The Solar PV Industry has matured rapidly over the past decade or so. In 2009 it was relatively rare to see solar PV panels adorning domestic or commercial roofs, and a mere 12 years later they seem to be everywhere. Initial subsidies, based on a feed-in-tariff payable to system owners, have been phased out as material and labour costs plummeted. Super-profits from solar systems are a thing of the past, but there remains a very good balance of cost vs return-on-investment. In fact, very few financial instruments offer returns that are as safe and predictable as an investment in solar energy.
Of course, long-life active physical assets require care not just during the initial design and installation phases but also through their productive lifetime. That's why we've progressively expanded our services to cover the whole-life of these investments.
There are many types of solar system available, and we can supply any and all of them. We've made reference lower down this page to just a few examples of specific systems, because they illustrate a few characteristics that you may have hear about discussed more generally.
Design, Specification and Construction
We support a variety of construction partners to achieve the SAP goals for projects across South Wales and are currently working on conversions of office spaces to blocks of flats and zero-carbon new-build homes. We make extensive use of the market-leading design software PV*Sol from Valentine.
Typically, we will be involved in each stage of the design, specification and delivery of Solar PV Arrays to ensure that the requirements of the project plans are fully realised.
We are seeing ever-growing numbers of calls to our offices from business-owners, insurance brokers and homeowners who are frustrated with the degraded performance of their 'panels'
For many clients, we have removed, repaired and generally maintained solar installations of various sizes in order to improve the return on investment. A recent example is the repair and reinstatement of the solar array on the Magor Services adjacent to the M4 motorway (right).
Non-Penetrating systems are required on new and exsiting membrane roofs. There are a number of options out there from manufacturers like K2 S-Dome, Renusol. The example to the left is from Solion.
These free-standing systems require especially careful design because of the weight of the ballast, so it's essential that structural engineers are chosen with care. We believe we have access to some of the best in the country.
Optimised Solar PV Systems
Roofs are often crowded with protrusions like air conditioning units that break their clean lines and create shadows over solar panels. These shadows used to cause significant reductions in energy generation because output would be governed by the worst-performing panel in the string.
The solution was to optimise production from each panel individually, and SolarEdge was among the first companies to do this effectively. We've worked with them for many years now, and highly recommend their DC Optmised inverters. I have them on my own house.
Within our team, we have "Advanced Installer Trained" designers who are more than familiar with these innovative systems.
Export Control Systems
We're finding that more and more systems require export limitation controls. This is because of limited capacity within the national infrastructure, ultimately the responsibility of the National Grid.
We are already working with a number of manufacturers that can build bespoke panels to overcome constraints imposed by the District Network Operators, with whom we have excellent working relationships.
Interestingly, some of the most innovative inverter manufacturers, including SolarEdge and SMA, can provide integrated control systems.