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 Frequently asked questions

If you've got a question that isn't in the list below, send it to us through our contact form. (We really will get back to you!)


What does a solar PV system cost?

The installed cost of a PV system will depend upon the roof type, the size of the system, the type of module used and how the system is mounted. See our page on Factors Affecting Output.  The price of solar PV has gone down dramatically however and we now offer quality domestic systems from £3,995.

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Is solar power still a good investment?

Yes! Solar is still a great investment and is better than investing your money in some saving accounts or ISA's. The price of solar panels keeps going down and the FIT can provide an attractive source of income. If you are looking for an ethical place to put your money then solar PV  will benefit you and the planet.

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How long does it take to install the average system?

The average domestic system is 4kWp and will take one to two days to install.

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What is an EPC?

An EPC is an energy performance certificate that assesses how energy efficient your home is. In order to qualify for a FIT you have to have an EPC rating of D or above.

Our staff are qualified to undertake EPC assessments.

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Are there any hidden costs?

Everybody's installation is unique, but we strive to ensure that everything is as transparent as possible.  Just phone us if you have any questions.

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What does PV mean?

PV is short for photovoltaic, pronounced fotovoltayik, which comes from Latin: photo (meaning light) + voltaic (meaning energy).

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What is an export tariff?

It is the payment that you receive from your utility company for your unused electricity. From August 1st 2012 you will receive 4.5p/kWh. You are entitled to receive this or you also have the opportunity to opt out of this fixed price and try to negotiate a better rate with your electricity supplier. You have the opportunity each year to decide whether to accept the floor price or to opt out.

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How does it work?

Solar PV generates electricity from daylight. The more light that shines on them the more energy they produce. See our explanations of how a solar cell works and how solar cells work as an array in a solar system.

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What happens if things go wrong?

If you have any concerns about your system, or you think that it's not generating what it should, then get in touch and we will send someone out to resolve the problem.

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Are there solar tiles or panels to suit me?

There are different colour and sizes of PV roof materials to suit every need. They can either be fixed above your existing roof or integrated into the roof as the weather proofing material. Plug Into The Sun even offer a solar slate that looks like a conventional slate but produces electricity. See examples of the variety of tiles and panels available.

Solar panels are stylish and make a bold statement about who you are and your passion to reduce pollution. They also increase the value of your home.

We will advise you on the best option for you.

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How much space do I need?

You need 8m2 to produce 1kWp.

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What is the difference between solar thermal and solar power?

Solar thermal uses the heat of the sun to warm water which can be used to in radiators or directly in a bath or shower. Solar power uses solar cells to convert solar heat energy into electricity to power electrical appliances.

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How much energy does a solar array produce?

Each kWp of Solar PV produces between 800 and 1200kWh per year depending on numerous factors.

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Will solar power protect me from power bill increases?

The prices of oil and other non-renewable sources of energy are on the increase. This trend will continue into the future, getting more dramatic as shortages of supply increase. The price of your electricity from solar will never increase as the fuel is free and infinite!

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What grants are available?

New grant applications for domestic installations were suspended by the Government on 3 February 2010 but from 1 April 2010 all new installations will be receiving substantial payments for all electricity they produce.

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Can I get paid for generating electricity?

Yes! With increasing utility prices, wouldn't it be nice to receive a cheque rather than a bill? With the Government Feed In Tariff, now you can. A Feed In Tariff (FIT) is a Government incentive scheme to encourage uptake of Micro-generation. At the moment electricity utility companies are obliged to buy renewable electricity at fixed above-market rates set by the Government.

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What is the Feed In Tariff?

A Feed In Tariff (FIT) is a Government incentive scheme to encourage uptake of Micro-generation.  Electricity utility companies are obliged to buy renewable electricity at fixed above-market rates set by the Government. 

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Does solar power reduce pollution?

Absolutely. The major contributor to global warming is the emissions of carbon dioxide from power stations burning fossil fuels. This is changing our climate and causing more severe weather patterns around the whole planet. Every time we use our electricity we are contributing to this massive problem. Everyone needs to do their bit!

The use of fossil fuels and nuclear energy has dramatic impacts on the local and global environment. The less dependant we become on utility giants and the global energy markets the closer we are to creating a more sustainable future.

By installing a solar PV system you are opting out of the fossil fuel and the nuclear world and  becoming an independent supplier of clean green electricity for your own use and export to the grid.

Friends of the Earth can tell you about Climate Change.

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How much carbon dioxide will it save?

Electricity produced from fossil fuels, such as oil, coal and gas result in millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. This is one of the main green house gases contributing towards global warming. By installing a PV system on your roof you will be producing your own electricity therefore offsetting the production of carbon dioxide. The emission factor used by Government is 0.43kg of CO2 / kWh.Therefore a typical 2kWp system will save almost 1 tonne of carbon dioxide each year.

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Will I need to get planning permission?

Most domestic and commercial properties will not need planning permission.

Some exceptions however are listed buildings and properties in a National Park, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or a conservation area. In all cases you should contact your local authority to seek clarification.

For all properties you will need to inform your local building control department of the local authority, but they will not normally make a charge for this.

More information may be found in the Government's guidance for planning: Planning: A Guide for Householders.

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What do kWp and kWh mean?

Watts are the units used to measure energy use or production and a kilowatt is a 1000 watts.

kWp stands for kilowatt peak, which is the power that a solar panel will produce if it has ideal conditions. See our explanation of the factors which affect output.

kWh stands for kilowatt hour, which is how many kW (kilowatts) are produced in one hour.

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I've heard that solar panels take more energy to make than they generate in their lifetime, is that true?

No. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the US, have researched this and the average panel will pay back the energy used to manufacture it in less than 4 years, and with a 30 year lifetime that gives 26 years of pollution free energy generation. We also use many UK manufactured solar panels, significantly reducing the carbon footprint of a Plug Into The Sun solar installation.

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