Chelsfield Solar FAQs


What is solar PV?
Solar PV is a silent source of renewable energy without any of the toxic side effects of conventional electricity production. It produces electricity from the sun at the point of demand e.g. at your property. It will work in low light conditions, even in UK wintertime, but the amount of solar power produced will vary with the amount of daylight.

With a solar panel PV system your property will use the emission free electricity at the time of production, providing you have electrical appliances requiring electricity at that time, and the excess unused electricity will automatically be exported to the National Grid. The average household will produce much more power than needed in the long summer months – this energy cannot be stored with a grid connected PV system. Typically, when you then consume electricity, the outgoing/incoming power can be measured and you only pay for any additional power used and supplied by your electricity provider.
How does it work?
A solar PV panel (module) is a device, which produces electricity when exposed to light. If you decide to have a solar PV system installed, a number of these modules will be fitted together, normally on the roof and will be connected to the fuse board in your property. During the hours of daylight, this PV array will produce energy that is fed to the lights and plug sockets etc where it is used in the usual way. If you don’t use all the solar electricity you produce, the surplus is fed back into the national grid and it will pop back up at a neighbouring property for them to use (they will pay for it in the normal way). If you need more electricity than the solar PV system is producing, then you will simply pull the power from your mains electricity provider. All of this happens automatically, so you wont notice anything different other than smaller electricity bills.

Check out our Guide to Solar to gain a greater understanding of solar PV technology.
What about the weather in the UK?
This is not too much of a problem! It is light rather than heat that creates electricity although more solar electricity is produced in the summer months, as the days are longer. Solar panels are actually happy in cold climates and for example on a sunny (but cold) day in January they can produce the same amount of electricity per sunlight hour as in June.
How much does it cost?
Chelsfield Solar are committed to providing all our customers with the most cost effective and efficient solar PV system for their property. Project costs vary dependent on any one of a number of factors not least the type of roof to which the system will be fitted. For example:

Framed solar PV panels (‘retrofit’) installed on top of an existing roof are the most common.

Semi-integrated solar PV panels may be fitted within the roof covering with the conventional roof tiles around.

Integrated solar PV tiles are another option where the solar PV tiles form the actual roof covering.

Integrated and semi-integrated using solar PV panels or solar PV roof tiles tend to be installed on new rather than existing roofs as the costs for removing a perfectly adequate existing roof covering can be prohibitive.

We always offer a bespoke solution and only make recommendations for installation if this is viable for the customer. Please complete our Online Assessment form and we will then be able to provide you with a detailed estimate for your project.
Is it safe?
Yes it is.

Solar PV systems do not emit any toxic chemicals and there are no moving parts. All fixing methods we employ have been approved by independent chartered structural engineers for use on new-build or existing roofs.
How long has solar PV technology been around?
In 1838 the photoelectric effect was discovered by physicist Edmund Becquerel although it wasn’t until the 1950’s that the technology was developed enough to produce efficient working cells. During the 50’s and 60’s solar PV was put on satellites and sent into orbit but it was still too expensive for general use.

The next few decades brought better technology with lower prices and solar PV was installed in worldwide remote villages to provide electricity for where there was no supply. Grid-connected solar PV has had a massive growth since 1990’s in the more developed countries of the world.
How long will a solar system last?
There is no reason that a solar PV system shouldn’t last the lifetime of the building, as there are no moving or wearing parts in the panels.

To support this, the solar panel manufacturers generally have a guarantee of twenty five years. In addition, the inverter (converts the electricity from DC to useable AC) that is part of the system has a guarantee of 5 years and we provide a 5-year installation guarantee. The inverter guarantee can be extended at various costs for increased time limits. All the materials we use have been selected in accordance with British Standards so that they will not rust or deteriorate with age.
What is the efficiency of the solar panels?
There are many different types of solar panel technology and the size of available roof space, angle to the sun, pitch of the roof and budget will have an effect of how much solar electricity you can produce. For an overview of the different solar panel technology please see our Guide to Solar pages.
Are there any planning issues?
Planning requirements for renewable energy installations were relaxed in April ’08 and the majority of solar PV installations now fall within ‘permitted development rights’. You would need to contact your local planning authority and advise them of your intention to install a solar electric system and in most cases this notification is sufficient to obtain planning consent. A full Planning Permission application may be required if the property is in a Conservation Area or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You will need sort out any local council planning requirements.

We recommend you contact your local council’s Planning Department after we have surveyed your property and have confirmed what size of system we could install. Should you then need any information to pass to your local council we will be pleased to assist.
What to do if I am interested?
To ensure your building will be suitable for solar PV we ask you to complete an Assessment Form. From the information you provide we can initially ascertain if solar PV will be appropriate and what options are available to you given the roof space, orientation, roof pitch and your budget.
What is an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate)?
EPC’s relate to the energy performance of buildings. They were initially introduced in August 2007 as part of the Home Information Packs (HIP’s) although this requirement was removed in May 2010. If you bought your property in this period you should already have a valid EPC and this would be useful information to share with Chelsfield Solar when you make an enquiry. From April 2012, in order to get the higher FIT rate your home needs to reach a Level D or above. Over 50% of homes already reach this level and if yours does not, the addition of a solar PV system can get it to this level as can e.g. insulation or low energy light-bulbs.
What happens with repairs and maintenance?
Generally, a solar PV system installed by Chelsfield Solar does not require any maintenance. We only use good quality components from established companies and do not cut corners with any part of our installations. On the rare occasion that a component does fail, we will of course repair the system in accordance with our workmanship guarantee, which is in addition to the solar PV panel and inverter guarantees.

For information on repairs and maintenance for solar PV systems installed by others please see our Repairs and Maintenance page.