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Thomas Sanderson

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DIY

Solar PanelsIt is possible to buy DIY solar energy kits. Many will be customised to your particular requirements.


BUT

Anyone installing a DIY kit needs good plumbing and building skills. Panels can be heavy and you need to know that your roof is capable of bearing the extra weight, especially when panels are fitted over existing tiles.

Water heating systems need to be checked out to ensure that they are compatible with solar systems.  For example, a combination boiler is often incompatible as it doesn’t use a storage tank, and works on a high pressure system - whereas most solar water heating systems are low pressure.

As the terms of a grant require that the system is installed by an accredited installer DIY systems do not comply. It is worth comparing the savings to be made from DIY kits and the amount that could be obtained though a grant.


CHOOSING AN INSTALLER


To obtain a grant you must employ a certified BERR (Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, formerly the DTI) installer, or one that is registered with the Low Carbon Buildings programme. Details of how to find a local installer can be found through www.lowcarbonbuildings.org.uk.

Trade bodies such as the Solar Trade Association are also worth consulting as they ensure members work to strict guidelines and ethical practices.


WHAT DO I NEED TO INSTALL?

Again that goes back to the question are you interested in generating electricity or heating water.

Solar panels, slates or tiles will generate electricity, while panels and tubes are the generators of hot water. Here the advice of an experienced installer should help you to find the best system possible for your needs, and what is possible from the space you have to install solar equipment.

To produce electricity for your home appliances you need an inverter which coverts the DC current collected to AC, which is used in your electricity supply, and a battery system for storage.

If you generate more than your household needs you can arrange for the supply to be transferred to the national grid system. For this you need to contact your electricity supply company for details, and to arrange payments to you for the excess.

For a hot water system you will require solar panels or tubes, a heat transfer or exchanger system (which uses the collected heat to warm the water) and a hot water cylinder.

 

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