About Solar Electric (Photovoltaic) Panels
Photovoltaic (PV) or solar electric panels generate electrical power when exposed to light. They offer the ability to provide electricity in a clean, quiet and renewable way. Although the daylight needed to generate the electricity is free, the equipment can be expensive. You need to make sure that it's really worth the cost before you install it.
To gain the most benefit from the system it is essential to mount the panels at between 30° and 50° on a south facing roof that is not overshadowed by trees, chimneys or surrounding buildings.
Surplus electricity is exported on to the Grid. Northern Ireland Electricity will buy exported electricity and you can apply for a Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROCs) which could earn you money for the energy you produce. It is however more beneficial to use the electricity generated directly rather than export it to the grid.
PV panels can be manufactured in different forms e.g. standard panels, panels in the shape of roof tiles and in the form of external cladding etc.
The average sized three bedroom house might expect to install 1.5kW of PV panels which would cover an area of about 12m². We have installed photovoltaic panels in a number of locations, including rural cottages and flats.
Panels should be installed on a South facing roof (South West to South East).
Overshading from trees, chimneys, higher buildings etc should be avoided as this will decrease efficiency.
Panels should be installed at an angle of between 30° and 50° for maximum solar benefit.
1.5kW would normally be installed on an average sized house which would cover an area of 12m².
PV panels are available in different forms i.e. as normal flat panels, as roof tiles, as external cladding etc.
PV panels are normally connected to the electricity network, and consent must be obtained from NIE to install any device that generates electricity and is grid connected. Your installer should be able to arrange this.
NIE will reimburse you for electricity that is spilled back on to the grid, although it is more cost effective to use the electricity on site provided it is required. Washing machines, dishwashers etc. should be used during daylight hours, especially around lunchtime when there is maximum light and the panels are generating the most electricity, rather than in the evening, when little or no electricity is generated.
You may be eligible for a grant to install your solar thermal panels. The PV Panels for the Feed In Tarriff, however, are under review for grant assistance becoming available in northern ireland. Call Our office on 028 867 51049 for more information.