Frequently Asked Questions
Find out answers to frequently asked questions about solar panels and solar panel services. We have been in the industry for over 10 years and were the first to offer solar panel pest proofing, so we have answered many questions.
If your question isn’t answered below, contact us and our experts will answer your questions by phone or email for free.
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Frequently Asked Questions are often abbreviated to “FAQ”
Solar Panels FAQ
Installing solar panels is a complex process that requires a team of qualified professionals. This answer is a quick summary of the process, check out our blog to find out more. Before starting there are many variables that impact how the installation will work, such as the type, size, and height of premise.
Other than at solar farms, most solar panels are installed on the roof (ideally south facing and with a pitch of 30 to 40 degrees) of a building. Therefore, scaffolding is required to get the team, equipment, and the panels onto the roof. We work in tandem with Direct Scaffolding to get this done quickly and easily. After the scaffolding is set up, the next step is to install solar panel mounts (angled between 18 and 36 degrees based on the sun exposure). With the mounts in place, it is time to place the solar panels (each weighing around 20 kilograms) on the mounts and then secure all nuts and bolts. When solar panels are mounted and fitted, it is time to wire them into the household electricity supply (ensuring the power is first off). When they are wired in properly, the solar inverter is connected to the system, usually in a garage, utility room or other less used indoor space (they can also be installed outside but must be kept out of the afternoon sun to avoid breakages). We only use top of the range Solar Edge inverters, to maximise solar yield and minimise downtime, because other brands mostly only work on the sunniest days, which we do not always have in England.
Next, we connect the solar inverter to a solar battery, for power storage, and the consumer unit (along with a monitor) so that you can check your solar systems performance. This is often installed next to other similar devices such as heating controls or smart meters. Finally, we switch on the electricity and do a comprehensive test on the system to ensure it is working. If needed, we then optimise the setup slightly to maximise the results, adjusting panels and so forth if our initial calculations regarding tilt, sun exposure and so on were slightly off. After this point, the solar panels are installed, but we offer several add on services including pest proofing and gutter clearing, that can be completed for a small extra cost. Most customers take advantage of these “while you’re up there” services and get us back after a couple of years to do a high-tech panel clean to ensure maximum efficiency. If there are ever any problems, we are available 7 days a week to answer any questions and schedule repairs, if for example a tree falls on a panel and breaks it. Some customers then take advantage of discounts with other Direct companies, such as Air Conditioning or Pest Control, tap here for the full list.
It is highly recommended to not attempt to use this as a guide to fit your own solar panels, and we do not advocate doing that. Fitting your own solar panels can result in damage to yourself, your home, your electricity supply, the panel system itself and due to the complex nature of the setup, can be a futile effort as the panels may not work as you would expect when a professional team fits your solar panels. If you are interested in fitting solar panels to your home or business, get in touch using the contact form below or by calling 0800 088 6392, and our team will do it for you for the best price, guaranteed. Find out more about our solar panel installation service on the solar panel installation service page.
Check out this video from The Science Asylum to find out how solar panels work, in short by converting sunlight into electricity, and while it is much more complicated than that, this video aims to explain the process in an easy to understand and fun way. A written explanation is on the way, but due to the complex process and abundance of videos that accurately explain the process, we recommend watching this solar panel video and some of the related videos on YouTube.
The cost of a solar array (collection of solar panels that you would see on a roof) varies depending on the location of installation, number of panels and a variety of other factors. The short answer is to think in terms of thousands of pounds rather than hundreds. However, this is an investment that will eventually return more in savings than it costs in installation, it is simply a matter of time. When you choose Direct Solar Care, we promise you the best price, so if you have an existing quote with another company, but would rather get our higher quality panels, inverters, customer service and array of discounted services at our partner companies (such as Direct Air Conditioning), just let us know and we will beat their price.
Not all solar panels are created equal, with many of the first solar panels only being a fraction of the efficiency of the latest panels. We are committed to providing high quality at low cost, so we only use top of the range JA solar panels, which are the best on the market. They have been leading the market since 2005 and are used by the worlds most revered solar farms as well as the finest homes and businesses. Find out more by tapping here.
Check out this video from The Science Asylum to find out how solar panels work, in short by converting sunlight into electricity, and while it is much more complicated than that, this video aims to explain the process in an easy to understand and fun way. A written explanation is on the way, but due to the complex process and abundance of videos that accurately explain the process, we recommend watching this video and some of the related videos on YouTube.
They really are. Solar panels are an investment that lower your energy bills even on cloudy days, which are likely in the UK. No matter what, eventually you will save more than you spend when you install solar panels in the UK. When you take into account the fact that installing solar panels raises your homes value, sometimes by more than they cost to install, they are definitely worth it!
The main materials are silicon solar cells, glass, metal frame (usually aluminium), bus wiring, 12b copper wires with plastic casing.
Turn sunlight into electricity that powers electrical devices for homes or businesses. More info coming soon.
Due to the complicated nature of solar panels and the many parts that are combined to create them, they are typically made in factories or laboratories. More info coming soon.
Solar panels cost thousands of pounds to have installed, but are an investment that return (by lowering energy bills or even having the grid pay you for your energy_ the amount spent on having panels installed over time. So while they are expensive initially, not having solar panels is more expensive long term.
They allow you to save money while saving the world by saving the environment. They also allow you to live off-grid and not be reliant on energy companies. More info coming soon.
The exact value varies from system to system based on sun exposure, number of panels and so on. But, on average, you can expect to save at least £270 per year / £2700 per decade. This, coupled with raising your homes value on the competitive housing market, and saving the environment, makes getting solar panels a logical decision.
Solar panels are well known to raise home value and make homes more attractive to potential buyers. More info coming soon.
Solar cells were invented in 1883 by Charles Fritts, but are only just becoming popular as the costs have lowered and the amount of energy produced has increased.
In 1954 Daryl Chapin, Calvin Fuller, and Gerald Pearson, working at Bell Labs, created the first version of modern solar cells, based on silicon rather than gold, similar to ones still used today.
By converting sunlight into electricity, instead of converting large chunks of the planet into electricity, we are avoiding first the destruction of the environment to constantly rip up more for fuel. Secondly, as solar panels take the sunlight and turn it into energy, there are no emissions like toxic fumes, which is what coal or oil powerplants create. Those fumes are harmful to plants, wildlife and people whilst in the air, but also then contaminate the water that all life needs to survive. The solar panels still need to be created, just like coal burning furnaces need to be created, which causes some damage to the environment, but it is by far the lesser of two evils. Protecting the environment by switching to solar is important now because mankind has had more of a negative impact on the environment in the last 100 years than in the last 5000 years combined, because of the introduction of mass production, cars, planes, heavy use of electricity and more. It is only a matter of time before a catastrophe, and in recent years we have been seeing some horrific natural disasters that link directly to damaging the environment, such as rampant wildfires, floods and animals going extinct.
More info coming soon.
Yes, they are much better than fossil fuel alternatives. See above answer.
Solar panels have a long life and will usually outlast the amount of time spent living in a home. If you really want to dispose of solar panels, you’ll be happy to hear hear that most solar panels are incredibly valuable even when broken. Recycling solar panels is done by specialists, and they are used to make new solar panels. However, if your solar panels are broken, get us to take a look and conduct any needed repairs before thinking about recycling them. Some companies will claim to recycle your panel, but instead fix one small thing on them and sell them on for a huge profit. We have your back though, with the cheapest maintenance and repair service in the solar industry, so there’s no need to worry about recycling your panels.
In regard to solar batteries attached to your house for the purpose of storing solar energy that you do not need at the moment it is made.
The energy that is produced by the panels goes through a DC to AC inverter that makes the charge useful for day to day applications. The AC current then travels through a system of wires to your solar battery, wherein a carefully constructed mechanism traps the current until it is needed later. The most basic battery involves a large amount of copper wire that tricks the electricity into thinking it is still travelling to your TV, but just goes round in circles instead. Modern innovations have expanded on the idea and made it far more complex, but the basic idea is still the same.
See the answer to “how do solar panels work?” or “how do solar panels work (for kids).
No. We haven’t had this happen to any of our installations.
Because solar panels are made of non flammable materials such as silicon, glass and metal, setting fire to them would require a lot more than the intense sunlight they are built to handle.
Therefore, the only obvious reason for them catching fire is someone intentionally destroying them by doing something like covering them in petrol and throwing a match.
It is still advised to get regular check ups, like you would for your health or your car, just to ensure your system is running at peak capability. But in our long experience, we have not heard of a single system catching fire.
This is one of the stranger questions we have been asked, but is a perfectly valid concern for those who know nothing about solar panels.
The classic. If only we could get a huge lamp and hook it up to our solar array, then it would power itself. Unfortunately, for now, solar panels are not that effective at harnessing light. Solar cells can operate using artificial light, but produce little energy compared to sunlight. Think of the difference in heat coming from a standard light bulb vs standing in the sunlight. For smaller devices like watches, artificial light can be enough, but to power your collection of televisions and phones, you need the original and best: sunlight.
This video should explain how solar panels work in a way that even kids can understand.
Solar panels do work through glass, but not nearly as well as directly in the sun. That is why you rarely see solar panels hidden away behind glass. However, if you would like us to install solar panels behind glass, your wish is our command!
Solar panels themselves do not heat homes. The panels turn the suns heat and light into raw power which is transformed into electrical energy, which can then be used to heat homes. In the UK, we heat our homes primarily in winter, but there is also less sunlight in winter. Therefore, while solar panels can be used for heating, they are usally used to power other electrical devices such as lights, refrigerators, televisions and so on. Plus, in many homes the heat comes from boiling water rather than electrical heating. The power from solar panels can contribute to the proper functioning of a boiler system, however many of these systems rely on gas power. In short, they do help to heat your home and lessen the cost of heating, but are more worthwhile to lower or remove the cost out of devices such as mobile phones.
Solar panels transform sunlight into energy, so at night, when there is no sunlight, they cannot perform that function. However, they do work to insulate your homes roof at night, think of it as extra cladding or a hat on a person.
Information and mobile solar panel fitting service coming soon.
At noon, when the sun is at its highest, on the summer equinox (day with most sunlight), on a cloud free day.
Also, cleaning the solar panels will further increase the efficiency.
Day to day, solar panels are most efficient when the sun is highest in the sky. The time that happens which depends on what day of the year it is.
Firstly, while most solar panels are blue, you can also find black ones. They are normally blue because the way that blue solar panels are made, compared to black ones, produces almost the same amount of energy for almost half the cost. Black panels are usually only used in extreme environments such as military applications. The popular blue panels are that colour because of the silicone they are made of turning that colour during the manufacturing process. They are also incredibly reflective, so the blue hue is intensified by reflecting blue sky into your eyes, like a mirror.
For maximum sun exposure. More info coming soon.
Solar panels are already much cheaper than they were when they were first invented. They lower in price whenever a new major breakthrough in manufacturing solar panels happens. However, due to the long life and sustainable nature of solar panels, there is almost no second hand market. So unlike cars, you are not going to see a particular model of solar panel get cheaper each year.
In fact, if there is a sudden scarcity of materials, solar panels could become more expensive, so it is a good idea to get them installed sooner rather than later.
Solar panels will definitely lower your electricity bills. Plus, with the governments new feed in tariff, you can get paid for any excess electricity you generate but do not use, if you choose. Solar panels are in investment that eventually cover the cost of installation by lowering your energy bills. How long this will take varies depending on how many panels you have, where they are located, and so on.
Yes solar panels should still work during winter days, although they produce the most electricity on long sunny days.
We only ever install top of the range solar panels that work when it is a bit cloudy. Some lower quality solar panels stop the whole array of panels producing electricity if there is shade on even one part of one panel, which is common in winter. We would never fit these kinds of cheap panels. Quality is more important to us and our customers than saving a little bit of money short term, or cutting corners. If you decide to get solar panels installed by another company, make sure you are getting the quality you expect, some companies will quote a high price for cheap panels that are ineffective in winter. Choose Direct Solar Care to get the best for less!
Yes solar panels should still work on cloudy days, although they produce the most electricity on sunny days.
We only ever install top of the range solar panels that work when it is a bit cloudy. Some lower quality solar panels stop the whole array of panels producing electricity if there is shade on even one part of one panel. We would never fit these kinds of cheap panels. Quality is more important to us and our customers than saving a little bit of money short term, or cutting corners. If you decide to get solar panels installed by another company, make sure you are getting the quality you expect, some companies will quote a high price for cheap panels. Choose Direct Solar Care to get the best for less!
In short: yes, but the panels will not produce as much electricity as if they had been installed facing between south west and south east.
The most efficient side to install solar panels in the south. But any direction will still produce electricity. We often fit panels on the East or West side of buildings and customers still get a decent return on investment.
Pigeon Proofing Solar Panels FAQ
Pigeon proofing solar panels is important because if you have pigeons under solar panels, they are a health and safety concern as well as disturbing your peace, often making noise that can be heard all night. We were the first in the UK to specialise in solar panel pigeon protection, so when you hire us for pigeon proofing solar panels, you are getting the original and best service available. Over the last 10+ years, we have developed a proven method of permanently pigeon proofing solar panels for homes and commercial properties anywhere in the UK.
We are so confident in our solar panel pigeon protection, that we offer a free 10-year warranty ensuring when we pigeon proof your solar panels, you won’t get any more pigeons under solar panels for at least 10 years. In the very rare case that something goes wrong and a pigeon nests under your solar panels within those 10 years, just give us a call and we will rush to the rescue free of charge, removing the pest and repairing any damage to the easy to install protective mesh we use to secure your panels without damaging them.
The mesh we use is perfect for the purpose, because it should hold for a lifetime, is almost invisible from the ground and doesn’t cause any overheating or waterlogging issues that some newer companies (still using solid stainless steel guards) can create. The efficiency of your solar panels is as important to us as it is to you.
Our prices vary depending on the scale of pigeon proofing solar panels project, so we can provide a fair price for all customers, currently starting at £499 as part of a limited availability offer. This is more than reasonable for the peace and quiet and peace of mind that comes from using solar panel pigeon protection, to remove the vermin infestation from your property and making it so pests cannot gain access. Call us on 0800 088 6392, email firstname.lastname@example.org, use our online contact form or read on to find out more about pigeon proofing solar panels in the United Kingdom.
The average pair of pigeons can breed at a volume of roughly 12 per year. So if you have two pigeons under your solar panels, it’s time for pigeon proofing solar panels before you are overrun.
When bird proofing solar panels we utilise the latest and best pigeon deterrents available that enable us to offer an unbeatable 10-year guarantee on our work which includes materials, labour and pest reinvasion. In almost every case we will not need to drill into your solar panels to fit the bird mesh as we use specially designed mesh clips to attach our galvanised anti-bird netting.
The only exception when bird proofing solar panels are we sometimes encounter where we do need to drill into your solar panels to attach the mesh clips is on a certain type of panel that can be easily identified by its black appearance. This is because the edging profile of this type of panel does not allow any mesh clips to be secured. The main type of bird you will find nesting under your solar panels will be pigeons as they provide a perfect home, they can lay nests, they are warm and very rarely disturbed locations.
The second most common is a Jackdaw however they are less common. You can often have squirrels nest under solar panels and these can be a nightmare as they often chew through wires. We are a qualified pest control company so regardless of the type of animal that has invaded your solar panel we can help.
This type of panel is very uncommon and you can be assured that our work will not damage or affect the operation of the panel in any way, but if you think you may have this type of installation just call us to speak to one of our engineers for advice.
Browse this website, or contact us by calling 0800 088 6392 or using the contact form at the bottom of this page.
Solar Panel Cleaning FAQ
Cleaning solar panels is not as easy as cleaning, for example, a table or even a window. Because solar panels rely on absorbing sunlight and turning it into energy, anything that blocks sunlight, including residual cleaning product, stops them working at full potential.
Therefore specialist equipment and cleaning products are used by our solar panel cleaning specialists. It is not advisable to clean your own solar panels because as well as potentially cleaning them incorrectly (or scratching/otherwise breaking them), you are at risk of falling from your roof.
When we clean solar panels, we can summarise the process into the following steps:
- We are contacted.
- We send a team.
- The team arrives and sets up the roof access equipment.
- The team gets onto the roof and inspects the severity of the mess built up on the panels.
- Any easy to remove mess, such as a fallen branch, is removed by hand, carefully taken off the roof and eventually off your property.
- The specialist uses our advanced cleaning equipment to clean each solar cell on each panel in the array.
- Each panel is checked for cleanliness and the process is repeated if needed.
- The panels are dried and polished.
- Each panel is checked for cleanliness and the process is repeated if needed.
- All equipment and mess is taken off the roof and packed into the van.
- The team leaves the property.
- Your solar panels work like new again.
The process can vary slightly based on variables that make each solar array different. For example, you may own a solar farm, which is entirely different to a home solar system because it is not located on a roof.
Yes, solar panels should be regularly cleaned by professionals like us to ensure maximum efficiency.
According to Energy Matters, the stats below show the effect not cleaning your solar panels has on the amount of energy produced:
- Year 1 Q1: 5% Energy Loss
- Year 1 Q2: 10% Energy Loss
- Year 1 Q3: 15% Energy Loss
- Year 1 Q4: 20% Energy Loss
- Year 2 Q1: 25% Energy Loss
- Year 2 Q2: 30% Energy Loss
- Year 2 Q3: 35% Energy Loss
- Year 2 Q4: 35% Energy Loss
And so on, getting worse over time. Sometimes, larger energy losses can be caused, due to sudden large build-ups of mess on the panels. This may be due to birds nesting under the panels and soiling the panels, or stuff falling on the panels. In any case, a professional solar panel clean should be done immediately, to get back to peak performance right away. Our solar panel cleaning service is the best for less, due to our focus on quality and best price promise.
We recommend once per year minimum to ensure maximum solar yield (most possible electricity from your solar panels). As seen in the answer above, the longer you go without cleaning solar panels, the less effective your panels will be.
Yes we can, use the contact form below or call us on 0800 088 63 92 and we will be happy to clean your panels for you.
You can clean solar panels with a pressure washer, but doing so will probably damage the panels and do a bad job of making them perfectly clean.
You could use Windex, but Windex and other window cleaning products are not supposed to be used on solar panels. We do not use Windex and would not advise using that or any other “home remedies”. Hire us to do it for you, it’s safer for you and your panels plus you ensure a proper clean that maximises your panels efficiency.
We strongly advise against cleaning panels yourself because it is dangerous for you and your panels. You could easily do more harm than good by trying to clean them yourself.
Rain may wash away some larger debris like branches or leaves from your solar panels, but rain is dirty and is actually one of the main things that consistently makes your panels dirtier.
We recommend once per year minimum to ensure maximum solar yield (most possible electricity from your solar panels). As seen in the answer to the question “are you supposed to clean solar panels”, the longer you go without cleaning solar panels, the less effective your panels will be.
The safest way to clean solar panels is by hiring professionals who own all the right equipment, including safety equipment for safe access to your roof. Using the right equipment and having experience in using it is important for the safety of the cleaner and the panels.
Definitely, especially if you have noticed your solar panels are not performing as well as they did before. If it has been longer than a year since they were installed or last cleaned, it is worth the low cost of cleaning to get the most out of your panels.
You should only clean solar panels with the proper equipment that our teams use daily. Avoid trying to use common household products and equipment, as this could damage the panels.
Any time of year is good, but we find most people prefer to get their panels cleaned in spring, ready for a long summer of solar harvesting.
Electric Vehicle Chargers FAQ
As our specialists are OLEV qualified it means that they know their way around the installation of Zappi electric vehicle charging units. The process to install the unit and have everything running smoothly typically takes half a day from start until finish.
You’ll be saving money like never before in a flash!
Yes, you can. One of the best features of the Zappi unit and why we personally love it is that it will automatically divert excess electricity to your electric vehicle when it is plugged in instead of feeding this electricity back into the main grid.
This could mean that you are able to travel in your vehicle without having to spend a penny!
This depends on whether the charging unit is 7 kwh or 22kwh. A plug-in hybrid car can be fully charged
No. A feature of My Energi’s Zappi is that it has built-in PEN detection system. This allows the charging unit to prevent any instances of electrification of the vehicle or surges elsewhere.
This also means that you don’t have to have additional earth rods installed with a Zappi unit making the install quicker and easier.
It’s your lucky day, Zappi units can come fitted with a Type 1 or Type 2 connector so that it is applicable to all hybrids and all-electric vehicles.