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Q. Will the installation disrupt my business
A. No. By planning our work thoughtfully, we can avoid any disruption to your business. The roof access points can be arranged so that they do not interfere with movements in your outdoor work areas. Cables can be run along routes that suit you. Most importantly, the connection to the mains is made at a time, when a few minutes power interruption makes least impact to your business, even if this needs to be at night.
Q. Do I need planning permission?
A. Most industrial buildings do not. The addition of a PV array is covered by Permitted Development. If the array comes very close to the edge of the roof, or protrudes above the existing roof line, you may need planning permission, likewise, if the building is listed, or in a Conservation Area, or National Park
Q. How can I be sure how much electricity the system is generating?
The meters that we use are OFGEM approved, so you can have full confidence in them, just as you have confidence in the electricity meters that are used to charge you for the energy that you buy. In addition, there are options to have data exported from the inverters, in real time, to your computer, so that you have a comprehensive view of the system's performance at any moment.
Q. Will the system work during a power cut?
A conventional solar system needs a live connection to the grid to operate. If this is important to your business, we can design this function in. You will require a backup batteries to store electricity.
Q. How can I be confident that the roof will not leak following the installation?
A. We will survey the roof and recommend repairs to it before the installation commences. Permanent repairs will be made, appropriate to the roof type. The fixings that we use to hold the array to the roof, are certified for the purpose, and comply with the latest standards, for example MCS 012. Using the best products, combined with rigorous quality monitoring during fitting, ensures you can have full confidence.
Q. Our roof does not face South. Can we still benefit from PV?
Yes. The yields of electricity will be lower than due south, but you can make up for lower output, but increasing the array size. We will provide you with accurate modelling so that you can be sure of the output, before the installation goes ahead.
Q. Is the building strong enough to take the additional weight?
Most buildings are. The weight of a solar array is relatively low, at around 13kg/m2. When fitted to an industrial-type roof, parallel to its surface, the wind loadings are frequently within the building's design tolerance. However, as part of the design process, we engage an independent engineer to confirm that the building will support the array.
Q. The roof has asbestos in it. Is this a problem?
No. We can carry out an installation on a roof containing asbestos. However we need to take additional precautions, to protect our staff. We will develop a method, following our risk assessment, at the time of a survey.
Q. The building has a mortgage against it. Is this a problem?
No. It is common for commercial buildings to have some sort of legal charge against them. Depending on the structure that you use to pay for your PV system, you may or may not need to notify your lender. We can advise on this.
Q. This is an older building, which is rather in efficient. Does this matter?
Yes, it does matter. To benefit from the Feed in Tariff of a higher rate, the building needs to be classified as Band D or higher (with the solar system fitted). However, by 2018, all commercial buildings will need to be band E or above when their leases are renewed. Installing a PV system now is a good opportunity to bring the building up to standard. We can assist with the Energy Performance Certificate assessment, if necessary.
Q. Can I change electricity supplier after the installation?
Yes. The FIT rates are set at the time of the installation, so if in the future you want to change your utility company, they will buy your electricity on the same terms as your original deal.
Q. How high are the maintenance costs of a PV system?
One of the beauties of PV is that there are no moving parts! This dramatically reduces the amount of maintenance that is required, compared to most of the technical systems that we are familiar with. The solar panels need no maintenance at all. They are even washed clean by the rain, providing they are on a pitch above 5º. The inverters may need replacing once in the lifetime of the system. We allow for this expense in the cash flow calculations that we provide to you.
A division of Viridian Solar