Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I was told solar PV is maintenance free.
A: Generally the PV systems will run fault free but over time PV/ Thermal panels, inverters, AC connections and DC connections could fail under general ware and tare.
Q: My original installer is un-available/ceased trading. My system is not working. What do I do?
A: Firstly check if you have warranty backed insurance. This will be with a third party and not linked to the original solar company. Also check if your system is covered under your home insurance. If you have had heavy rain or high winds that have damaged a panel this would be covered under home insurance.
Q: I want to add more solar PV/thermal panels to an existing system. Is this possible?
A: Yes you can add panels, but not to an existing system. Most solar PV/thermal systems have been issued an MCS (microgeneration certification scheme) certificated. This has been issued as a performance certificate of the owner to receive the government Feed-in-tariff (or RHI for solar thermal.) Altering an existing system could validate your FIT or RHI payments and in some cases could lead to prosecution by your FIT/RHI provider. If you want add an additional system it will treaded as new system with the FIT being at the current rate. This will not effect your original FIT payments.
Q: My system has been installed next to a tree (sold object casing shading) and I want to improve performance by moving it to another roof area. Is this possible?
A: We would need to look at the data on your total generation meter and compare the annual kW yield to your MCS certificate. If your system is below the SAP performance figure than refitting the panels could be an option. In most cases you would only know you had a problem if your FIT provider contacted you to find out if your system was working? This can be done as long as the FIT provider is informed and the new design and is firstly passed by them. Under no circumstances can the refitted system produce a higher annual kW yield then specified on the MCS certificate. This would invalidate any future FIT payments.
Q: How do I know my solar PV\thermal system is working?
A: There are a lot of remote monitoring kits on the market now as well as inverter monitoring systems. These can be retrofitted to any solar PV/thermal system. They will let you know the system is working correctly and producing energy.
Q: I have no lights on my inverter. What can I do?
A: Firstly is it dark outside? The inverter goes in to sleep mode at dusk. They are DC voltage reliant. If you have daylight on the PV array. Check all switches are on at the inverter area and the fuse box breaker shows it is switched on. If they all look like they are on then ask a solar technician for assistance.
Q: My inverter is out of manufactures warranty how do I get a new one.
A: This is not a problem! Let us know the manufacture and model of the original inverter. We have accounts and contacts with all the major inverter manufactures in China and Europe. We can get a new replacement or in some cases a reconditioned unit out to you for a fraction of the cost.
Q: I have a leak on my roof but the roofer will not do any repairs until the panels have are removed.
A: We can remove the complete PV/ thermal array (panels and mounting kit) for the roofers to make the necessary repairs. We will then refit and re-commission the array when the work has been completed. We carry stock or all PV mounting kits so we can get it back to original condition.
Q: My PV/ Thermal system is not performing as I was told.
A: A lot of systems were miss sold or just wrongly installed. Firstly give us as much information as possible about the system. We will look at redesign your system under the MCS guidelines and work out if your system is under performing.
Q: I’ve just bough a house with a PV/Thermal system fitted. I have no information on the system or Feed-in-tariff information.
A: Give us the inverter information and your total generation meter (PV) and we will find your system details for you. We will then help you set up your FIT (feed-in-tariff) payment’s
Q: I was told my solar PV system would halve my electric bills but it hasn’t made a difference?
A: This could be down to an increase in energy demands or in some cased the PV system has been wrongly wired in to the original domestic/commercial electrical system. Call a solar technician to verify the PV design.
Q: My solar PV system keeps tripping my fuse box breaker. Is this dangerous?
A: This is some times dependant on the type of inverter/fuse box you have. This could suggest you have a fault with the AC supply to the inverter. In most cases it suggests to an inverter cause to the fault. You would need to get this fault verified by a qualified technician.
Q: My solar thermal pump sounds like it is on all the time. Is this correct?
A: No the solar thermal pump should only be working during the day light hours unless the pump station has been set to holiday mode which would send solar energy back to roof area to cool the cylinder down when hot water in not need with owner being away.
Q: My solar thermal unit never gets the cylinder warm, even in summer?
A: Check the pump station and control panel has power to it. Also check the flow rate on the pump station. This could be down do incorrect flow rate or no glycol in the thermal circuit.
Q: It sounds like the thermal system is always in stagnation. What can I do about this?
A: In all cases the solar thermal system has to be designed with the amount of hot water needs of the household. In some cases the systems have been over designed. You would need to get a solar thermal engineer to look at an alternative solar design for your needs.
Q: I’m looking at changing my gas/oil boiler do I need to do anything to the solar thermal system.
A: No if your system was installed over the last 4 years then you would have a new dual coil cylinder fitted. The solar thermal unit would be a closed circuit, which would not affect the domestic heating circuit.
Q: One of my evacuated solar thermal tubes looks a different colour from the other collectors is this normal?
A: This could suggest that one of your evacuated solar thermal tubes have cracked. Depending on what type of evacuated tube you have this will not affect the overall performance of the system, as commonly each tube is independent from the circuit. This would suggest your system would not develop a leak.
Q: I’ve checked my pressure gauge on the pump station and it is reading zero BAR is this normal.
A: This would suggest the system has lost its pressure. This could be due to not being correctly installed or the system has developed a leak. Look over all connections to the collector. A leak will be obvious, as you will see a trace of glycol congealed near it. This needs to be repaired and refilled by a qualified solar thermal technician.