Choosing the right location for installing solar panels on the roof is essential for maximising sunlight and optimising energy generation. Follow these steps to ensure an ideal setup:
Roof Orientation: Determine the direction your roof faces. South-facing roofs receive more sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere, while north-facing roofs are preferable in the Southern Hemisphere.
Tilt Angle: The tilt angle of solar panels affects the amount of energy they produce. A tilt angle equal to the latitude of your location is a good starting point, however, you may need to make slight adjustments based on your specific location.
Potential Shading: Identify any potential shade sources, such as nearby trees, buildings, or structures. Choose a spot with minimal shading throughout the day.
Solar Path Tools: These tools can help you visualise the sun’s path throughout the year. This can help you choose a location that receives maximum sunlight year-round.
Roof Pitch: The pitch or slope of your roof impacts how much sunlight your panels capture. While a steeper pitch can capture more winter sunlight, a shallower pitch may be more suitable for summer.
Optimal Placement: Install solar panels closer to the ridge of the roof, especially on sloped roofs, to reduce shading from other parts of the structure. Allow for enough spacing between the rows of panels.
Roof Integrity: Ensure that the location you choose can safely support the weight of the solar panels. Consult with a structural engineer if necessary to assess the roof’s load-bearing capacity.
By following these guidelines, you can choose the best location to install solar panels on your roof. This ensures optimal exposure to sunlight, minimising shading and maximising energy generation. Implementing these considerations is a crucial step in the process of how to install solar panels effectively and efficiently.
Learn about government incentives for solar panel installation.
Financing Solar Installation
Here are some options for financing your solar installation.
Paying for your solar panels in cash offers the highest long-term savings, as you don’t pay interest. However, this requires a significant upfront investment that may be challenging for some homeowners.
Solar loans allow homeowners to spread the cost of solar panels over time with fixed or variable interest rates. You will need to make monthly loan payments, but the overall cost may still be lower than traditional energy bills.
Solar leases require little to no upfront cost, but the leasing company owns and maintains the system. You will need to sign a long-term contract and make monthly lease payments, but these may reduce the savings you can expect from owning the panels yourself.
Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)
A PPA is a financing agreement that usually involves a landlord leasing the space on a property’s roof to a solar energy company that installs solar panels for free. The tenants will have access to all the energy they produce at a reduced, predetermined rate. After an agreed number of years, the landlord will own the panels.
The Energy Company Obligation Scheme (ECO4)
The ECO4 pays homeowners up to £14,000 for the excess electricity you generate and feed back into the grid. To be eligible, you will need to meet certain criteria, such as earning below a certain annual income.
Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)
SEG pays homeowners up to £160 per year for any surplus energy they feed back to the grid. It provides ongoing financial benefits to homeowners with eligible solar panel systems.
Home Upgrade Grant
The Home Upgrade Grant is available to 45 local authorities in England. This provides grants of up to £10,000 to households for green measures including solar panels.
0% VAT Incentive:
Until 2027, homeowners will automatically pay 0% VAT on energy-saving products such as solar panels. This helps to lower the overall cost of solar installation.
Tips for Maximising Incentives
Stay informed about changes in government policies and incentives to significantly reduce the overall cost of solar panels. Work with certified installers to ensure you’re eligible for incentive programs. The combination of financing flexibility and financial support programs makes solar energy more accessible for a wider range of homeowners.
Installation Best Practices
When installing solar panels, select an MCS-certified installer with reliable experience. Certified installers adhere to industry standards, ensuring a safe and efficient installation and they offer workmanship and product guarantees for peace of mind. Choose high-quality solar panels, inverters, and mounting equipment (not all products are made equal) and install solar panels with secure and weather-resistant mounting to stand the test of time.
Do you need an electrician to install solar panels?
In most cases, a certified solar panel installer will handle the entire installation process, including the electrical work. An electrician may do the electrical work and wiring. Choosing professionals with expertise in solar panel installations ensures compliance with electrical codes and safety standards.