Solar Panel Installation - The Process
February 12, 2021
Once you have made the decision to explore the options for generating your own clean power, where do you start and what is the process?
The first step of any journey is often the most important and the development of a solar PV array is no different.
With 12 months half-hourly demand data, a copy of your most recent electricity bill, and confirmation of the building(s)/land in mind, we will analyse your information to determine the optimum size of system based on your motivation for “going green”.
Once we have determined the correct system size we will put a preliminary proposal together.
Our preliminary proposal is 80% financial and 20% technical, and will cover –
- Size and approximate layout of the system
- Utilisation of the solar power
- Capital Cost and funding options
- Operational costs
- Payback/Return on investment
- Carbon reduction figures
At this early stage all we are likely to know about your site is what we have been able to glean from your data and Google Maps. However a preliminary proposal is sufficiently detailed enough to allow us to review some of the reasons why a solar array might not be right for your business before either party commits too much time or resource on something that is unlikely to progress past the concept stage in the short/medium-term.
Full Technical Survey
If the preliminary proposal stacks up, the next step is to fully assess the proposed location. Our technical survey usually takes a morning and will involve 6 of our team – all with varying skillsets – visiting site to measure and understand the thousands of different variables on site.
Our technical survey includes –
- G99 application
- Independent structural assessment
- Roof condition survey
- Scaffold and access assessment
- Electrical integration assessment
- Health and safety appraisal
It is our hope that we gather all of the information we require during this visit but it may require additional visits – usually from a single member of our team – if the project is particularly complex or the scope alters as a result of what we discover.
Assuming the outcome of the survey is positive, we will return to you with a formal proposal.
This proposal will be similar to the preliminary version but will include much more detail around how we would deliver the project.
We will confirm the system design and output as well as the scaffold and access arrangements. Most critically we will confirm how long it will take to deliver the project, the level of disruption you can expect (if any) and any power outages we may require.
Planning Permission / Permitted Development
Once you have agreed to move forward with your project and have signed our supply contract, we will draft, submit and progress either a Permitted Development application or full planning application.
A solar array qualifies for Permitted Development if –
- The total installed capacity is under 1MW
- The panels sit now more than 200mm from the plane of the roof
- There is a 1m border between the outer panels and the roof
- If ground mounted the footprint of the array is less than 9m2
If your solar arrays does not satisfy all of these criteria then a full planning application will be required.
As soon as we have the appropriate permissions in place we move into the delivery phase.
We work closely with your teams to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum whilst immersing ourselves in the specific rules of the site.
During the build we may even fly our drone to capture some progress footage for use in the post-completion drone video.
Once the system has been successfully delivered and has been operational for several weeks, we will arrange a detailed handover with you to once again take you through the various procedures you might need to be aware of.
This will include shutting down the system in an emergency, as well as starting the system back up in the event that it should shut down.
We will also run you through your online monitoring portal so that you can check the realtime performance of the array – although most clients prefer to set automated reports that are sent to their inbox once a month; these are almost infinitely customisable and can contain detail such as –
- Output of system
- Consumption of solar power
- Level of export to grid
Most clients prefer their solar installations to integrate seamlessly into their operations without the need for additional management.
With this in mind, our tailored operations and maintenance packages allow BeBa to worry about the performance of your system while you focus on your core activities.
Our packages range from a simple ‘MOT’ once a year, all the way up to full monitoring on your behalf with swift-action if the system appears to be under-performing. Moreover, because we have installed over 500 systems across the country, we can bench the performance of your array against systems in your area – not just against the projections in our algorithm.
We like to work with our partners for the long term – not just to ensure we get the most from your asset – but to ensure that we regularly review where we are against where we said we would be.
Accordingly, we will plan an annual review – broad or detailed to suit your diary – so that you can see how your investment is performing, as well as to suggest other opportunities that might support your financial and green ambitions.
Last year our annual review with Hildon Water showed their system overperformed by 4%.