Solar PV

Photovoltaic (PV) panels are one of the best ways of generating ‘localised’ electricity for use in domestic homes and commercial premises.

PV panels are robust and designed for a life of at least 25 years and can be fitted to almost any roof or they can be ground mounted, a south facing aspect of 30 degrees being the best for electricity generation, however, they do work facing any direction and at any angle (see table below).

When the Solar PV panels are producing power the energy generated will feed into your home and the appliances that you are using will automatically be fed by this free electricity.

If the solar PV panels are producing more electricity than you are using, the surplus is exported automatically to the National Grid through your normal electricity supply for others to use.

If you need more electricity than the solar PV panels are producing, your home will take the extra that it needs from the National Grid as normal. You will not notice a change in the way that your house is supplied.

To get the most out of what your solar PV system produces, it’s best to use (if possible) appliances / electricity during day light hours to maximise your savings on your electricity bills.

How it all works

The solar PV panels collect the electricity during daylight; the electricity in the form of Direct Current (DC) then travels to the inverter (generally located in the loft space) which transfers the DC into Alternating Current (AC). The AC supply then feeds into the newly installed generation meter. This is your feed-in meter and it records the amount of energy produced by the solar PV system. The AC supply then feeds into your existing consumer unit and the electricity is then feed into your home or back into the national grid if there is excess.

You now have two electricity meters. The generation meter measures the solar energy coming into the house, and is used to calculate your income from the Feed in Tariff (FITs) and export payments. The supply meter works in the usual way and measures everything which is supplied to you by the National Grid.

Feed in Tariffs (FiTs) explained

How to access the Feed in Tariff

Your solar PV system must be designed, installed and commissioned by an MSC approved installer to be able to claim the FiTs (Wales and West Solar are). After the system is installed, commissioned and paid for you will be given an MCS installation certificate with a unique number. This number is then given to your electricity provider to register for the Feed in Tariff (FiT).

The FiTs Scheme guarantees the owner of a solar PV system a fixed price for the total amount of electricity generated from your solar PV system. The rate set for solar PV systems less than 4KWp is 15.44p per unit for every unit generated; this rate is guaranteed by law to be paid by all electricity providers for the next 25 years. Plus you generate a further 4.5P per unit from the export tariff. The FIT and Export Tariff is index linked to inflation and is tax free. Off-setting mains electricity charges that would otherwise be incurred also provides you with additional savings on your electricity bills.

*unless an export meter is fitter, the electricity providers assume you export 50%

Current FiT rates

Current FiT rates - Click here to find out more information

  • New-build” means where installed on a new building before first occupation
  • “Retrofit” means installed on a building which is already occupied
  • “Stand-alone” means not connected to the National grid

Estimated annual return and saving for a 4KWp system installed on a South facing roof

Estimated installation cost


PV annual generation

3433 KWh

PV Annual FITS earning @ 15.44p per unit


Electricity savings ( average of 50% @14.4p/unit)


Export (50% of total production @ 4.5p/unit)


Total annual production & Saving


Approx Payback period

7/8 Years

Solar PV area


What are the Economic benefits of PV and the Feed in Tariff?

  1. Electricity prices are going to keep rising and have increased at approx 10% every year for the last decade
  2. A solar PV system will reduce your electricity bills by up to 50% or even higher in some cases
  3. Better return on your investment than any savings account, ISA or pension
  4. All green electricity generated is tax free
  5. PV payback of approx 8 years
  6. Added value to property
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