effect for a few years. See the News section for more information, or the following link www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/tackling/green_deal/green_deal.aspx.

According to www.scotsman.com, there is a new £500,000 interest-free loan scheme, as of 1st April 2011, to help householders install green energy generating equipment, and may pay them for doing so. Loans from the Scottish Government, capped at £2,000, will be available for a range of renewable heat and electricity technologies. Householders installing electricity technologies will be eligible for payments for feeding electricity into the national grid.

This system pays for itself in just over 10 years. The first year return on investment is just over 9.9%
A well-designed and installed PV system will require very little maintenance

Installation January 2012

Installation December 2011