A Solar PV installation journey

Solar PV installation: Getting the project going

Published by geoffbrickell on 30 August 2011

Image Looking back at my electricity bills I had been growing more and more concerned that the bills were not only steadily going up, but they were also not very seasonal, i.e. each monthly bill was pretty much the same winter or summer.

I had already swapped all of my lighting to new low power bulbs, and having installed a real-time meter to be able to 'see' my consumption on an immdiate basis, it was clear that most of my 'base load' consumption was due to 'gadgets' of one sort of another; primarily the large amount of computer equipment that runs all day long as part of my business which I run from home.

My minimum goal therefore was to supply my base load consumption and with the amount of roof space that I had available I wanted to investigate installing the maximum amount of solar PV capacity. To benefit from the highest Feed in Tariff this meant a maximum installed capacity of 4kW so this was my target.

Contacting potential suppliers was very straightforward since there are a lot out there now, and I opted to look at both national and local suppliers - although I would prefer to choose a local supplier if they met all my criteria - which were:

  • must obviously be a Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accredited company and installing MCS approved equipment - otherwise I would not be eligible for the Feed-in-Tariffs
  • should be able to provide as complete a 'turn-key' supply as possible
  • my research suggested that  a complete installation price should be at or about £3000 per installed kW of capacity i.e. about £12k for a 4kW system - but it should be noted that prices will continue to come down as time goes on
  • must be able to demonstrate credible knowledge of all aspects of the installation and to provide contactable references for successful installations in the area

Once potential suppliers started to provide information things started to move very quickly !