solar panels

Your Eco Director Amanda Spicer featured in Construction News Inspire Me Campaign

Women in Construction

Your Eco Director featured on Construction News Inspire Me Campaign for Women in Construction.

“When diversity policy sits at the heart of our business, 9% increase in profitability.”

Points to Consider when Installing Solar PV

In delivering new build and constructions renewable energy elements there are some key factors that must be considered and are often overlooked, ultimately to the detriment of the client.

  • DNO & Regulatory Compliance – prior to installing a system anything over 3.68 kW per phase must have approval from your local DNO (district network operator) to ensure the local infrastructure can handle the additional load potentially being back fed. Without this connection agreement in place, any installation connected to the grid is at risk of being terminated with the sole authority sitting with the local DNO.
  • Planning Conditions – planning must also be considered within an installation, typically a 1m envelope is required around the sides to comply with Permitted Development. Modules that protrude over the ridgeline on a pitched roof or are greater than 1m in height from the tallest part of the building’s structure on a flat roof will need formal planning consent. Equally any building that is listed or sites within a heritage or conservation zone will need attention. It is always worth confirming the requirement with your local planning office.
  • System Design – it is important to design a system that meets the needs of you the client. There are many considerations here but importantly it is about balancing generation with consumption. The best financial returns are now realised through consuming what you generate hence the system should be tailored to these factors. Whilst steep pitched, south facing elevations create the higher yield, this is limited to a particular window of time within the day hence low-pitched, east/west facing roofs generate for longer periods throughout the day thereby more closely mirroring the load.
  • Structural Calculations – solar panels not only apply additional load to your roof but create wind uplift so you need to be sure your roof can handle the additional pressure. These calculations are provided during the design phase to enable them to be signed off by a structural engineer.
  • Integration with your Structure – your roof and it’s warranty to be dually noted, and in full compliance to avoid invalidation
  • Warranties & Bankability – these are assigned to your system and not the contractor so you are not at the mercy of your installer. You want to take comfort that the manufacturer is here to stay and can underwrite the warranty it provides. It is always recommended that Tier 1 and bankable components are used. Different length warranties are offered and it is always proposed that the following minimum periods are sought; Modules – 10-year product & 25-year performance / Inverters – 10-year product* / Mounting – 10-year product

* inverters are most likely to fail hence an inverter swap out provision is always suggested. 

  • DC Isolation and Fire Risks – increasingly common now are unforeseen issues and costs post installation relating to a significant uplift in your building insurance due to additional risks fire risks posed by the DC side of the installation, known as DC arcing. In some areas such as London, fire crews will no longer put out fires if they can’t be sure that the PV system can be isolated at roof level. Typically DC cables run from the roof to the inverter(s) in a plant room, however by installation optimizers at roof level this provides isolation at panel and roof level thereby mitigating the risk and minimising any significant uplift on your insurance.
  • Quality & Cost – many of the factors and potential additional costs set out above are ‘hidden’ and don’t necessarily come to fruition until your installation has been completed. It is often then too late to recoup these costs from your contracted company and you are left with an unexpected bill. It should also be noted that solar PV contractors are often twice removed from yourself the client (main contractor – (M&E consultant) – M&E contractor – PV contractor) hence significant additional ‘costs’ and margins are often applied. All of these ultimately adversely affect your returns. It is why we at your Eco Construction always prefer to engage with you from the onset and to work directly with clients, developers and architects alike to maximise your return and meet your requirements whilst reducing costs and ensuring quality throughout. It’s an investment to be realised and one for which you need a partner you can trust.

Get in touch today on info@yourecouk.com or the form below if you or your business is ready to go solar as well?

Your Eco’s Nick Spicer featured in iNews on ‘Making Money with Solar Panels for your Home’

An estimated 1.5 million homes in the UK are now powered by solar energy, with many Britons choosing to install panels onto their properties to take advantage of the government’s Feed In Tariff (FIT) scheme. Introduced in April 2010, the scheme allows households and small producers to make money by installing solar panels. The FIT pays 4p for every unit generated, with potential annual earnings of £140. You’ll also save money on your electricity bills for the energy you do use.

However, as Nick Spicer, director at Your Eco observes, the savings made by going ‘off grid’ remain substantial. Spicer says: “These days, the drivers for domestic solar are very much self-reliance and saving money by not having to buy energy from utility companies – which can be substantial over the long term. The FIT scheme is less important.” Household solar energy explained Maximum annual solar capacity allowed for small producers under FIT scheme: 50kW Average annual solar capacity of a UK household: 4kW Average units of energy created per 1kW: 900 kWh Average annual units created by a household: 3,600 kWh

The rapidly decreasing cost of solar panels has – along with the FIT scheme – been one of the driving factors behind increased installation in recent years. Your Eco estimates it now costs around £1,250 per 1 kW of capacity to install solar panels onto a UK home. With the average home requiring around 4kW’s of capacity, this brings the total cost to around £5,000. This, Spicer says, compares to around £12,000 to install a solar panel system in 2010 and is one of the justifications the government has given for reducing the FIT rate: He says: “The FIT was always designed to help people recoup the costs of installing solar. Now those costs are much lower the government has – rightly or wrongly – reduced it’s funding.”

Is solar still worth it if I can’t get FIT? As Spicer highlights, FIT is no longer the chief driver behind solar. With the cost of installation standing at £5,000 and – according to Which? research – the average UK energy bill around £1,150, over ten years each household could be looking at an estimated cost saving of £6,500. And this is not accounting for energy price hikes, which we have – in-fact – just seen. Spicer says: “Today, the attractions of domestic solar energy are no about short-term government subsidies. They are about escaping the clutches of the big six energy companies, becoming energy self sufficient and – of course – fighting climate change.”

Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/inews-lifestyle/money/solar-panels-how-to-make-money-powering-your-home/