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Everything you need to know about renewables.

What is solar? 

There are two forms of solar - solarthermal and solarphotovoltaics.
They both sit on top of a building's roof, and use the sun to create energy. 
  • SolarThermal heats up water
  • SolarPhotovoltaic generates electricity
It is therefore vital to initially ascertain which form of renewable energy is best for you. 
 

What is PV?

PV is an abbreviation for photovoltaic
 

What is kWp? 

A kWp is a measurement given to a cell or module that specifies the peak output in kilo-Watts under test conditions. 
 

What is kWh?

kWh is a measurement of electricity production usually expressed as the kilo-Watt hours produced during a period of time. 
In the UK, it is commonly calculated, that a 1kWp system will produce 850kWh of electricity per annum of electricity. 
 

Will a 1kWp system always produce 850kwh? 

No. 850kWh is based on the assumption that the pitch of the roof is 35 degrees, and the orientation of the roof is in a southerly direction.  This is the optimum; however an Eastern or Western orientation is still capable of producing up to 90% of a Southern orientation roof, assuming there is no shading. 
 
850kwh is also a figure used by SAP (government assessors building control) as an average figure across the UK. The actual figure will be increased in the South East of the UK, as there are higher levels of radiation in this region, compared to the Northern counties. 
 

What constitutes ‘large amounts of shading’? 

A PV installation should always avoid shading where possible, but eliminating all elements of shading on a domestic building is virtually impossible - roof dormers, chimney tops and even TV aerials can cause it so the PV design will try to avoid installation on these areas.
 
Large amounts of shading caused by trees higher than the roof level, or adjacent buildings blocking out sun light should be avoided.  A site survey will be carried out by your MCS electrician prior to installation to make you aware of any high elements of shading on your property can quickly identify the risk of shading using a number of methods.
 

Building Regulations 

The Code for Sustainable Homes is set by the Government, and has two levels. 
The first applies to Social Housing projects and the second applies to Private New Builds.  The levels are set 2 years apart, with the private builds 2 years behind social housing. 
 
The codes equate to different percentages of renewable source energy required for a new build.  For example, in 2011, Code 4 requires that 25% of the buildings energy must come from a renewable source. 
 
By 2012 a private new build project will be required by Government legislation to produce 10% of the building’s energy consumption by a renewable source. 
 

What is MCS?

MCS stands for the Microgeneration Certification Scheme, which is a Government body to ensure that each and every photovoltaic installation is carried by an approved installer with approved products. 
Approved installers will carry the logo   
 

What is the FIT scheme?

Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) is a scheme used successfully worldwide in over 40 countries and became available in Great Britain on 1st April 2010. Under this scheme energy suppliers have to make regular payments to building owners who generate their own electricity from renewable or low carbon sources such as photovoltaic panels.  Under the scheme energy suppliers make regular payments for all electricity produced by an MCS certified renewable system such as PV. An additional payment is also made for any unused electricity which is exported to the grid.
 
The contract is set up for 20 years with the Government with a payback region of 8-10 years.  The remaining years produce a financial income plus free electricity. 
 
The FIT is retail price index linked and the first adjustment was made on April 1st 2011
 
 
•  Pay 14.9p/kWh  less than 4kW system  fitted to an existing building.
 
•  Pay 13.5p/kWh  4 - 10kW system.
 
•  Pay 12.57p/kWh  10 - 50kW system.
 
•  Pay 11.1p/kWh   50 - 150kW system.
 
•  Pay 10.62p/kWh  150 - 250kW system.
 
•  Pay 6.85p/kWh  250 - 5MW system.
 
 
 
*correct at time of publication
 
 
K2Solar is endorsed by the Energy Saving Trust Recommended (ESTR) scheme and is on the approved database to qualify for the Feed-in Tariff scheme.
 

How much money can I stand to make from the FIT scheme? 

That will depend on how much PV you wish to install, and the orientation and pitch of your roof.  It can easily be calculated, once this information is known. 
 
The FIT has different tariffs for different sized systems. For a retro-fit system under 4kWp, the tariff is 14.9p per unit of electricity produced.  If your building is a new-build under 4kWp, the tariff is 14.9p per unit of electricity produced.  System
Sizes above 4kWp have a lower tariff. 
The income from the FIT is in addition to the savings of generating your own electricity.   
 

What happens to the electricity I do not use? 

lf there is a period of time when you don’t use the electricity you generate such as a summer holiday, the electricity you produce will be fed back into the national grid.  Your electricity supplier is legally obliged to buy this back from you for 4.65 pence per unit and this is in addition to the FlT.
 

How do I know how much PV I should Install?

According to Government statistics the average UK household’s consumption of electricity is approximately 3200kWh per annum. This would mean on average, a 4kWp system should fulfil a household's yearly consumption.  However in the UK
the average installation size varies between 1kWp-3kWp for reasons such as cost and roof space. 
 

Will  K2 Solar install the products?

Yes.  K2 Solar  is MCS certified and an approved installer of solar/photovoltaic products.  Our specialised roofing contractors install the products then our MCS electricians complete the electrical works inside the house, and complete all necessary paperwork to your electricity supplier and make the application for the FlT. 
 

What is the next step? 

Contact us today on 01969 625000, email info@k2solar.co.uk or visit www.k2solar.co.uk to talk through your requirements.
 
With over a century of combined expertise and experience K2Solar has encapsulated the ultimate package to provide unprecedented, turnkey, integrated photovoltaic (PV) roof weathering solutions for commercial, industrial, public buildings and residential developments.