Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is this offer open to other
A. As from 15th August 2011, this offer is open to any of our
supporters provided they live in the EX17 postcode area or if
outside EX17 within 4 miles of Crediton and pay the £5 joining
Q. Are there grants available?
A. Regretfully there are no grants available. The sole
Government incentive is the feed in tariff scheme described at the
link below or in the right hand column.
Q. What is the pay back period?
A. The pay back period is likely to be between 8 and 10 years.
See the example further up the page.
Q. I can't afford to invest. Are there any low cost
A. If you have a low interest rate mortgage, an extension to
this may be your best option. The Government has pledged to
implement a "pay as you save" scheme but this is unlikely before
2012. See Martin Lewis' Money Saving website for
latest low cost loan deals.
Q. Are there local homes with solar panels we can
A. Yes there are. See a map of properties here whose
owners are more than willing to show you their installations and
Q. How do you get your FIT
A. To get your FIT payment you have to register your system with
your electricity supplier. You have provide your electricity
supplier with your MCS Installer Certificate, obtained from
Solarsense, which proves that both the installer and the solar
panels are approved by the Government. Then your electricity
supplier will register you with Ofgem, the electricity industry
regulator and provider of tariff payments. This paperwork only
takes about a month to come through and is very simple to do.
Generally your electricity supplier will tell you what it needs and
Solarsense will assist you in your registration.
Q. Why is there a separate charge for rope access if
scaffold is not used to install our panels?
A. To access the roof Solarsense either have to use scaffolding
or trained rope access installers for health and safety reasons.
Now, the rope access staff are more expensive than those untrained
in rope access who would just use scaffold to access the roof. The
cost is about the same for scaffold vs. rope access. The only
occasion where there may possibly be no charges is on a single
storey low pitch outbuilding having a small system where a small
tower scaffold could be used.
Q. What is Solarsense's position on Building
A. In line with MCS regulations as regards the installation of
photovoltaic panels, we operate under "self
certification". This means, that as long as we install in line
with all requirements of the MCS scheme, to the relevant
installation standards (DTI 2 nd Edition, Installation of
Photovoltaic Systems) and as long as sign-off is by an accredited
(NAPIT< ELECSA, NICEIC etc electrician) then our installations
are covered as self-certified.
During our surveys, we note any issues with the roof structure
(disease, infestation, cut structural timbers, lack of cohesion
between roof and wall plate etc) and if these dictate that we need
further survey, it is passed to our structural engineering practice
for analysis and resultant mitigating measures as regards the
fixing centres etc.
We design to, or beyond, the best practice guidelines by
employing an edge gap (wherever possible) of at least 300mm at
sides and eave, and 500mm at the ridge on every roof.
Wind loads are 3x in this area what they are in the centre of
Further, where the property is in an exposed location (marine or
mountain locations) we would aim to further increase the edge
distances to at least 500mm all around.
Our arrays also use a mounting system that keeps them very low
to the roof surface, thus reducing wind uplift, compared to many
proprietary systems used by some other installers.
In over 5000 installations of PV, we have not had a single array
that has either damaged or dislodged any part of a roof, so we are
supremely confident in our fixing and design methodologies.
Those roofs that were built to building regulations since they
were brought into effect in the 1930's and the loadings that were
applied in these regulations allowed for sufficient wind uplift and
live/dead loads for the safe installation of PV arrays.
In the vast majority of cases, we are happy to install on roofs
- it is perhaps less than 5% that require further detailed
Q. When does eligibility for the FIT
A. Ofgem states "Feed-in tariff (FIT) payments start on the
eligibility date of the installation. Eligibility date for FIT
Installations is the later of the commissioning date or the
application date. Effectively meaning you have to commission and
apply for the scheme to be eligible to receive payments. We would
advise people to apply soon after their system is commissioned, but
regardless generators will receive a fixed period of support from
their eligibility date based on the technology type. i.e. 25 years