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Rheinegold Contracts Ltd are an MCS Accredited installer for PV systems. We pride ourselves on our quality of work, customer care and continuing support to customers.


Unlike many companies, with all our products we don't just install, we try to work with you to ensure you are fully informed and help you to make the right decision for you and your future.


We hope this section provides you with enough information to evaluate if a PV system is for you. If so, we hope you will recognise the effort we have made in trying to clearly explain the system, its operation and how this attention to detail will reflect in our installation work on your property.


Based on current tariff rates* and panel performance solar PV could earn you over £700 per year and over £17,000 in its lifetime.


Pleased do not hesitate to contact us for further information or a survey and quote.


*April 2014


The system


Solar panel electricity systems, also known as solar photovoltaic (PV), capture the sun's energy using photovoltaic cells. PV cells don't need direct sunlight to work, they can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day. The cells convert the sunlight into electricity, which can be used to run household appliances and lighting or exported to the electricity grid.


PV panels can help to cut your electricity bills, after all sunlight is free! Once you have paid for the initial installation your electricity costs will be reduced.


In addition to reducing your electricity bills you also get paid for the electricity you generate through the government's Feed-In Tariffs (FIT's).


Feed in tariffs let you sell electricity back to the grid. If your system produces more electricity than you need, or when you can't / don't use it, you are able to sell the surplus back to the grid.


PV systems help you to cut your carbon footprint, solar electricity is green! Solar energy is classed as renewables energy and doesn't release any harmful carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.


The Energy Saving Trust have calculated – a typical home solar PV system could save over a tonne of carbon dioxide per year – that's more than 30 tonnes over its lifetime.


Techno bit!


PV cells are made from many layers of semi-conducting material, usually silicon. When light shines on these cells it creates an electric field across the layers. The stronger the sunshine, the more electricity is produced. A large number of cells are connected together in panels and these can be mounted on your, preferably south, south west or south east facing house roof, garage roof or even on frames in that sunny spot of the garden you can't sit in!


The power of a PV cell is measured in kilowatts peak (kWp). This is the rate at which it generates energy at peak performance in full direct sunlight during the summer. The number of panels and therefore the total kWp of a PV system depends on a number of things, size of roof, number of panels, output of panels, this is why our surveyors are well trained making them able to calculate the best option for you. As an independent installer we are not tied to specific manufacturers panels therefore can pick the best system for you.


Costs


We aim to design an average domestic solar PV system to be as close to 4kWp as possible. Systems of 4kWp are more cost effective than smaller systems, however sometimes, even using the highest power panels we can get, if you have a small roof 4kWp may not be possible – but we will do our best!


On average a PV system fully installed costs between £6,000 and £8,000 (including VAT at 5%). Each system is individually surveyed and priced to give you maximum generation. It is fair to say equipment costs have fallen over the last year, however, quality does vary significantly between installers, and more importantly products. If you are comparing quotes you need to be sure you are comparing like for like. We will not install PV system equipment that is not MCS accredited, proven and reliable.

Installation


The installation of PV systems is overseen by MCS an independent body established by the Government to regulate the industry. MCS stipulate how the system must be designed, mounted, sealed and connected. MCS annually audit its installers to maintain high standards. www.microgenerationcertification.org/


The installation in brief :-


Following the erection of scaffold...


Specific roof tiles are removed and brackets fastened to the main roof joists, don't forget a survey has already been carried out to ensure your roof structure is sound and will take the additional weight of the system.


All brackets, mounting rails and fixings are either aluminium or stainless steel making them corrosion and weather resistant.


Once the brackets are firmly attached the tiles are replaced and sealed with lead flashing to ensure there will be no water ingress.


Mounting rails are fastened to the brackets, panels checked to ensure they are generating at the stipulated capacity and then the panels mounted on the rails.


The panels are linked together by waterproof sockets and the final panel has a cable passing through a sealed conduit into your loft space, where the inverter is mounted.


A final total generation check is carried out before the system is connected to the inverter. All electrical work is carried out by an NICEIC qualified electrician.


The inverter converts the Direct Current (DC) generated by the PV panel into Alternating Current (AC) used by your electrical appliances and by the electricity grid.


Once converted from DC to AC the PV system is wired into your electrical distribution board with a meter showing the amount of electricity generated.


Isolating switches and warning labels are installed at various points in the system ensuring it remains safe for you and any future contractors working in the property.


The full installation process usually takes two days depending on weather conditions.


Once installed the system is checked and certified enabling you to claim the Feed in Tariff.


Green Deal finance for PV


PV technology is an eligible measure under the UK government's Green Deal which is a financing mechanism that lets people pay for energy-efficiency improvements through savings on their energy bills. Rheinegold are able to access to Green Deal finance if required. For further information see our Green Deal page or look on www.gov.uk/green-deal-energy-saving-measures


PV is not currently eligible for the Governments Cash Back Scheme (March 2014). However, to check up to date information use this link: gdcashback.decc.gov.uk/


Savings*


A 4kWp system can generate around 3,700 kilowatt hours of electricity a year – roughly equivalent to a typical household's base electricity needs. It will save nearly two tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.


*Energy Saving Trust Figures.


Once your system is registered for the Feed in Tariff (FIT's)based on a 4kWp solar PV system it could generate savings and income of around £750 (April 1st 2014 onwards). You will get paid for both the electricity you generate and use and what you don't use and export to the grid.


When applying for FITs you will need to show evidence of your property's Energy Performance Certificate this will be calculated at the time of the survey for your PV system.


Maintenance


Solar PV systems need very little maintenance – you will need to keep the panels relatively clean and trim any trees that begin to overshadow the panels. Panels are tilted at approximately 15° or more and have the benefit of being cleaned by rainfall helping to ensure optimal performance.


Ground mounted panels are more likely to accumulate debris and tend to need more cleaning than roof mounted systems.


If dust, debris or bird droppings do accumulate on your panels they should be removed with warm soapy water and a brush or a high pressure hose. Rheinegold do offer an annual cleaning service if required, please ask for details.


The panels should last 25 years or more, but the inverter is likely to need replacing some time during this period.


What Next?


We hope this page has provided you with some clear and understandable information on PV systems and has helped you decide if a PV system is for you.


If you would like to ask further questions, book a survey and a free no obligation quote please contact the Rheinegold office.


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