Planning a solar PV installation

MCS, the Microgeneration Certification Scheme Service Company Limited maintains standards for products, installers and installations for solar PV and other renewable technologies. When selecting an installer for a solar PV system, it is important to choose one who is accredited by MCS and is a member of the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC).

A quotation for solar PV must follow standards and guidelines from MCS and RECC. It should include an estimate for the annual solar PV generation and an estimate of the level of self-consumption of solar PV at the property. It is sensible to get at least 3 quotes before choosing your installer. Do not select the installer on cost alone as cheaper components may perform worse and have a shorter lifespan. A local installer is likely to be better able to return and address installation and warranty issues.

A solar PV system can provide a number of different benefits. The residents in a home with a solar PV system are able to use electricity generated from the PV system for free. Between 2010 and March 2019, owners of solar PV systems were able to claim the feed-in tariff. This has now closed to new applicants. New installations are able to claim the Smart Export Guarantee. Here owners of the PV system can receive payments for electricity exported to the grid.

Installation of a single domestic solar PV system has limited impact on the local electricity network. As a result, the local Distribution Network Operator (DNO) allows installers to inform them within 28 days of the installation.

If an installer is planning to fit multiple domestic solar PV systems within 500m, it is necessary to make an enquiry to the DNO before installation. They will carry out an impact assessment before offering a grid connection. This will assess whether it would be necessary to reinforce the electricity network as a result of these installations and whether there would be associated charges.

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