This section provides the answers to many common questions. Please select the section you are interested in below, or from the general topics above .
You can download a printer-friendly version here (though think of the environment before printing it all!).
If you cannot find the answers you are looking for please contact us directly and we will be happy to help.
Grid Connection FAQ
Do I require a connection to the National Grid?
A connection to the national grid is not necessarily required for solar PV and wind
turbine systems, though it is becoming the most popular style of system. If no
grid connection is available, the renewable generation system can be connected
to a remote battery system in order to store the generated electricity.
Because battery systems can be expensive and more difficult to maintain, it is
now more common for systems to be connected to the National Grid where
possible. This means that you can always draw in more power if you need, but
also allows you to export your excess generation so that it can be used by others.
Can I make money from my generated electricity?
Many utility companies are now willing to pay you for any excess electricity that
you export back to the National Grid from a renewable microgenerator. The price
paid for this electricity is currently set at around 3p/kWh.
The Government also have a “Feed in Tariff” scheme, where they pay your for
generated power regardless of whether or not you make use of it. The rates vary
dependant on your technology installed and its size. See the Energy Saving Trust
website for more details on the current scheme.
Will I be able to generate my own electricity during a power cut?
No. When your renewable energy generation system is connected to the National
Grid, it constantly monitors the electricity in the grid for fluctuations and
interruptions. If a power cut occurs, your system will automatically shut down and
you will not be able to continue generating even if the wind is blowing and the sun
This is done so that if the National Grid requires any maintenance work
to be performed, your system will not be supplying power to the line, potentially
causing danger to any engineers working on it. It also ensures that the output
from your system is still compatible with grid electricity when the supply is re-
There are emerging technologies based on battery storage which will provide backup during power cuts, but they tend to involve significant further work from a normal grid connected storage system. Contact us for more detail on this.
Planning Permission FAQ
Do I need planning permission?
It is always best to speak to your local authority’s planning department. It is likely
that they will ask for more information about your development.
Planning permission is often required for wind turbines, but most local authorities
are keen to support the installation of micro-renewables. Obtaining planning
permission is usually straightforward. You should not require any planning
permission to install ground source heating.
Solar PV systems on pitched roofs are usually allowed under “Permitted
Development” unless you are in a conservation area or have a listed building. Flat
roof and Ground Mounted systems are worth checking with your installer to check
whether they are included under the permitted development scheme.
Do I pay VAT?
The standard rate of VAT is 20%. For a household, there is a special reduced rate
of 5% for Solar PV insallations.
Battery storage is at 20% VAT unless it’s installed at the same time as any Solar PV system when it becomes 5%.
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