The Low Carbon Partnership

Site considerations

Is your site south-facing?
A solar PV system can be installed on a building façade or roof space orientated between 0 and 90 degrees of south. The closer to south the better as this means more daylight will reach the PV cells – the greater the intensity of light from the sun, the more electricity generated.

Is site free from shading?
The effectiveness of a PV array depends on how much daylight it receives. Solar PV works in diffuse light as well as direct sunlight, but if part or all of a solar array is shaded during daylight hours, e.g. by trees or buildings, the amount of electricity it can generate is reduced.

Could you use solar PV to replace building materials?
As the technology develops, PV modules are being produced in a variety of forms. Solar PV could be a good option if you are considering replacing part of a roof or building façade – in some cases, solar materials might work out cheaper than, or offset the cost of, conventional building materials.

If your potential solar site is new build, it is worth considering whether you could build electricity generation into the actual fabric of the building.

Will you need planning permission?
With the Low Carbon Buildings: Phase 2 grant programme the government is actively promoting renewable energy installations and permissions for new systems is becoming easier to obtain.

However, some local authorities will insist on planning consent being gained prior to installation, particularly if your potential site is in a protected area or involves a listed building. Always check before going ahead as retrospective permissions can be difficult to acquire.

 


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