Solar Photovoltaic

Energy Costs& Sustainability are now the permanent feature of the business landscape. Many businesses and public sector organisations have already taken measures to cut energy consumption with an aim to reduce costs and improve their carbon footprint.

Solar PV is one of the leading solutions available, especially favoured for its flexibility of installation in a wide range of different locations.

Photovoltaic systems (PV system) use solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity. A system is made up of one or more solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, a DC/AC power converter (also known as an inverter), a racking system that holds the solar panels, electrical interconnections, and mounting for other components.

Direct or diffuse light shining on the Solar PV cells induces the photovoltaic effect, generating direct current (DC) electrical power. This electricity can be converted to alternating current (AC) power for use in the building or it can be exported to a utility company through the national grid connection. Under the UK government Feed in Tariffs scheme qualifying individuals or groups who install Solar PV can benefit from regular payments.

Feed-In Tariff (FIT) Scheme*

The Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) scheme was introduced on 1 April 2010, under powers in the Energy Act 2008. Through the use of FITs, DECC hopes to encourage deployment of additional small-scale (less than 5MW) low-carbon electricity generation, particularly by organisations, businesses, communities and individuals that have not traditionally engaged in the electricity market.

This will allow many people to invest in small-scale low-carbon electricity, in return for a guaranteed payment from an electricity supplier of their choice for the electricity they generate and use as well as a guaranteed payment for unused surplus electricity they export back to the grid.

FITs work alongside the Renewables Obligation (RO) – which is currently the primary mechanism to support deployment of large-scale renewable electricity generation – and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which supports generation of heat from renewable sources at all scales.

Benefits of FITs

There are three financial benefits from FITs:

  • Generation Tariff – The electricity supplier will pay you for each unit (kilowatt) of electricity generated.
  • Export Tariff – If you generate electricity that you don’t use yourself, you can export it back to the grid. You will be paid for exporting electricity as an additional payment (on top of the generation tariff).
  • Energy bill savings – You won’t have to import as much electricity from your supplier because a proportion of what you use you will have generated yourself, you will see this impact on your electricity bill.

Eligible systems

To claim the Feed-In Tariff, the system needs to meet a few simple criteria:

  • Installer must be accredited with the Micro generation Certification Scheme (MCS).
  • Panels must also be MCS approved, and must be new – second-hand or reconditioned equipment isn’t eligible.
  • Energy supplier must offer FIT payments. The big six suppliers – British Gas, EDF, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power or Scottish & Southern Energy – are legally obliged to make payments, and many (though not all) smaller suppliers have opted in to the scheme. You can check yours is on the list here.

Registering for FITs

Registering for payments is simple. First we’ll add you to the central MCS database, and then send you a certificate confirming your system complies with MCS standards. Next, you’ll need to tell your electricity supplier you’d like to register for the FIT and send them a completed application form along with your MCS certificate and the energy performance certificate. Don’t worry; we’ll help with all the paperwork.

Your electricity supplier will check your installation against the MCS database, confirm that the system’s eligible and add you to the Ofgem Central FIT Register. They’ll also let you know when they need you to give meter readings, and tell you when to expect payment.

Building Integrated PV

Solar PV cells can be grouped together to form Solar PV panels and used to generate electricity on the various features of a building envelope. Building Integrated PV systems, not only produce electricity to run a building’s electrical systems, but also form an integral part of the building envelope. The individual Solar PV cells are connected together and can be framed in panels or laminated onto to glass and other building products.

The Future of Solar PV

As more and more architects and building professionals are gaining experience in the integration of Solar PV systems into the built environment, this relatively technology has begun to blend, almost imperceptibly, into the urban and rural landscapes.

Dimension 9 is one of the UK’s leading Energy Consultancy which partners with specialist designers and installers of Solar Photovoltaic and other leading Renewable Energy Technologies. We have long-standing experience in meeting the renewable energy needs of businesses and institutions on a project by project basis to develop the most efficient, and most importantly, affordable solar photovoltaic solutions.

Dimension 9 will assist at every step, from explaining the FIT incentive and any other possible grants available to you, to specifying systems that are suitable to your needs and budget.

For further information or advice on Solar Photovoltaic&Other Renewable EnergyTechnologies please contact DIMENSION 9 on +44 (0) 845 459 7869 or on info@dimension9.co.uk

*Feed-In Tariff is government initiative only available to United Kingdom Clients