Did you know?

The most common semi conductor material used in photovoltaic cells is silicon, an element commonly found in sand. There is no limitation to its availability as a raw material, it is the second most abundant material in the earth’s mass


Frequently Asked Questions

We've put together some of our most frequently asked questions here. If you have any questions we haven't covered, please drop us a line or call us on 02838220069.

What is Solar PV?

Solar Panels, otherwise known as Solar Photovoltaic Systems or Solar PV, use cells to convert energy from the sun into electricity. When light shines on the cell it creates an electric field across its layers, causing electricity to flow. A solar PV system requires only daylight-not direct sunlight-to generate electricity.

Most Solar PV cells are made from silicon, the second most abundant material in the earth’s mass, most commonly found in sand. Silicon is a non-toxic element. Solar PV produces no noise, harmful emissions or polluting gases.

The burning of natural resources for energy can create smoke, cause acid rain, pollute water and pollute the air. Carbon dioxide, CO2 , a leading greenhouse gas, is also produced. Solar power uses only the power of the sun as its fuel. It creates no harmful by-products and actively reduces global warming.

Does solar PV really work in the UK?

The UK receives 60% of the amount of solar energy that the equator receives, which is the same as parts of Spain and France. Solar panels actually work from sunlight not sunshine or heat. Sweden and Denmark have healthy solar industries, and they are in more northerly latitudes than the United Kingdom. Solar panels can generate more energy on a cloudy day than in bright sunshine, thanks to the reflective properties of clouds

How long will the installation take?

Typically a two to four kilowatt domestic installation will take, on average two days. Of course, houses with a complicated roof to access or unusual requirements could take significantly longer than this.

How long will the panels last?

PV systems are very safe and highly reliable. The estimated life of a Solar Panel is at least 30 years and their performance is very high, providing over 80% of the initial power after 25 years which makes Solar Panels a very reliable technology

Do the panels work in winter

Yes they do, the shorter days will affect the output of the panels, but they will still be reducing the amount of energy that you are buying from your energy supplier

Are there any grants available?

There were some grants available through the low carbon buildings programme up until 2010 when the Feed in Tariff came into effect. There are still some grants available for farms and other specialist situations, but sadly, generally they are no longer available.

What happens if it snows?

Sunlight can penetrate a thin layer of snow and the residual heat from the panels usually means that snow will melt fairly quickly off of solar panels. In addition when the sun reflects off the snow it produces more sunlight than on the average british summer day.

How much maintenance will be required?

Solar PV Systems have no moving parts so they really require no maintenance; the surface of the panel is self-cleaning, rain will do all the cleaning necessary.

Do they need to be cleaned?

Solar panels are constructed from a self cleaning glass, much like Velux windows, so don't require regular cleaning.

What if I don’t have enough room on my roof?

If you don't have enough space for the energy you would like to generate, but you do have some suitable land you could consider a ground mounted system. Contact us for further information

What if my roof is not south facing

Whilst a south facing roof with a pitch of 30 degrees will give maximum returns, modern panels won’t be massively impaired by less than perfect conditions. We will provide you with all the statistics to give you a good idea of what returns you can realistically expect

Do I need Planning permission?

In England, Northern Ireland and Wales as long as the panel does not protrude by 200mm or more planning permission is generally not required, however if you are in a conservation area, a world heritage site or have a listed building you will need to seek advice from your local planning officer. In Scotland the panels must also not be located within one metre of the edge of the roof and not protrude higher than the highest point of the roof. 

What are kW, kWh & kWp?

A Kilowatt (kW) is a measure of power and power is the rate at which energy is generated or used. A 1kW heater will use 1kW of power when it is switched on, whether for 1 second or 10 minutes. A kilowatt hour (kW/h) is a measure of energy and energy is a measure of how much fuel is used by something over a specific period of time. The same 1kw heater will use 1kW/h of energy if left on for 1 hour. Electricity is measured by energy companies and charged in kW/h’s.

A useful analogy is to say that kW/h is kW like distance is to speed. The amount of energy(kW/h) you have used over a specific period of time is like the distance you have travelled over a specific time. Power (kW)is like your speed at a given moment in time. A kilowatt peak (kWp) is a standard measure of the output of a solar PV system. It is useful in making comparisons between different products but doesn’t reflect the actual output, as its calculated under ‘ideal’ conditions.

Whats an EPC and do I need one?

An Energy Performance Certificate records the efficiency of a property, or a TV or a washing machine or even an aeroplane. It provides an energy efficiency rating, as well as CO2 emissions, and ranges from A to G (A being the most efficient, while G is the poorest level of efficiency).

If you have bought, sold or rented your house in the last few years you probably already have one. The methods for producing an EPC are standard, to enable the efficiency of one building to be easily measured against another. An EPC is valid for 10 years.

From 1st April 2012, a grade D or better EPC has been a requirement for people living in England, Wales and Scotland wanting to claim the maximum FIT rate for the energy that their system produces. You can still claim FIT but it will be at a significantly lower rate There is lot’s more information about EPC’s, how to get one and how you can improve your energy performance at http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Insulation/Energy-performance-certificates

How much room do I need on my roof?

This depends on how much power you want to generate. A typical 3kW system will take up about 24m2, but the panels are modular and can be distributed over the available surface of the roof.

end faq

Contact Details

S Magill Contracts
2 Drumgask Rd,
County Armagh,
BT65 5DY




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Website: www.smagillcontracts.co.uk


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