Q: How much will it cost me to install solar panels on my land/property?
Solar Planet projects are fully funded and therefore carry no cost from installation to operation and maintenance for the duration of the lease. Should you wish to finance your own project, we will be happy to provide a design, installation and maintenance service at competitive market prices. Please call James at +353 87 258 3912 or email James@solarplanet.ie for more information.
Q: How does Solar Planet make a profit?
Returns are obtained from the sale of the ‘clean’ electricity generated, and government subsidy schemes like the Feed in Tariff, Renewable Obligation Certificate and the PPA . This income covers the operation and maintenance costs of the project, repayment of the initial investment, and a profit for the running of Solar Planet as a business.
Q: How long will the solar PV project be operational?
All components are qualified and assessed diligently prior to installation to ensure operation for at least 35-40 years.
Q: What is involved in the maintenance and operation of the project?
Solar PV panels require minimum maintenance and are self cleaning, with no permanent on site staff required. Solar Planet installs a remote monitoring system on each project, enabling our in-house operations and maintenance team to monitor all our projects remotely, in real-time. This limits the requirement for site visits, which are typically carried out about twice a year for general maintenance checks.
Q: How and why do governments subsidise alternative energy generation?
There is a high initial cost involved with implementing any new power station, and solar technology is no exception. For this reason, all energy generation is in some way subsidised by the government, including nuclear, gas, solar and other renewables.
As solar technology becomes more efficient and more widely used, the cost of installing a solar power plants is decreasing. As with other power station technologies, this initial cost is more than the government can afford to outlay, so incentives encourage private companies to make these investments instead. The advantages and incentives for renewable energy generators, (for example the Feed in Tariff (FiT) and Renewable Obligation (RO) regime), work by ensuring that generators receive a good price for the energy they produce. This reduces the risk for investment and enables developers to make a steady return on what is a large upfront commitment. As the Irish solar industry grows and the cost of renewable technologies continues to decrease, the financial assistance needed from the government will be reduced more and more. Eventually, renewables no longer require any subsidy.
Q: What happens if I want to sell my property?
Solar power projects are now widely recognised as assets to a property. If you have entered into a lease agreement with Solar Planet, there are three possible options
- The lease can be transferred to the new owners to continue with the tenancy of the solar PV system
- Buy out the remainder of the PPA adding to the value of the building.
- Also from 2019 medium and large installations will be allowed to move the Solar system to a new property without losing feed-in tariff payments this will be called ‘Lift and Shift’ and the lease would continue on the new premises.
Q: What will happen if the solar panels cause damage to my property?
In the unlikely event that the solar panels become damaged or cause damage to your property, Solar Planet is obliged to make right any damages and the site will be attended to by an in-house engineer that is locally based. All Solar Planet projects include insurances and warranties against your property to cover the unlikely event of any damages occurring during installation and the lifetime operation.
Q: How does a solar panel actually make electricity?
Solar panels are made up of solar cells, like the ones you see on calculators, called photovoltaic (PV) cells. The cells convert sunlight directly into electricity. Groups of cells connected electrically are packaged into a frame known as a solar panel, which can then be grouped into larger solar arrays.
When light strikes the cell, a certain portion of it is absorbed within the semiconductor material. The energy of the absorbed light is transferred to the semiconductor and knocks electrons loose, allowing them to flow freely.
PV cells also all have one or more electric fields which force electrons, freed by the light absorption, to flow in a certain direction. This flow of electrons is a current, and by placing metal contacts on the top and bottom of the PV cell, we can draw that current off for external use. This current, together with the cell’s voltage (which is a result of its built-in electric field or fields), defines the power (or wattage) that the solar cell can produce.
Q: How much do panels weigh? Can my roof take it?
Solar panels weigh around 10kg per m2 when installed (each module weighs about 20kg). Almost all modern buildings will be able to support this load. We check every building we install on. All modern buildings have an excess load bearing capacity of 100kg per m2– solar panels are only 10% of this roof capacity.
Q: Is my building suitable?
All buildings are different as there are variations in roof fabric, structure, pitch and orientation. These factors affect the installation costs as well as the efficiency of the array. We undertake an on-site feasibility and structural survey . We will contact the local grid operator (DNO) on your behalf to ensure that we are able to export any energy you don’t use to the grid.
Q: How much will my roof space generate?
Your geographic location and the pitch and orientation of your building will dictate how many kWh’s the solar panels will produce. We use standardised Micro-generation Certification Scheme (MCS) data to produce a 25 year forecast and where possible, if we have your data, match this with your actual consumption figures. We will make a recommendation on the size of the array, looking to maximise return on investment. By using solar electricity, companies can fix the price of a large part of their energy usage for 25 years giving fuel price security and increasing competitiveness.
Q: Do I need planning permission?
Most roof mounted commercial installations under 1MWh are regarded as permitted development, which do not usually need planning permission. We have an in house planning team to address any site specific planning issues.
Q: How long will my array last?
Modern solar PV systems are extremely robust. All our panels come with a 25 year manufacturers warranty. Our inverters have a standard 10 year warranty that can be extended to 20 years. All our work comes with a 3 year workmanship installion guarantee.
Q: Why should I install solar panels?
As a customer there are key financial savings from installing solar panels. Importantly, the more power renewable energy companies can generate themselves, the less Ireland has to produce using carbon polluting fossil fuel power stations. The less we need imported oil, coal and gas, the less reliant we are on the world market, and the less new power stations we need to build.
With the supply chain coming under more and more scrutiny, companies able to show their environmental commitments will undoubtedly be able to add value to their brand.
Currently it is estimated that around 20% of non-domestic buildings could fail to meet this standard. Therefore we highly recommended that commercial landlords take the opportunity to explore the possibility of solar energy for their building.
Q: How does a Power Purchase Agreement work?
The solar Photovoltaic system is installed and maintained whenever necessary by Solar Planet for free. The client enters into an agreement for 20 years which states they will supply the electricity to you at a reduced rate on the power provided by the system.
Q: Will my business need to be adapted in any way for Solar PV?
No, it is not necessary to make any adaptations to your property or business, solar PV is designed to work seamlessly on your property. Once the system is installed you don’t need to change appliances or your electrical sockets, everything will operate the same as before. The only change you will notice is a reduction in utility bills.
Q: Is there a leap in the price paid per KWh throughout the 20 years?
No. The client can plan ahead 20 years as the price increase is index linked, year on year as opposed to current grid electricity prices varying between 5%-10% increases each year.
Q: What happens at the end of the 20 year agreement?
After 20 years, you, the client will own the solar panel system outright (for a nominal charge of €1) and the system which will keep producing electricity for years after. In the event that the client wishes for the panels to be removed then Solar Planet will carry out that operation.