Common questions

Common questions

Here are some of the questions we are commonly asked about Solar Energy and the services we can provide. If you do see you questions answered below, feel free to get in touch.

What is the Feed in Tariff?

The Feed in Tariff, or FiT, is a government policy that was introduced in 2010. It’s designed to encourage the adoption of renewable energy, and rewards you for the energy you generate from a solar system, whether you use that electricity or not. What’s more, the income is actually guaranteed for 20 years, and goes up with inflation each year, making it a fantastic investment.

How do I get paid for export?

We start your installation with a full inspection of your site, along with an analysis of your energy usage. From this we approximate your energy usage and what we think you require in order to make solar viable for you. You may use lots of energy during part of the day and very little at other times - during high usage, you’ll use all of the energy generated, and during low usage any unused energy is sent back to the grid.

Any systems over 30kWp have the option to have an export meter installed (subject to energy provider) which measures how many kWh of energy are sent back to the grid, for which you will be directly paid every quarter. For systems under 30kWp you are automatically be deemed by your FiT provider to be exporting 50% of the energy you produce. You will get paid a set export rate for that energy, which will be included within your quarterly payments after your quarterly declaration.

Do your installations meet the relevant building regulations?

Our electrical side of the domestic installation is covered by Part P of the Building Regulations. We use NICEIC Part P approved electricians, which means we will arrange Building Control Part P approval on your behalf at the end of the project.

The structural side of Building Regulations (Part A) relates to the weight which is to be added to the roof in comparison to the weight of the roof covering. We may suggest a structural survey by an independent Structural Surveyor to sign-off the calculations regarding the above. If, however, you have your own independent Structural Surveyor who can carry this out we can assist them with all the relevant information.

Can I change my electricity supplier without affecting my FiT agreement?

Yes you can. In most cases you would leave your feed in tariff agreement with the original provider but move your energy purchases to anyone you choose. Although it is possible to change your FiT provider, the level of service and income doesn’t change from one provider to another, therefore usually there is no reason to do so.

Do I need planning permission to add solar panels to my roof?

Under new government rules, any solar PV system installed under 1MW is granted under permitted development. There are some exceptions, generally around systems to be installed in AONB or near listed buildings. For systems 50kWp and over the council planning department must be advised, and may require more details of the proposed installation.

Will my roof take the weight of solar panels?

Before any work is carried out, a full structural survey is completed by an independent structural engineer, to ensure that your roof is structurally viable for solar.

Does my roof need to be south facing?

No. The best yields come from facing roofs with a 25 degree pitch, however roofs that are 20 degrees of south east or west will yield only 3-5% less dependent on the pitch. At BeBa we have many systems operating for clients orientated east and west together which on shallow roof pitches (below 15 degrees) perform exceptionally well and provide a more consistent level of energy throughout the day rather than a very high peak energy level half way through the day. This energy production profile often suites many of our clients better as they are able to use more of the power throughout the day.

How long do the panels last for?

BeBa offer a range of panel warranties:

REC - 12 years product warranty and 25 year performance warranty. This means that the product is fully guaranteed against breakdown for 12 years from the date of commission, while the module is guaranteed to perform above a certain predicted percentage of its original design output for 25 years.

In our standard payback calculator we allow for system performance degradation of 1.7 percent per year annually which falls in line with the standard warranty.

For most other modules, the product warranty is 10 years and the performance warranty is 25, however in all cases the validity is only as strong as the manufacturers business.

How long do Solar inverters last?

At Beba we only sell inverters that have a minimum of 5 year product warranty, however the majority of the inverters that we use have a 10 year warranty. We always recommend that if you have one with a 5 year warranty that you opt to extend (usually at an additional cost) as this can give complete peace of mind beyond the payback period of the system. The design life of inverters is between 10 and 20 years, however factors such as environmental conditions location and grid conditions affect the system and accurate forecasting is impossible.

What happens if one of my panels or inverters breaks?

If anything breaks during the warranty period, due to malfunction of materials or a defect due to workmanship, we will rectify the issue at our cost. Beyond the warranty period, charges vary depending on whether your system is being operated by us under our BeBa facilities management partner plus plan.

Why is routine maintenance essential?

If you want to gain a maximum return on investment, keep a safe, functional and tidy system, and avoid costly repairs, you need to conduct routine maintenance. We don't agree with other installers who consider solar to be a "fit and forget" technology, because we've seen systems in a dangerous state.

Technical upgrades, annual cleaning of inverters, annual system check-ups and a technical helpline are just a few of the benefits of BeBa Facilities Management, ensuring your system is safe and healthy and protecting your investment. With smaller solar installers going out of business, you know you can come to us for peace of mind.

Why are LED lamps more energy efficient?

LED bulbs use far fewer watts of electricity than other types of lighting, but still produce the same level of light. On top of that, they don't get hot the way older bulbs do, so they're not wasting energy generating heat instead of light.  

How long do LED lights last?

Generally, LEDs last for up to 50,000 hours - which is 50 times longer than the old-style incandescent lamp and more than 20 times longer than a halogen light. 50,000 hours equates to over 11 years, if you were to use the light for 12 hours a day.   

Don't LEDs produce a harsh light?

You can get LED bulbs that produce warm light or cool light, giving you the flexibility to find the right lighting profile for your environment - cooler light is often used for task-driven areas, while warm bulbs give a friendlier, softer look.  By creating the right combination, you can positively affect worker performance and satisfaction, as well as customer engagement.

Because the light from LEDs is directional rather than diffuse, it is more efficient but can appear to be harsher. The latest LED bulb designs use diffuser lenses and reflectors to disperse the light, making it softer and less direct.   

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