Like most installers we have a preferred range of tried and tested products we can recommend. However ultimately as the customer, the decision is yours.
There are three main items of a solar PV system:
1 – Mounting Kit
This is the combination of fixings (screws), stainless steel roof hooks / brackets and aluminium rails.
As of 1st July 2014 all pitched-roof installation kits will require MCS certification in order to qualify for the feed-in-tariff scheme.
2 – Panels
These is a staggering range of solar PV panels available on the market these days and little in the way of independent real world data to help. For a system to be eligible for the feed-in-tariff the panels must be MCS accredited.
We select our modules on a combination of the following criteria;
a) Presence of UK / European technical support;
b) Financial strength of the company;
c) Performance in real world independent field trials.
Our default manufacturer is REC, a Norwegian company which runs a vertically integrated operation from the manufacture of silane gas, through solar cell manufacture to module assembly. REC have complete control of each aspect of the manufacturing process.
We are an accredited REC Solar Professional company and as such we receive the support of REC in the unlikely event you experience a module failure. REC will pay us should a solar panel require replacement.
SANYO started the development of amorphous silicon solar cells in 1975 and through constant R & D continued to develop high best products with excellent reliability levels. SANYO became a full subsidiary of the Panasonic Group in 2011 and adopted the Panasonic brand name in 2012.
Panasonics products use a patented technology referred to as Panasonic HIT®. The benefits of these modules are:
- HIT® modules are highly efficient and produce more power per square meter than traditional products. This means that you will need fewer modules on your roof to accomplish very high performance.
- HIT® modules provide many years of reliable operation.
- HIT® modules are based on decades of experience and reference systems worldwide.
In short, where roof space is a limiting factor as it often is in urban areas, high efficiency panels enable more energy to be generated per m2 than products using conventional mono or poly crystalline cells.
3 – Inverters
The inverter is the heart and the brains of the system. It is the single most expensive and complicated component and the one without which your system cannot operate. So it would make sense you might think to choose carefully here. In this area it is particularly important, in our opinion, to select a product from a long established manufacturer with UK based technical support.
We use inverters from one of 3 manufacturers;
SMA, a German company, are the world’s leading manufacturer of grid tied inverters. And let’s face it the Germans do engineering well.
SMA Solar Technology AG is a global leader in the development, production and sales of PV inverters. SMA operates in 19 countries over 4 continents and employs over 5000 staff. SMA have a well established technical support team at their UK offices in Milton Keynes.
Solar Edge go about the business of maximises energy yield from an array in an unusual way. The Solar Edge system uses a voltage optimiser with each modules together with a string inverter. The string inverter just carries out the DC to AC conversion which the optimisers work together to deliver a constant optimal 350V d.c to the inverter.
One of the principle benefits of the Solar Edge approach is that the output of each panel is completely independent from every other panel. In this way, should one panel be partially shaded then the remainder of the array continues to function unimpeded.
Solar Edge systems will generate higher yields in situations where partial shading of the array is expected.
Other benefits include:
- Module level monitoring data (real time and historic)
- 12 year warranty as standard
- Electrically safe system when a.c isolated with just 1v d.c generated per panel.
Power One, now part of the Swiss ABB Power & Automation group, is one of the world’s leading suppliers of inverters to the solar PV market.
With a UK based technical support team in Worthing Power One are well based to support installers in the UK.
The Power One range includes both domestic level single phase inverters as well as three phase commercial and industrial units.
Power One also manufacture micro inverters for small systems and or complicated roof structures.