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    So what's the current lowdown on a DIY install?

    A local MCS company weren't interested in pricing for me, I have found a friendly retired electrician who has offered to help out.

    My house is Victorian Terrace.

    Where do I begin? Links appreciated
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeOct 24th 2018
    Don’t think that you gan get FiTs without MCS
    • CommentAuthorJamster
    • CommentTimeOct 24th 2018
    Do the maths on FiTs and the extra cost for an accredited MCS installer vs parts and costs only. Don't forget the FIT for panels is being withdrawn at the end of March '19. If you weren't thinking of looking for FIT, DIY is doable I understand as long as you can get it signed off.

    From watching our install, I would suggest that the roof mounts and cable runs are DIY-able as long as you get direction early on re the system you are using.

    Maybe look at a few MCS companies for what kit they use as a starting point? There are a number of contributors on here who know a lot more about both the market and the installation process than me though!
    • CommentTimeOct 25th 2018
    Posted By: VictorianecoI have found a friendly retired electrician who has offered to help out.

    Is he [still] Part P registered? If not, you will have to notify building control and get the work inspected, so might be more trouble than it's worth.
    • CommentAuthordickster
    • CommentTimeOct 25th 2018
    Just about to start building a "brise soleil" across front of sheds for 7 landscape panels.

    Got a fully qualified electrician, but no way could find an accredited solar company to sign it off (they want the work for themselves, quite naturally), so all being done by local solar company.

    In planning the brise soleil construction, I eventually had to go and get a spare bit of mounting rail, bracket etc so as to get layout and dimensions right.
    head over to https://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php/board,1.0.html probably the best UK resource for this. Someone there can give you advice.
    just been over there myself..

    Victorian eco , are you intending, hoping to get FITs payments ?

    where will you fit the panels?
    how much room do you have?
    whats your budget?
    are the ppanels all facing one way on one pitch , preferably in a southerly direction?

    Its not that complex if you follow basic design guidelines
    work out available space
    work out how many panels you can fit
    decide on what you want to pay for panels , budget , EU brand etc
    look at inverter choices ,
    buy the kit
    fit it
    turn it on
    register it with DNO
    a good pv supplier http://www.windandsun.co.uk/
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeOct 25th 2018
    It could well be that you need planning permission if you are in the UK
    • CommentTimeOct 25th 2018
    Solar panels are permitted development, except in special cases.


    jamesingram quoth: "are you intending, hoping to get FITs payments ?
    "fit it
    turn it on
    register it with DNO"

    Not sufficient for FIT, I believe. Needs to be MCS for that.

    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeOct 26th 2018
    When they are. On the roof of a house permitted development generally applies

    On Additional structures, on roofs of buildings that are not housed including garages and on other structures or on the ground/slope planning is needed
    • CommentAuthorsam_cat
    • CommentTimeOct 26th 2018
    Not just on the house:

    "Solar equipment mounted on a house or a block of flats or on a building within the curtilage"

    All the following conditions must be observed:

    Equipment on a building should be sited, so far as is practicable, to minimise the effect on the external appearance of the building and the amenity of the area.
    When no longer needed equipment should be removed as soon as reasonably practicable.
    All the following limits must be met:

    Panels should not be installed above the highest part of the roof (excluding the chimney) and should project no more than 200mm from the roof slope or wall surface.
    The panels must not be installed on a building that is within the grounds of a listed building or on a site designated as a scheduled monument.
    If your property is in a conservation area, or in a World Heritage Site, panels must not be fitted to a wall which fronts a highway.
    Note - If you are a leaseholder you may need to get permission from your landlord, freeholder or management company.


    When I spoke to our local planning dept they were very very helpful. Well worth a chat!
    • CommentTimeOct 26th 2018
    For a relative we managed to find an outbuilding roof inside her property's curtilage but outside the *historic* curtilage of her listed building. Her local planning and conversation departments, though both horribly under-resourced, were extremely helpful and indeed helped identify the target building.



    djh , yes. just trying to find out what Vic..eco was after
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeOct 27th 2018
    Wouldn't now be a good time to get an MCS certified company to do the job? I'd have thought the market is drying up knowing that the FIT payments will end next March - is there any evidence of a last minute rush as there was when the FIT payments dropped dramatically?
    Id say yes Jeff, get it before its gone.
    I've just had 2 jobs pop up as a result of this. I've not done any installs in a year or so ( I'm small time all rounder but done 30+ pv installs since Fits turn up)
    Am I right in saying you can't have FIT's for solar and air source simultaneously?

    How much would an average DIY install cost without a FIT? Perhaps enough to run electric in the day and any left over just topping up the immersion of the ASHP?
    • CommentAuthorsam_cat
    • CommentTimeOct 29th 2018
    Victorianeco... Depends. We had a handy Veranda to bolt things to so I could get up and do it myself with minimum hassle. Roof of house would be a different matter.

    We went second hand to install ~1kW of panels. All prices are approx.

    £350 for 4x nearly new (solar farm seconds, unused) Q Cell 265watt panels
    £80 for Growatt 1500s inverter (second hand, ebay)
    £100 for 6mm wire, MC4 connectors, DC isolators and AC isolator
    £100 for mounting rails, clamps, bolts etc

    £20 for MC4 crimp tool - Resold on ebay after the fact for what it cost me

    2x Crates of beer for friendly sparky to come and test and signoff the circuit.

    If you are patient you CAN pickup bargains on ebay/gumtree etc... Have cash ready to go, understand what you need/want and go from there.

    I designed mine so the inverter was a bit too big for the panels I had, as I only covered half the available roof. Grabbed another 4 panels (another 1kWp) recently when the price was right. WIth this addition the inverter will be maxed out, and at peak will generate 1.5kW from the 2kW of panels... But max output is rare!
    Interesting, so about £1-£1.5k for a 2kW system? No FIT then but assume you benefit from the energy created.

    What do you calculate your payback at?
    • CommentAuthorskyewright
    • CommentTimeOct 29th 2018
    Posted By: VictorianecoAm I right in saying you can't have FIT's for solar and air source simultaneously?

    FIT (Feed In Tariff) & RHI (Renewable Heat Initiative) are totally different separate schemes. Is that what you are thinking of?
    No you are not right. You can have RHI and FiT. Lots do.
    • CommentAuthorsam_cat
    • CommentTimeOct 29th 2018
    <b>What do you calculate your payback at?</b>

    No idea...
    Didnt do it for 'profit', more for being green. And being second hand parts its a double whammy of green.

    With 1kWp we have seen the following this year
    Jan 2018 - 50 kWh
    Feb 2018 - 43 kWh
    Mar 2018 - 45 kWh
    Apr 2018 - 69 kWh
    May 2018 - 102 kWh
    June 2018 - 109 kWh
    July 2018 - 112 kWh
    Aug 2018 - 89 kWh
    Sept 2018 - 65 kWh

    So a healthy amount of power, we time washing/dishwasher/any other power consuming items to take advantage of the best time of day.. And also run an immersun type diverter to dump into hot water tank.
    • CommentAuthorbhommels
    • CommentTimeOct 29th 2018
    Posted By: VictorianecoInteresting, so about £1-£1.5k for a 2kW system? No FIT then but assume you benefit from the energy created.

    What do you calculate your payback at?

    PVGIS is the go-to tool for annual solar yield calculation, and for optimizing angles etc:
    Also useful is the Microgen database estimator, maintained by Sheffield Uni:
    which estimates potential yield using data from real-world systems.
    The most useful metric is the kWh/kWp figure, on a monthly or annual basis. It depends a lot on your geographical location and orientation, local shading etc.
    Given today's system cost and electricity pricing, a 10-12year payback time is possible, even without FiT, if your system is south facing, unshaded and you have means of using most of the production.
    • CommentAuthorjamesingram
    • CommentTimeOct 29th 2018 edited
    V eco , check out ebay you can get a 4kW system for £2.2k, all materials (REC panels which are good quality and score best on EROEI)
    I'll have a look, reason I'm interested is we may move within the next 5 years. I'd imagine one could take it away but too much hassle.

    Our current electrical use costs us £85 a month all in. So even if that amount was cut by 10% (realistic?) saving £100 a year would take a serious amount of time to recoup even if DIY'd
    • CommentAuthorbhommels
    • CommentTimeOct 30th 2018
    From my 2.88kWp PV array, about 30% is used by the household, which is about 900 kWh/year. The immersion heater / hot water tank gobbles up another 1400 kWh/year, leaving 500 for grid export in the peak summer months.

    A 1-1.5 kWp system would be really efficient in covering the household load, depending on consumption. If you go above that I would recommend an immersion heater controller, provided you have a hot water cylinder.

    I think your estimate for the savings is right, perhaps a bit conservative. The recoup time would be somewhere between 10 and 15 years indeed (in which time the electricity prices will only go one way).
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeOct 30th 2018
    who needs FiTs with returns like that
    Can anyone recommend a decent but cheap electric monitor to see what my actual use is? My biggest use I'd imagine is the ASHP but can't see there being much sun in the night when it is needed most. I'll see what maths I can do.

    We could program the washing machine and dishwasher to run in the day at peak of sun apart from that not much energy is used as we're in work.

    Would it be better to run the immersion off solar to heat the water or feed the ASHP to heat the water? 🤔
    • CommentAuthorgoodevans
    • CommentTimeOct 30th 2018 edited
    My guess is it would be easier to feed an immersion - the solar diverters can adjust the load/voltage for an immersion circuit so that just the excess solar is used (because the immersion is a simple resistive load).

    Another advantage is an immersion can heat the water perhaps to 85 degrees C or sometimes more. An ASHP will top out at 55 degrees C.

    I'm not sure that running economy 7 is best for an ASHP either - Unless a high proportion of the electricity is used at the dead of night. This may not be the case if the heat load is low. In addition the ASHP will be less efficient at night as it is usually colder at night.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeOct 30th 2018
    Equipment on a building should be sited, so far as is practicable, to minimise the effect on the external appearance of the building and the amenity of the area.

    Beware that different authorities interpret this differently.

    In some cases it means you must take all practicable steps to minimise the impact on the external appearance EVEN if this means you have to put them on a north facing roof where the output is badly compromised. Otherwise you have to apply for Planning Permission.

    See also..


    from page 1..

    "You are interpreting the phrase "so far as practicable" in relation to the efficiency of the installation however this term refers to whether or not the panels can be installed in such a way as to minimise the effect on the building/amenity of the area. For example to comply with these conditions we would usually expect the installation of solar panels on a mid-terraced property to be on the rear rather than the principal elevation. Whilst most properties benefit from permitted development rights not all householders are able to utilise them."


    "I decided to go for retrospective PP & was granted it without needing to make alterations."
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