IKEA Solar Panels

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Why Solarcentury?

Solarcentury is one of the world’s most trusted, respected and long-standing solar companies. Solarcentury was founded in 1998 and has been integral to the development of today’s solar industry. 


How is Solarcentury involved? Am I buying from them?

IKEA and Solarcentury are committed to making solar energy easy for you. IKEA has selected Solarcentury to deliver the IKEA solar offer. Together we have selected packages that will match your home and your pocket. The installation is managed entirely by Solarcentury and you will be buying your system from Solarcentury. 


Does Solarcentury use contractors?

Yes - in order to provide as local a service as possible Solarcentury use their approved network of installers to carry out the installations. These companies have worked with Solarcentury for many years and we are confident in their ability to deliver high quality installations in a professional, friendly and safe manner.


How long will the whole process take?

The average timescale from when you decide to proceed to having a fully-operational system is usually 4-6 weeks, subject to the customer’s availability. The actual installation usually takes between one and two days to complete. Some installations (for example larger systems or delicate slate roofs) may take longer.


Do I need a large roof?

No, our smallest system size is made up of just 6 solar panels which take up less than 10sq metres on your roof.


Does my roof have to face directly south?

No, although a south facing roof provides the best production of energy. We can install on roofs from East (90°) through South (180°) to West (270°).

Why not try our handy online calculator to see if your roof is suitable/ to see if your roof can save £100s on your electricity bill? 


Can you install on my business premises?

Yes, we can install on any property you own as long as the total installed capacity is no larger than 10kwp.

Please note there may be a tax implication associated with installing solar on a business premises.


How do solar panels work?

  1. The sun’s radiation hits these cells and is converted to direct current (DC) energy.
     
  2. This DC energy travels to an electrical device called an inverter, which converts DC energy into alternating current (AC) energy.
     
  3. The AC energy produced is just like the power supplied by your utility company, and can go directly to power things like computers and lights.
     
  4. Or the power produced can be exported back to the grid and redistributed locally.
     
  5. You can monitor your system’s performance over the web or via a dedicated display.

Is there a regulating body for solar in the UK?

Yes, both Solarcentury and all of their installers are governed by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). This determines the standards for installation and we are audited annually to ensure compliance. In addition, Solarcentury is a member of the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC).  RECC aims to guarantee a high quality experience for consumers wishing to buy or lease small-scale energy generation systems for their homes.  If you have any queries regarding RECC you can find the contact details for RECC here.


Can I buy from you on a supply only basis?

No, we are only able to supply a full service including installation of the product.


I already have a solar thermal system; can I still have a solar PV installation too?

As long as there is space on your roof there is nothing to stop you having both solar thermal and solar photovoltaics.


I have an existing system, can you expand it?

In many circumstances we can still install even if you have an existing system. We would not add to your existing system but could install a new system alongside it. This will need to be discussed on a case by case basis with our technical team.


Can I store the energy I don't use?

We do not currently offer a battery storage solution so any electricity you do not use will be fed back into the grid.  We are looking to introduce a storage feature in the near future.


What is the difference between black panels and blue panels (monocrystalline and polycrystalline)?

Monocrystalline PV panels are made from a single crystal of silicon and are typically black in colour. The process to produce these panels is more expensive but they are usually more efficient.

Polycrystalline PV panels are made from multiple crystals and are blue in colour. They are cheaper to produce and are usually less powerful than monocrystalline panels. 


Will the solar panels provide energy during a power cut?

No, unfortunately not. In the case of a power cut, the system will be prevented from generating energy in order to protect anyone who may be working on the grid or home electrical circuits.


Does solar work in the UK?

Yes. Solar panels generate in all daylight hours and all but extremely overcast weather. The clearer the sky the better, but they rely on daylight not temperature so will generate all year round. Winter generation will be significantly lower than summer due to fewer daylight hours. June and July typically produce 4-5 times more energy than December and January.


Is my home suitable?

Points to consider:

  • Ownership. Do you own your home? If a leasehold then you need permission from freeholder. If rented then you need permission from your landlord.
     
  • Flats/ apartments can be tricky re: freehold.  Please refer to the uSwitch solar guide for more information.
     
  • Flat roofs – currently we don’t offer solar installations for flat roofs.
     
  • Space for the system – you need a fair amount of clear roof space to fit the system (circa 10sqm plus). We will be able to assess this in the early stages.
     
  • Direction – South-facing roofs generate the most electricity, but solar still works on roofs facing from east to west.
     
  • Shading – the more shading on a roof, the less energy a system will generate. We take into account trees, dormer windows, chimneys, extensions and neighbouring buildings when surveying the roof. If system is very shaded then we wouldn’t recommend going ahead. In some cases it’s possible to do something about it e.g. cutting back a tree you own.
     
  • Age and construction of the roof: We can only install if the roof is felted beneath the tiles or slates.

Do I need planning permission?

In most cases no, however, if your home is a listed building, in a conservation area then you will need to check first with your local planning officer.


Do I need a structural survey?

Most homes do not need a structural survey; if the surveyor finds one is required before the installation we will inform you of this.


How do I know my roof is strong enough?

The surveyor will ensure your roof is structurally sound enough to support the installation. If there are any concerns we will inform you.


Will the panels provide all of my home’s electricity needs?

Depending on the size of your solar system it’s more than likely that the solar system will provide all the electricity you need during the day and that you will typically only need to use grid electricity during the night. This will obviously depend upon the system size installed and just how much demand for electricity you have during the day. 


Will the panels provide all of my home’s electricity needs?

Not unless you want to. The energy generated by the solar panels will be used by your home first. If there is not enough to meet demand, the grid will automatically and seamlessly provide the rest.

If you upgrade to our GEO monitoring system it will tell you whether or not you are using solar or grid electricity.


What is the Feed-in Tariff (FiT)?

The Feed-in Tariff (or FiT) is a government policy introduced in 2010 to encourage the uptake of renewable energy in the UK. You are paid for the units of electricity you generate from a solar installation, regardless of whether you use the electricity or not. You are also paid for what you export to the grid but because this is hard to measure, the government assumes you export 50%.

The income is guaranteed for 20 years and is index-linked, meaning it will go up each year with inflation. And unlike many other investments, it’s also tax-free for homeowners.

As well as generating revenue, you are also able to save money as you will not be buying as much energy from the grid during the day. 


I'm concerned the government will totally withdraw the Feed-in Tariff (FiT); do you think this will happen?

The FiT scheme was introduced in 2010 and has seen many changes since then.  It will not last forever as it is an incentive to encourage people to invest in solar.  However, the FiT is still currently available and, once you have applied and your application is accepted, your income from it will continue for the full 20 year period, even once the FiT scheme is closed to new applications.


How much will I receive?

The rates paid for the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) change periodically and are set by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).  You can view the latest Tariff on the Ofgem website here.


Do I have to pay tax on my Feed-in Tariff (FiT) income?

No, the FIT scheme is a non-taxable scheme for domestic use.  However, if you run a VAT registered company from the property the FIT is claimed for then VAT will be added to your export payment.


Will my Feed-in Tariff (FiT) payments change with inflation?

Yes, FIT payments are adjusted at the end of each year; in April, the generation and the export tariff are adjusted based on the rate of RPI at the end of December. 


Can I offset my Feed-in Tariff (FiT) payments against my standard electricity bills?

No, your FIT payments will be kept separately to your billing account.


Who do I go to to get my Feed-in tariff (FiT)?

You can get your FiT from your current energy provider or you can approach another provider because your FiT account will always be kept separately from your existing utilities account.


How do I receive my payments from the Feed in Tariff (FiT)?

Your registered FiT licensed supplier will usually pay you on a quarterly basis. You’ll have to provide them with meter readings in order for them to pay you.


Do I always have to supply the meter reading?

Generally yes. You will be asked to supply a meter reading every 3 months or so.  Your supplier will also visit you up to once every two years to read the meter in accordance with the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) registration license. 


What happens if I miss a meter reading?

Unlike electricity usage readings suppliers cannot estimate Feed-in Tariff (FiT) readings; this means your payment for that quarter will be rolled over.  Generally, suppliers will take the next meter read you provide and you will receive your full FiT amount owed on your next payment.


What happens if I change my electricity supplier after I register my Feed-in Tariff (FiT)?

This does not necessarily affect your FiT.  You can choose to stay with the supplier you registered your FIT with originally or you can decide to change to your new supplier (a process known as ‘switching’).  Your original supplier will be able to help you with this.


What happens if I move home?

If the PV installation remains on the original property the new homeowner will be able to claim the remainder of the FiT.  If you remove the installation and take it with you to install on your new property you will not be able to claim the FiT for it as it was originally registered elsewhere.


I live in Northern Ireland; can I apply for the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme?

No, in Northern Ireland you can claim Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation Certificates (NIROCs) instead.


What are Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation Certificates (NIROCs)?

The ROCs (Renewables Obligation Certificates) are used in Northern Ireland only.  The Feed-in Tariff is only available in Britain and the ROCs are a similar incentive for renewables.


Will I be eligible for Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation Certificates (NIROCs)?

There are 3 criteria you must meet to be eligible for the ROCs;

  • The property must be in Northern Ireland
     
  • Your property must be generating renewable energy
     
  • The generation must be measured by an approved meter.

If you decide to go ahead with one of our installations in Northern Ireland you will be eligible for NIROCs and your installer will also file the paperwork for you.