Photovoltaic (PV) panels represent a cornerstone of sustainable living in new build homes, offering an eco-friendly solution for electricity generation. In this age of heightened environmental awareness and energy efficiency, incorporating PV panels into home design is not just a trend but a responsible choice.
This page provides homeowners with a comprehensive guide on the optimal installation and utilisation of photovoltaic panels. From understanding the importance of limiting over-shading to matching panel performance with specifications, and from optimising inverters to making informed decisions on panel quantities, this guide covers all you need to know to make the most of solar energy in your new home.
PV panels should be designed and installed to minimise over-shading. This is particularly important on flat roofs, where a 30-degree tilt is generally most efficient. However, a 15-degree angle can reduce overshadowing and allow for more panels, balancing efficiency with space utilisation.
Matching Panel Performance with Specifications
Ensure that the PV panels installed match the performance outlined in the specification and the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP). Avoid substituting for lower-performing panels, as this can significantly reduce the overall efficiency of your solar energy system.
Optimising PV Inverter
The PV inverter should be specified and optimised for the array. An inverter that matches the array’s size and characteristics ensures that the electricity generated by the panels is efficiently converted for use or storage.
Energy Feedback Displays
Install energy feedback displays to enable occupants to optimise the use of renewable energy. These displays can help homeowners understand their energy generation and consumption patterns, encouraging more efficient energy use.
Avoiding Insufficient PV Panel Quantities
Specifying too few panels just to pass SAP assessments can be counterproductive. One or two panels often do not produce significant energy and are too small for a standard inverter. Specify at least 2 kWp (around 8 panels) to make a meaningful renewable energy contribution.
Revisiting SAP for Better Fabric Performance
Instead of opting for a minimal number of panels, consider revisiting the SAP to improve the building’s fabric performance. This can often be a more effective way to enhance the home’s overall energy efficiency.
Rule of Thumb for Minimum Panels
A general guideline is to have 4-6 panels for a 1-bedroom home. This ensures a significant contribution to the home’s energy needs while optimising the use of available roof space.
By following these guidelines, homeowners can maximise the benefits of photovoltaic panels, contributing to a more sustainable and energy-efficient home.