Taking the decision to invest in a solar panel system is a big step, but increasingly one that is easy to take as technologies improve and prices reduce.

Nevertheless, it can be a complex and daunting decision. Cobolt Blue Energy are your end-to-end solar system consultants, so we have a duty to help our clients make as fully informed a decision as possible. This is why we’ve produced this guide to what you need to consider before going ahead with the installation of a solar panel system.

How much will a solar power system cost?

This is the question we get asked the most at Cobolt Blue Energy. The answer really depends on the type of panel technology that is best for you, how many panels are needed and whether you need a battery in your system or not.

The good news is that, quite apart from the fact that a solar system has never been cheaper, it is effectively a case of the more you spend, the more you save. More expensive systems will increase the amount of renewable energy you can create and store; they will also work more efficiently.

As a guide, a typical semi-detached house with three bedrooms will need a system that will cost around £8,000 to ensure all of its electricity usage is coming from the solar system. The cost of a battery will be on top of this; expect to pay around £4,000 for a battery for this size of installation.

How ‘green’ are solar panel systems?

The decision to ‘go solar’ is one that can be taken with the confidence that you are decreasing your carbon footprint. However, not all systems are as green as each other. The things that will impact on a system’s green credentials are:

  • The efficiency of the system
  • Where the components have been manufactured…and how far they have travelled
  • The type of solar panel, and what has been used in its manufacture
  • Whether the factory where the panels have been produced is running on renewable energy

Do I need planning permission to install solar panels?

The simple answer is ‘no’. unless your property is in a conservation area, you do not need any specific permissions for a roof-mounted system of solar panels.

If you are considering a ground-mounted system, then there are a couple of rules to follow to ensure you don’t need planning permissions. These are as follows:

  • Your ground-mounted panels must be located in suitable frames to ensure their stability
  • The panel array must be less than 9m2, no more than 4m high and less than 5m from the boundary of your property

Is my roof right for solar panels?

Solar panels are large, heavy units so it is important that a survey of your roof’s strength is taken before deciding to proceed. This is part of the complete, end-to-end service that we provide at Cobolt Blue Energy.

If you roof is not capable of withstanding the weight, then solar panel tiles would make a suitable alternative.

The direction that your roof is pointing is also key. It needs to be pointing either East, West or South in order to make an investment in a solar system worthwhile. You will maximise your yield of electricity with a South or West-facing roof.

Do I need a battery in my solar system?

Solar systems do not need a battery to work, however batteries are an increasingly popular addition to a solar system. They make a system flexible so that you aren’t tied to using the energy as it is being created; rather a battery will store your energy for when it is needed. Batteries are also mainstream technology, so they are becoming more affordable all the time.

Will the system produce all the energy I need?

Solar panels are very efficient these days, and becoming increasingly so, so as long as your panels are facing an optimal direction (West or South), an average-sized roof can provide enough energy for a family of four. Of course, the more panels you have, the more energy you can produce. Cobolt Blue Energy will inform you of the precise amount of energy that your system will be able to produce as part of our fact-finding support.

Which solar panel technology is right for me?

We have produced a guide to the different types of solar panels, which you can find here. The choice of technology will depend on your budget, your preferences in terms of what the panels look like and how much energy you want to produce. The good news is that solar technology is now a mature technology, so most panels being produced are cheaper yet more efficient than ever.

What is the installation process?

A complete installation will take 2-3 days, and if you are having panels fitted to a roof, will require scaffolding. Most of the work will take place on the roof, but access to your consumer unit will also be needed. In addition to mounting the panels, an installation team will also fit an inverter into the system, a battery (if required) and ensure that all monitoring software is loaded onto your mobile devices.

The process will end with a quality check and full system test, and ensure that you have all the paperwork you need.

If you are looking to put solar panels on a commercial premises, it may be that the installation will take longer due to the increased number of panels you are fitting.

Cobolt Blue Energy have vetted all of the installers we work with, so you can be confident that we are matching you with the very best installers around.

Will my solar system charge my electric vehicle?

Yes! If you own, or are thinking of owning an EV (or fleet of EVs if you are a commercial customer), then a solar system is the very best way of maximising a return on investment, as it will produce enough energy to fully charge your vehicle. Speak to your solar consultant about options, positioning, cabling etc to ensure you are getting the most effective solution for your EV.

How long will a solar system last?

The longevity of a solar power system depends on a number of factors such as the typical weather conditions where you live, the type of panel technology, how good the panels are etc. Meyer Berger panels, for example, have some of the longest warranties of any panel manufacturer – up to 30 years. Also, certain solar panel types have different longevity to others. Have a look at our guide to solar panel types, here.

If you are not sure you will be at your location for that length of time, don’t worry too much. Whilst you cannot feasibly take your system with you if you move, the value of your property will be increased when it comes to resale if you have a solar power system.

Cobolt Blue Energy are the only end-to-end provider in the market, and we exist to help you maximise the amount of renewable energy you can produce, either from a domestic or commercial system. Contact us for a consultation on your solar system plans.

Cobolt Blue Energy

Giving You The Power