Renewables FAQ

Getting Started

  1. Will I be eligible to receive the tariff if I move into a home that receives payments?

    FiT eligibility remains with the installation, even if the ownership of the home or generating technology changes. Therefore the technology must have been eligible before you move in, even if it is not registered yet. This applies to all green technologies under the feed-in tariff, renewable heat incentive and Green Deal mechanism. If you're unsure about how the technology and incentive mechanism works, make sure you check with the vendor before you move in.
  2. What’s the difference between PV and other solar technologies?

    Photovoltaic means electricity from light. A solar PV system uses the natural energy from daylight in the form of solar radiation to generate electricity. This is different technology to solar thermal systems used for heating and hot water.
  3. There is not much sun in the UK - will solar still work?

    Yes. Solar photovoltaics works using light, and not necessarily sun light. This means that a solar PV or solar thermal system can function in cooler and often cloudier countries. However you will of course generate more energy at sunnier times of the year. Read more →

General

  1. I rent. If my landlord installs green technology, who benefits?

    It will be up to landlords and tenants of domestic or commercial properties to come to an arrangement about the receipt of payments and on-site electricity use benefits. Under usual circumstances the landlord would receive the feed-in tariff payments while the tenants would benefit from the free energy and bill reductions. These benefits are different for each technology type. Read more →
  2. What happens if I move home?

    Ownership of the technology is linked to the site and, therefore, in the case where a building or homeownership changes, the ownership of the technology would also transfer to the new owner. This is the case for solar PV, solar thermal and Green Deal installations.

Feed-in Tariff

  1. Why does the feed-in tariff have to be cut?

    The feed-in tariff rates were introduced to increase the uptake of renewable technologies in the UK. As the cost of these technologies comes down, so too will the incentive levels. This is why the tariffs for solar PV have come down so much in the past two years - as solar component prices have more than halved.
  2. What are the current feed-in tariff rates?

    The table below shows the feed-in tariff rates available to all systems installed between January 1 2014 and 1 April 2014: Read more →

Solar PV

  1. The history of solar cells

    The history of solar cells begins in the 19th century when French physicist Alexandre Edmond Becquerel observed the he photovoltaic effect via an electrode in a conductive solution exposed to light. Since then, the progress of solar cells has had an exciting journey up to the present day. Today, solar energy technology is playing a significant role in a world which requires a renewable energy source.

    Explore the interactive timeline below to discover key moments in the history of solar cells.
    Read more →
  2. Solar Power Portal’s Top 10 PV Tips

    Worried about cowboys? Scared you will get convinced to buy something you’re not sure about? Make sure you read Solar Power Portal’s top tips on choosing the right solar installer before you make the decision to install your own energy system.

    Read more →

  3. My system is not connected to the electricity grid. Can I still claim the feed-in tariff?

    Yes you will be eligible to receive a generation tariff at the tariff rate that is applicable for the type and capacity of the generating technology. You will also have to sign a declaration stating that all of the electricity generated on site will be used and not wasted. You will not be eligible to receive the export tariff.
  4. Will I need a special meter to be able to claim FiTs?

    When your solar installation is fitted your installer will fit a meter which will help you to keep track of how much solar energy you are generating. This will also be used to calculate your feed-in tariff payments, which are paid per kilowatt hour of energy generated. You will also receieve a smaller amount for every kilowatt hour of energy exported to the National Grid. There are several different types of meter used in the UK, you can ask your installer to talk you through the type they use and to expain how it works.

  5. How can I get FREE solar power?

    You may have heard that some solar companies in the UK are offering to install panels on your roof for free. This is not a trick, it is genuinely happening. In fact, thousands of UK homes are now benefitting from these schemes.

    Read more →
  6. Do I need planning permission for a PV system?

    In most cases, you do not need planning permission to install a residential solar system, however it is always advisable to check with your local council to avoid future problems. With larger-scale installations the policy is slightly different.

    Read more →
  7. Where can I install my system?

    Maximum output comes from south facing systems between 30-40 degrees from horizontal. A PV system should not be installed in shade as this will decrease the output from the system. Although most systems are installed on a roof, they can be installed on any surface such as facades, sunshades, garages or ground mounted. They are normally installed in locations that receive sunshine through most of the day.
  8. How much electricity will I make?

    Each kilowatt peak (kWp) of PV installed in the UK will produce on average around 800kWh a year. This varies with geographical location and your accredited installer will be able to estimate your system output depending on the solar radiation levels in your area. You can view all of the certified installers in your area in our Directory.
  9. How long will my system last?

    Solar panels have a manufacturer's warranty of 25 years and a working lifetime of 40 years and beyond. However the lifetime can of course vary from system to system. Inverters however, usually need replacing every 10-15 years.
  10. What does a PV system contain?

    Solar PV systems are most commonly made from silicon, usually in crystalline form. Although there are cheaper, more aesthetic options moving into the market. The modules (sometimes referred to as solar panels) are made from PV cells usually behind glass that are linked together in series to generate power output in the form of direct current (DC). A number PV modules can be connected together to give the desired electrical output.
  11. Why should I go solar?

    By installing a solar PV system you will be generating clean green electricity from the free energy of the sun. You will then reduce your electricity bills by not paying as much for your energy, but you will also earn money through the UK feed-in tariff scheme, launched on April 1 2010, and through the export tariff. Installing a PV system will also help reduce greenhouse gases as energy use associated with buildings accounts for around 50 percent of UK carbon emissions.
  12. How much will this cost me?

    The cost of a solar PV installation varies depending on the system size, type and location. The average price for a 4kW system (June 2012) ranges from £6,000 - £10,000. There are loans available to help with the cost of the system, and all UK homeowners are now eligible for the feed-in tariff which pays you for the energy you produce. Read more →
  13. What is a feed-in tariff or FiT?

    The Feed-in Tariff (FiT) - known as the 'Clean Energy Cash-Back Scheme' in the UK - is a Government-backed scheme that pays you for producing renewable electricity. There are two ways that the tariffs can help you make money from generating your own energy... Read more →

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