Good Energy champions local green heroes that are supporting people to reduce their carbon emissions and become more energy independent. We install solar panels through Wessex ECOEnergy and JPS Group – two Good Energy solar installers that together cover much of the South of England.

Here we answer some of common questions about solar panels.

What areas do the Good Energy Solar team cover?

Good Energy Solar installs solar panels across the South of England, including London.

Find out if we install in your area with our handy postcode look up.

Considering solar panels?

How long have you been installing solar panels?

We install solar panels through Wessex ECOEnergy and JPS Group – two established companies that have both been installing solar panels for more than ten years.

Add to that our expertise of supplying 100% renewable electricity for over 25 years, and being one of the UK’s leading Feed in Tariff administrators, you can trust you are in safe hands with Good Energy.

Is getting solar panels worth it without the Feed in Tariff?

When the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme launched in 2010, generators got paid for the electricity they generated, as well as for the electricity they exported to the grid. Even though the FIT scheme is now closed, there are still definite benefits to installing solar panels.

Firstly, you will save on electricity bills because you’ll be generating renewable electricity at home – also helping to reduce carbon emissions. If you were to install a ten panel solar array plus battery, you can expect this to cover between 50% – 80% of your electricity usage over the course of a year.

And secondly, you will be able to sell your excess power via an export tariff. Good Energy offers a leading export tariff, Solar Savings, which is currently paying 15p per unit of power – making the average household customer around £200 a year.

What accreditations do customers need to look out for when getting solar panels?

The first and most important one to look for is that your installer is MCS accredited – which means they adhere to recognised industry quality standards. Once your solar panels are installed, you’ll need an MCS certificate to sell your power via an export tariff.

The next one to look for is the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC) which gives you peace of mind you’ll get high service standards before, during and after your installation.

Finally, NAPIT is the accreditation body for all things electrical. Your solar panels will need to be commissioned by an electrician who is NAPIT or NICEIC approved.

How many solar panels do I need?

Our advice is to install as many solar panels as you can fit on your rooftop – money permitting. This is because the bulk of the cost of getting solar panels is your installer’s time and expertise.

A ten panel solar array is the average size for household customers. Without a battery, this would provide 30% – 50% of a typical household’s annual usage, and with a battery up to 80%.

And what you don’t use at home, you can sell back to the grid via an export tariff.

Do modern solar panels produce more electricity than older ones? Is it worth upgrading my panels?

Modern monocrystalline solar panels are more efficient than older polycrystalline models, which enable them to generate more electricity.

If you’re thinking about upgrading an existing solar array and are registered to the FIT scheme, be aware that increasing the capacity of your installation may mean you’re no longer eligible for payments.

Solar panels on a house

Another way to potentially increase the performance of your existing array is changing your inverter. If you have a string inverter – which means all panels feed into the same inverter – a fault with one panel reduces the power output of the whole set. This could also be the case if a number of your panels are frequently in the shade or get covered with leaves.

Microinverters are attached to each panel separately, which means that an individual panel’s performance doesn’t impact the rest of the array. Microinverters are more expensive, but have a longer lifespan – 25 years, in comparison to 10 for a string inverter.

How does the direction panels face affect how much electricity they generate?

In countries in the northern hemisphere such as the UK, south facing solar panels have the best chance of being exposed to direct sunlight throughout the day.

However, south-east and south-west facing solar panels are still effective – receiving up to 95% of the sunlight received by south facing panels. This percentage reduces the further east or west they turn, but only to around 80%.

Even north facing panels can receive around 60% of the sunlight of south facing panels. This is because they still receive diffuse light – and may also be placed at an angle where they can benefit from direct sunlight during the summer, when the sun is directly overhead. Reductions in the amount of power generated compared to a south facing array can be somewhat mitigated by adding more panels.

It’s important to note that the pitch of the panels also impacts how much electricity they generate. If you want to read about this in more detail, have a look at this article from Solar Power World about the impact of direction and roof pitch on panel efficiency. If you’re considering getting panels, installers should also be able to advise you on how they will perform.

Do solar panels require direct sunlight to be effective?

Solar panels will generate the maximum amount of power in direct sunlight. However, they react to diffuse light, which means they still generate electricity on cloudy days.

How can I make the most of having solar panels?

To get the biggest benefit from your solar panels, you need to use your solar power as it is being generated. You will be able to see how much you are generating on your inverter display, or via an app on your smart device. This means scheduling your washing machine, dishwasher or tumble dryer to run during sunny periods. Try to only use one device at a time, as your solar panel output will be limited by the size of your inverter. If you have an electric car, charging up on sunny days is a great way to make the most of your solar power.

Installing a home battery will help make sure that your home can store any solar power not used straight away – for use in the evening or on overcast days.

If you’re registered to the FiT scheme, bear in mind that installing a battery could affect your payments, depending on whether it works by storing solar electricity before or after it has passed through the inverter and been measured by your generation meter. Read this guide to different battery configurations to find out more about this.

Other options for making the most of your solar power include installing a diverter. This diverts electricity that isn’t being used by household appliances to an immersion heater, so that you can use your solar panels to heat your water as well. 

Find out more about getting the most from your solar power here.

Do you install Tesla Powerwalls?

Yes, our two Good Energy Solar installers are premium Tesla Powerwall installers. Paired with solar panels, Tesla Powerwalls store up to 13.5KWh of electricity for you to use later when you’re no longer generating. What’s more, they can be used to power your home in the event of a power outage in your area.

How long does it take to install solar panels?

Our teams install solar panels for our customers in around two to three days – and the only time we will need access to the inside of your home is for the electrics. Scaffolding will stay up for one to two weeks.