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There are a number of factors which affect whether your property is suitable for free solar panels. Not every property in the UK is suitable, so Sustain will need to undertake a number of checks to ascertain your properties suitability.
There are times when we are unable to make a decision because we do not have sufficient information on the property. During the initial assessment we will utilise Google Earth and other resources to assess your property. We may need to request further information from you and until this is provided we will be unable to clarify whether your property is suitable. Our desktop team will communicate with you via e-mail and if necessary by telephone to confirm specific questions in relation to your property.
It is essential that the roof is suitable for a solar PV installation and there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration before accepting a property for free solar panels. These factors include:
- Roof orientation
- Type of roof tile
- Protrusions on the roof
- The size and shape
- Shading issues
- Roof strength and structure
- Potential scaffolding issues
The first port of call is to utilise desktop resources such as Google Earth to assess roof suitability prior to an on-site survey which will indicate more details on the suitability of the property.
Solar panels work most efficiently when they are facing the sun, so ideally they need to be installed on a roof, which faces south. Any deviation from an orientation of south will decrease the efficiency of the solar panels. While they will work effectively on a roof facing south-east and south-west a solar PV installation will not be sufficient as a south facing roof. Typically, we will not install free solar panels on roofs that are over 55 degrees off due south.
We have to assess the roof tile carefully when considering a free solar panel installation at a particular property. It is essential that we stay within budget so that a free solar panel installation is economically viable for Sustain. The on-site survey will ascertain exactly what roof tiles are in place and whether a free solar panel installation will be approved. Some roof tiles are notoriously difficult to work with and are prone to breakages, thus making the installation process very long. As such we tend to avoid these properties because unfortunately they are not financially viable for Sustain.
Size & Shape
In our experience we have come across various different roof types. The size, shape and other aspects are so different throughout United Kingdom given the scale of the building stock. The roof should be of a minimum size and of an appropriate shape to install the free solar PV panels. For example, an L-shaped roof may cause us problems if part of that roof is not of a sufficient size to install a large solar PV system for our investment requirements.
It is important that the roof is structurally sound to support the installation of solar PV panels. Structural calculations are necessary to check the roof effectively prior to the installation being agreed. Occasionally, some roof strengthening is required but this rarely occurs for the vast majority of domestic properties throughout UK.
In a commercial scenario detailed checks regarding the roof are required prior to the installation of more complex solar PV systems. For both domestic and commercial situations, if roof strengthening is required this may be included as part of the installation or if a complicated strengthening procedure is essential, further costs may be incurred or the property will be declined a free solar panel installation.
In ideal circumstances, we require a clear roof area to install the free solar panels next to each other on a mounting frame. Protrusions such as a dormer window or a chimney stack may hinder the process of the solar PV installation and our capability to install a large solar PV system. These protrusions cause problems because it reduces the roof area available. It is not really economic viable to install split solar PV systems on roofs with a number of protrusions.
We all like trees and greenery around our properties but unfortunately solar panels can suffer a significant performance deficit if they are adversely affected by excessive shading around the property. Shading can also be caused by objects or structures close to the roofline of the property so it does not necessarily mean trees it could be other buildings or tall structures.
Shading is not good for us and it certainly is of no use to you because the solar panels will simply not operate at an effective level to generate electricity for your property.
To install solar PV, scaffolding needs to be erected prior to the main installation taking place. We even install scaffolding on small building such as bungalows to maintain the safety of our installation team.
As part of the property assessment process we will need to check whether there is sufficient access for scaffolding to be erected and whether parts of the property may cause problems with scaffolding. For example, a conservatory may be in place on the side of the property where solar PV panels will be installed. In this instance we need to assess whether specialist scaffolding is required. Sometimes this scaffolding is more expensive and may mean that your will free solar panel enquiry is declined.