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Commercial solar panel installation

Considering a commercial solar installation?

Solar panels are big business and they are not just limited to the domestic market. More and more commercial organisations are also beginning to see the benefit of installing photovoltaic solar panels onto their premises. However, in order to reap the most obvious financial and environmental rewards, business owners, perhaps more than most, have to be certain the company fitting the panels is not only trustworthy and up to the job, but able also to provide a good deal. So how does one go about ensuring this and (for those who still remain sceptical of the advantages they might bring) why install solar panels at all?

Why install commercial solar panels to start with?

Solar panels are expensive and, therefore, at a time when the economy is still in recovery many companies may ask why they are needed. Quite simply, the panels have a financial benefit as they save money on standard electricity bills. Panels convert energy found in natural into electricity so, in effect, the power created is free. However, savings are modest to say the least, coming in at under £100 a year for the average system, so what really makes the difference here is the fact that commercial solar panel owners can qualify for payments under the government backed Feed In Tariff Scheme.

This scheme pays solar panel owners per unit of electricity that is created by their system. Of course, the amount made is dependent upon the size of the system but a 2kW solar panel unit will receive around £500 a year from the scheme. The current rate is set to be cut in August 2012 but systems installed before that date will remain on the current tariff for the remainder of the 25 year scheme - and better still, all tariff payments are exempt from taxation. Installing solar panels is also good for the environment, often substantially reducing a company's carbon footprint. This, in turn, improves their public image at a time when 'going green' is seen by many as the ultimate mark of respect.

How long will installation take and how much does it cost?

Again both these questions are dependent on the size of the solar panel system which is being installed but the whole process is relatively swift. Installers will usually erect scaffolding around the roof on the first day and then install the panels the next. The process is usually completed within 2 to 4 days, with normal business life barely interrupted. There are many factors which determine the cost of commercial solar panels including the make and size of the system. As a rough guide solar panel systems cost in the region of £2,000 to £3,000 per kw to install. The smallest systems are at least 2kW in size.

Which installer to use?

A quick internet search will list hundreds of companies willing to install commercial solar panels. The solar industry in the United Kingdom is booming, largely as a result of the feed-in tariff scheme. However, it is important to ensure that the installers are properly qualified. The industry standard is known as the Microgeneration certificate, commonly shortened to MCS. This credit is only given to companies who can prove that they use industry approved materials and installation techniques. It is, therefore, not advisable to use an installer who does not carry the MCS logo. Indeed, it is a requisite of the Feed in Tariff scheme that installers must be MCS accredited.

Where can I find a MCS accredited installer?

The scheme has its own website which contains a database listing registered MCS installers. Companies who have achieved the mark are invited to register their details on this national database. Potential solar panel buyers can then search for installing companies by location or name. Individual quotes will, of course, be issued on request.

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