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Frequently asked questions

Below you will find some of the most frequently asked questions that we encounter, we thought that we would answer them here for you.  If you have any that are not listed, don't hesitate to contact us and we will get back to you with an answer.  We will also add them to the list to help other customers!

Before that.... here is an interesting fact!  The Sun provides the Earth with more energy in a single hour than the whole world consumes in a year.  Wow.... we just need to capture it!   If every roof space in the UK had solar panels linked to a battery storage system, we’d have enough energy to power everything we do in our lives! 

  • How long does Solar take to pay back?
    You’ll see savings on bills immediately. Payback of the installation cost depends on many variables including quality of panels and inverters, your local weather conditions, shading, pitch and orientation of your situation. Typically in the South East of UK you can expect to pay off a home system in 6-10 years and a commercial system in 4-8 years. After that, it’s like getting free energy for the lifetime of the system (25-50 years with quality panels).
  • Do I need planning permission?
    In the vast majority of cases, no. Domestic solar panel installations are considered ‘permitted development’ and don’t require planning permission unless: you live in a listed building your home is in a conservation area or an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB). Panels are permitted in a conservation area as long as they’re not installed on a wall or roof that fronts a main highway the panels protrude more than 200mm from the roof. 5H never exceed this zone anyway you are having a ground mounted array If you’re unsure about your position on permitted developments, please visit the Government’s planning portal or give us a call and get free advice from us. Contact us now.
  • Are there any government grants available?
    Currently solar and battery installations are 0% VAT rated. Energy suppliers are also bringing out more attractive tariffs for home owners wanting to charge batteries from off peak electricity and better rates for those wanting to sell their excess solar and stored battery energy back! The 0%VAT does not apply to commercial/agricultural installations. However there are options for certain grants in the agricultural and horticultural sector. We work very closely with local land agents to ensure that you are getting the most up to date information and advice.
  • Do my panels have to face south?
    No! We have fitted many East and West facing systems and they are all performing very well. Marginally less than a system of the same size that is all South facing (about 10-14% less). However East/West systems generally start generating electricity earlier in the day and later into the evening than a South facing system!
  • How long does it take to install?
    On a standard residential installation we generally tend to have our scaffolding put up a day or so in advance. On average, once we start we will be done in 2 days. Only when we are happy the system is up and running will we order the scaffolding to be removed, this usually happens a few days after installation. We ensure that we keep you updated throughout the entire process.
  • Will it allow me to be independent of needing energy from the grid?
    There are a few factors to consider when answering this question. Your usage - how much, when and how do you use your energy? The size of system that we can fit - where there is unlimited roof space or in a ground mount installation, we can fit more panels which increases the chances of greater grid independance. Sunlight - solar panels need sunlight to work. During overcast days and over the winter production is less.
  • What are the hidden costs?
    NONE! Absolutely no hidden extras. We do our very best to include everything needed for your full installation in a clear concise quote. Obviously, changes or additions during installation will be quoted and agreed with you.
  • What guarantees will I get?
    We provide a 5 year insurance backed guarantee. An Insurance Backed Guarantee (IBG) underwrites the guarantee that 5H Renewable Energy provides you and is claimable in the event we cease to trade. In an ideal world, we will always be there to take care of any problems that may arise over the period of the guarantee that we provided you with.
  • What warranties come with the components that you install?
    We have been in the trade long enough to know which suppliers honour their warranty claims. We take pride in providing a superior service to all our customers big or small, so we have specifically chosen components from market leading, tier 1 manufacturers who have an epxerienced technical backup team on hand should we encounter an issue. All of our inverter manufacturers provide 10+ years of an all inclusive warranty, coupled with an optional warranty extension that can extend to 25 years in some cases, at a small extra charge. For the mounting systems that hold the panels to the roof we have a few suppliers whose warranty varies between 20-25 years. For the panels you can usually expect a 25-30 year warranty.
  • What are the effects of shading?
    Shading from trees, other buildings, satellite dishes, tv aerials or bird mess can have a significant impact on the performance of your Solar PV system. We will always take any shading into account when surveying and generating system designs. We will always advise on the best options for you in these instances, if you do have shading issues don't worry, we have technology that can handle this!
  • How do solar panels work?
    Solar PV electric panels do not require bright sunlight in order to operate, meaning that you can still generate electricity on cloudy days. The electricity produced is either consumed directly by appliances in the building or, if more power than required is generated, it is exported to the grid. At night, or when the system is not producing enough energy, power is supplied by the grid in the normal way. Solar PV works from daylight and not direct sunlight, but normally more power is produced on a sunny day than on an overcast or cloudy one. PV panels do not produce energy in the dark and so systems without a battery will then start to soley rely on the grid, but systems with a battery are able to carry on utilising stored energy and reduce the grid reliance even more!
  • Worried about aesthetic impact?
    If the visual impact of panels on your roof is a major concern there are a number of possible solutions that can make the panels less visually obtrusive – We will always work with you to find the best solution for your particular circumstances. You could consider: Using a ground mount and screening it. Mounting the solar panels into the roof, rather than on the roof, so that they are flush with the roof tiles. On all our residential installations we will only use black framed panels that have a black back sheet, making them ultra black. From our experience we find that these ultra black panels blend in exceptionally well with almost all roof tiles and slates. They work especially well on ground mounts! Have a look at our ground mount pictures in our Projects.
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