Photovoltaic (PV) panel installation guide
Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are designed to harness the free energy from the sun to generate electricity for your home.
They provide power for household appliances and lighting, lowering your energy bills and cutting your carbon footprint. Thanks to the savings they bring, efficient modern photovoltaic installations can often pay for themselves within just a few years.
PV systems work by converting light into electrical energy. A PV solar cell features two thin pieces of silicon crystal placed on top of each other. The upper layer is specially treated so that its atoms are unstable and it has a surplus of electrons. In contrast, the bottom layer has a different treatment that means its atoms need electrons to fill them. When these cells are exposed to light, the electrons are able to flow from the top layer down to the bottom layer, and it is this movement that generates electricity.
Our photovoltaic solutions are made from high-grade, corrosion-resistant materials, meaning they are exceptionally efficient, durable and reliable.
Do I have to switch solar PV panels on every day?
People sometimes mistakenly think that photovoltaic cell installations must be switched on every day in order to work. In fact, this is not the case. Solar PV panels are always switched on.
What are the benefits of photovoltaics?
There are a wide range of benefits associated with PV cell installations. For example, they:
- Allow you to utilise freely available energy from the sun
- Reduce your dependence on fossil fuels
- Are investments that pay for themselves over time
- Can cut your carbon footprint (According to the Energy Saving Trust, a typical domestic photovoltaic panels installation can save 1.3 to 1.6 tonnes of carbon per year.)
- Are low maintenance
How much sunlight do photovoltaics need?
It’s no secret that the UK doesn’t benefit from year-round sunshine. However, PV installations don’t require direct sunlight to work. They produce electricity even in overcast conditions and work throughout the seasons, although their output is highest when the sunlight is strongest.
Where can I install photovoltaics?
For best results, these systems should be positioned in a location where they are exposed to maximum light from the sun. Our range of photovoltaic solutions can be installed on the roof or walls of your property. However, they are not suitable for installation on roofs that are heavily shaded and they are best placed for installation on south-facing roofs.
How many photovoltaic panels will I need?
When it comes to sizing your PV module installation, this will depend on your household’s energy needs. As a general rule, an area of PV cells measuring 8.5m² is sufficient to meet the average power consumption of one person. So, you should multiply this figure by the number of people living in your home.
Of course, the amount of roof space you have available may limit the size of your installation. Also, don’t assume that bigger is always better. It’s important to note that you can’t meet 100 per cent of your electricity demand with solar PV.
Do I need planning permission for a photovoltaic installation?
You can contact your council to check if you need to apply for planning permission for your PV panel installation. Most domestic installations don’t require permission, as long as they are below a certain size. However, exceptions apply to listed buildings and homes situated in World Heritage Sites and conservation areas.
How much does a solar PV system cost?
The cost of your photovoltaics will depend on a number of factors, including the particular panels you go for and the size of the installation. As a very rough guide, a typical 4kWp system tends to cost between £5,000 and £8,000.
Who should I choose to install my photovoltaic cells?
For added reassurance and convenience, it’s often best to choose a solar PV installer that offers the whole package, from initial design right the way through to aftercare. If you come to Viessmann for your solar PV system, you will benefit from a complete solution, from planning and sizing the panel installation to delivery and servicing.
More generally, make sure you choose an installer who is Microgeneration Certification Scheme-certified, and get the company to provide a detailed quote that includes information about the panels themselves and the savings you can expect to make once they are operating. Don’t accept a price over the phone. Always get the company to visit your property to carry out a technical survey.
What can I expect during the installation?
Installations can often be completed within one to two days, but this will depend on the size of the installation and how accessible the fitting location is. Your installer will be able to give you a clear idea of the schedule before they start work.
If scaffolding is required, this must be erected before the installation itself. The cost of this should be included in your quote. When it comes to fitting your PV system, the installer will need access to all the spaces they will work in, both inside and outside your home.
Once the work has been completed and the system has been tested, your installer will talk you through your new eco-friendly energy solution.
Can solar PV panels add value to my property?
Yes, research from YouGov found that homeowners ranked energy efficiency as the third most important reason to buy a property. In addition, research from the Energy Saving Trust found that 35 per cent of people said they would be willing to pay more for a home that received a proportion of its electricity from a renewable source.
We hope this photovoltaic installation guide has been useful. If you have any further questions on this topic, don’t hesitate to contact our team.