FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Do you have any questions about how The Eco Experts quote process works or perhaps more general questions about solar energy in the UK? Then please consult of FAQ below.
The Eco Experts
Who Are The Eco Eco Experts
The Eco Experts offer advice on promoting sustainable living and Green technology. We provide a wealth of information for you to enjoy on all aspects on the Green agenda and aim to assist you no matter what stage you are at on the Eco cycle. If you are looking for information on the latest Eco friendly products or are looking for a supplier of Solar panels near you we intend on providing you with whatever tools you need.
Our aim is to help people interested in reducing their carbon footprint get on their way and our Comparison tool just that.
How Does The Eco Experts Quote Process Work?
After completing the form at the top of the page, you receive a call from one of our UK team for a quick talk on all of your requirements. The call shouldn’t take any longer than 2 minutes and by the end of the call we will be able to connect you with 4 local suppliers all able to give you a competitive quote for you to think through. All our suppliers are MCS accredited so you can be sure that you are in good hands, there is absolutely no obligation to accept any of your quotes and the service is completely free to use.
Which Installers Do The Eco Experts Work With?
We work with around 150 MCS accredited partners in the UK. That may seem like a lot, but we match each individual enquiry with up to 4 solar companies to give a breadth of choice. Out of around 5,000 solar companies in the UK, we work only with the companies we feel are most reliable, have been suitable checked and tested and are able to deliver a quality of service that we would be happy with recommending.
General Solar Energy Questions
What Are Solar Panels Made Of?
Solar panels are made up of cells which have a layer of silicon in them that converts light energy into electricity. There are three different types of silicon including monocrystalline , polycrystalline and amorphous.
Monocrystalline is the most efficient, though panels using this may cost more.
Polycrystalline is less expensive; however the panels tend to be larger and less efficient.
Amorphous panels are the cheapest and more effective in low light conditions. They are also much more flexible and can be bent or twisted to fit in awkward locations. However, their lifetime is not generally as long as mono or polycrystalline silicon panels and their overall efficiency is lower.
What Is The Solar Declination Angle?
This is the measure of how far away your panel is from the equator. You will need to take it into account when deciding on the angle you want your solar panel to be installed at.
What Makes Solar Energy Green? Why Is It Good?
Solar Energy harnesses the natural power of the sun, not only does it mean the electricity you are using is clean because fossils fuels aren't burned to make it, it is also renewable and abundant. You can also save money as you are not forking out for ever increasing energy bills and Government incentives can help you even more. Read more about the financial benefits of Solar Energy.
Do Solar Panels Need To Face South?
It is important your panel faces the south so it can absorb as much sunlight as possible, and in turn generate as much electricity for you as possible. Remember Solar Panels work off of daylight and not heat so to get the best results they should be exposed to as much light as possible. If your not sure if your roof is suitable you can find some more information on what the criteria is for Solar Panels.
Who Can Have Solar Panels?
Solar Panels are open to all as long as you meet some basic criteria that you can find here. A homeowner can install an 4kw panel which should provide all the electricity their family needs, however churches, schools and farms are just a few of the structures that are also eligible to benefit from the installing Solar Panels.
Where Does Solar Energy Work Best?
Solar panels will work anywhere in the UK as long as they are on a south facing roof. Depending on where the panel is, it can be tilted towards the sun at different angles so it works at maximum efficiency.To speak to a MCS accredited specialist just complete the online form and someone will be in contact.
Where Can I Buy Solar Panels?
See that form at the top of The Eco Experts website? That's your first step to getting solar panels:
(i) Fill in the form
(ii) We'll ring you to confirm your interest
(iii) You'll be matched up to 4 local solar specialists.
Many people who have discovered our website have had solar panels installed within 48 hours. Our website is free to use and there is no obligation to buy. Read Solar Panel testimonials and see just some of the people the Eco Experts have been able to help on their Solar journey.
What Solar Panels Should I Buy?
The solar company you choose to install your panels will procure them for you, so you don't have to be an expert. There are a number of good solar panel manufacturers out there: SANYO, LG, Yingli, Solarcentury, Panasonic… There is a long list, and the important factor isn't necessarily whether or not you've heard of them, it's how long they've been producing solar panels.
Can I Mix Different Solar Panels?
Yes you can, so long as they are all the same voltage, and so long as you're wiring in parallel so that if one panel fails the others will still function. However we recommend you always use MCS accredited suppliers, as doing it yourself can result in far inferior energy production.
Do I Qualify For Solar Panels?
If you are the property owner and so long as your roof is not north-facing, you potentially qualify for solar panels. If you live in a conservation area or in a listed property you should check with your local council to see if you need planning permission.
Can I Have Solar Panels In A Conservation Area?
You potentially need planning permission. The argument will probably be over the look of the solar panels and whether or not they are in keeping with the rest of the conservation area. The good news is that there are now tailored solar panels on the market which fit into the design of buildings, seamlessly replacing roof tiles, for instance.
Price/Cost of Solar Panels
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?
We approximate about £2,000 per kW, but panels are often cheaper as silicone prices – PV panels are made from silicone – have dropped significantly in the past year or so. Most residential PV systems are 3kW or 4kW. Read more on the latest solar panel costs.
Why Are Solar Panels So Expensive?
The panels themselves aren't all that expensive when you consider they last for 40 years, provide much cheaper electricity, and qualify for a 20-year feed-in tariff that gives roughly a 10% ROI and, in cash terms, a combined savings and earnings of £900 or so per year. The cost is not just for the PV panels, it's for the installation too. A badly installed PV panel is no good to anyone!
When Will Solar Panels Be Cost Effective?
The fact is, they've been cost effective for years, and as technology improves their efficiency increases. Germany for example, which we in the UK often characterise as being uber efficient, recently generated 50% of its national electricity with PV alone. Solar panels typically offer a 9-10% ROI, tax-free and idex-linked, compared to the 3% offered by banks and building societies.
Can I Get Free Solar Panels?
Until recently, rent-a-roof schemes were available but as the feed-in tariff has changed these are no longer on offer. However there are still solar loans, and with a 10% ROI for 20 years you will still double your money.
Can I Get A Loan For Solar Panels?
Yes, you can! We work with Engensa, who offer a solar loan, with no deposit, to be repaid over 10 years. Unlike the old rent-a-roof schemes, with a solar loan you own your own panels. To qualify for a loan you must be the property-owner.
Solar Panel Installation
Why Buy Solar Panels?
There are a number of compelling reasons:
(i) You get cheaper energy for up to 50 years (solar panels last a very long time).
(ii) You add value to your home and increase its energy efficiency rating.
(iii) Combined energy savings and feed-in tariff earnings of around £800 per year.
(iv) ROI of 9-10% is three times as generous as bank and building society rates.
(v) All earnings are tax-free and index-linked.
How Long Will My Solar Panel Installation Take?
Solar panels can be installed and hooked up to your electricity meter – and to the National Grid – in just two days.
Why Should I Use And MCS Installer?
Anyone with an understanding of electrical systems can hook up solar panels, but they won't necessarily work. Untrained installations often result in a high degree of 'mismatch,' basically meaning that you don't generate the amount of energy you are expecting. An experienced solar installer won't make rookie mistakes, in other words. Accredited solar installers have gone through MCS (Microgeneration Scheme) training and will get the most out of your solar panels by finding the right position and angle to install them, and giving you the best return on your investment and the most electricity out of your rooftop. You get what you pay for.
If that isn't enough of a reason to use an MCS installer, just remember that you can't qualify for the government's Feed-In Tariff unless you get your panels installed by one.
Energy Savings/Making Money From Solar Power
How Much Will I Earn From The FiT
The feed-in tariff is 16p, and the National Grid sells energy for around 14p. The 2p margin is your profit. You earn money for the electricity you produce, so for example your fee for producing a yield of 3.5 kWh on a 3kW system will give a return of around £550. Using this example, and at an export rate of 4.5p, you will earn £154 per year from selling back to the Grid.
For the latest Feed in Tariff rates click here
Of course, you also benefit from cheap energy for the full lifetime of your panels – around 40 years – which adds to the value of your home, and its energy efficiency rating.
How Much Energy Will I Save?
It is estimated that you can generate around 3000 kilowatt hours per year from a 3.5kWp system. This should in most cases be sufficient to to heat an a home for around three quarters of the year. This energy alone will save over a tonne in Carbon Dioxide and reduce your carbon footprint significantly. As explained above if you are eligible for the Feed in Tariff you will also be in line for substantial financial reward. At the current tariff rate of 15.44p/kWp and working on a 3.4kWp Solar PV system your savings will come in around £645. Find out more about the financial rewards of installing a Solar PV system for your home.
Remember that you will need to ensure that your property is eligible for Solar Panels and have an EPC rating of D or above to qualify for the Feed in Tariff. Fill out the form and you will be put in contact with up to 4 MCS accredited suppliers in your area who will be able to give you an accurate estimation of how much energy you can generate by installing Solar PV .