Installing solar panels on your home or business premises is a great way to generate your own electricity, saving you money and helping the environment. While you may be tempted to think that fitting solar panels is a complex and difficult process, if you work with the right people it’s really fairly straightforward. In most cases, solar panels are fitted to the roof of a property, so if you have a roof over your head, chances are you can fit solar panels to it.
A tilted roof is ideal, as the solar panels work best when fitted at an angle. A tilt of between 30-50 degrees is optimum for maximum year-round performance, but the panels will still work outside of this. If you have a flat roof, you can choose to mount the panels on a tilted frame in order to optimize their efficiency.
Solar panels are generally rectangular in shape and measure somewhere in the region of 1m x 1.5m each. They can be mounted horizontally or vertically (“portrait” or “landscape” if you like) and the modular nature of a solar panel system means it is relatively easy to design an array to fit any shape or size of roof. As they are flat and fit flush with your roof surface, an added bonus is that they keep the look of your property intact.
The panels will be most effective facing due south, but will work perfectly well facing to the south east or south west. Installing solar panels facing north is not recommended as they will not get enough direct sunlight to operate efficiently.
Light and shade
When assessing the suitability of your roof for solar panels, you need to take into account any surrounding features, such as trees or chimney stacks, that might cast a shadow on the panels. It’s generally not advisable to install panels in direct shade as they won’t work as effectively.
In the vast majority of cases, no planning permission is required to fit solar panels. With the government keen to encourage the use of renewable energy sources, you should have no problems as long as your panels don’t protrude by more than 200mm (which most won’t). It is always wise to double check with your local authority though, especially if you occupy a listed building or live in a conservation area.
Finding the right people for the job
A great way to get started is to fill in our quick and simple form. You will then receive quotes from up to 3 reputable local suppliers of solar panels. All of our suppliers are fully MCS accredited and have a reputation for excellent service. They will be able to help you with any technical questions but you may also find the guide below useful when determining the suitability of your premises for solar panels.