Solar performance in the UK

“Does solar power really work in the UK?”

This is probably the most common question we are asked by our customers, who are often surprised by our response. In short our answer is “Yes” solar panels do work in the UK climate!

Solar power is widely used across Europe, with the largest concentration of PV systems being in Germany which has a climate similar to our own.

Your PV FIT solar panels do not require direct sunlight to operate and will even work on cloudy days. Given the UK’s location, it does mean that the performance of your photovoltaic system will be seasonal. This means you can expect to generate up to 6x’s more energy in July than in December, mainly due to longer daylight hours during the Summer months. This is good thing, as you can sell back to the grid any electricity you do not use!

Wind and rain can actually benefit performance. We always ensure that your solar panels are mounted at an angle greater than 10 degrees which enables wind and rain to remove any build up of dirt on the glazed surface.

How do we work out the performance of your system?

We use the Governments Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP 2009), from the Building Regulations, to estimate the annual performance of your solar pv system. The figure given is in kilo Watt hours (kWh), more commonly seen as “units” on your electricity bill.

To estimate performance of a PV FIT photovoltaic system on your property, all we we need is:

  • Orientation of your roof – EAST / SE / SOUTH / SW / WEST
  • Tilt of your roof – 30 / 45 / 60 degrees
  • PV system size in kWp – based on available roof area or your budget
  • Shading – from trees, chimneys, other buildings

A 4kW pv system installed on south facing 30 degree sloped and un-shaded roof in the UK will generate approx. *3434 kWh. This equates to estimated combined income and savings from the feed in tariff of just under £900 per year!

We can determine all the above information during our 10 minute telephone survey, where we will use a combination of Google Earth, Street View and Maps and simple solar survey questions. Contact us today for your free solar survey.

How will you know how your system is performing?

There are a number of ways you can see how your PV FIT system is performing, including; generation meter, inverter display, internet monitoring and portable/remote displays. Find out more about Monitoring Equipment.

* The performance of Solar PV systems is impossible to predict with certainty due to the variability in the amount of solar radiation (sunlight) from location to location and from year to year. However, it is possible to estimate the performance of a Solar PV system and the UK Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) requires all certified companies to also give an assessment of system performance using a standardized approach based on the Government’s Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) 2005. SAP 2009 will supersede SAP 2005 in 2010, offering an updated calculation method. We will prepare your assessment of performance and FiT Illustration using SAP 2009 figures, however we also provided SAP 2005 assessment for your information.