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Solar

Even though every home is a little bit different, most homes in the UK are suitable to install and benefit from solar. It’s the perfect choice if you're looking to reduce your energy bills and do your bit for the environment. The main things to watch out for are obstacles (skylights or dormer windows), too much shading, not enough roof space and poor roof condition. Our team of experts is on hand to use satellite images to talk these things through with you as part of the process here at Egg.

Most studies have shown that powering your home with solar could cut your energy bills by as much as 90%. 90% savings over the duration of your 25-year performance warranty, is a lot of potential savings, so we think it's a no-brainer! There is also increasing evidence that solar panels can increase the value of your home, as more and more prospective buyers are looking for homes with renewable technologies already installed.

Solar panels are most efficient when they receive direct sunlight. However, they can still produce electricity on cloudy or overcast days and even in indirect or diffuse sunlight (luckily for us in the UK).

In short, Yes! Solar panel systems continue to generate electricity during the winter months, although their efficiency may be reduced compared to the rest of the year due a few factors, mainly the reduced number of daylight hours and a change in the angle of the sun.

Solar panels are built to endure and are designed for a long and productive life. On average, you can expect your solar panels to keep producing clean, green energy for an impressive 25 to 30 years. Some may even continue working effectively for 40 years or more! So, if you're pondering the benefits of solar energy, rest assured that your investment will continue to shine for many years to come.

In the UK, the best direction for solar panels is south-facing. Solar panels installed on a south-facing roof will receive the most sunlight throughout the day, maximising energy production. If you don't have a south-facing roof though, all is not lost, solar panels are still effective even if they don't face south. Our team of experts can help you understand how much you could generate if you have an East, West or North facing roof - you might be surprised!!

Most installations of solar panels are considered to be a 'Permitted Development' and therefore don't require planning permission. However, you should check with your local planning authority if you live in a:

• conservation area

• area of outstanding natural beauty

• national park

• listed building

Solar installation

All our numbers come from modelling using standard guidance and calculations from MCS embedded into our design software, OpenSolar.

Design Assumptions:

1) You have a south-facing home that is not shaded and is sloped at 40 degrees.

2) You have a standard roof type with 2 storeys

3) You're home all day with an annual electricity consumption of 4,000 kWh

4) Energy calculation assumptions: Our calculations are based on a customer switching from the average UK energy price cap unit rates to the combination of Octopus Go + Outgoing Lite available in March 2024: 49p/day standing charge, 30p/kWh peak time import (4am - midnight), 9p/kWh off-peak rate (midnight - 4am), 8p/kWh export tariff. We've called this tariff the egg tariff for the purpose of using this OpenSolar software. We assume an annual energy inflation of 7%.

5) Our battery charging pattern has been set up to maximise savings: this means charging during off peak cheaper times, and when your system is generating.

6) System performance assumptions: System Total losses: 0%, Inverter losses: 0%, Optimizer losses: 0%, Shading losses: 0%, Performance Adjustment: 0%, Output Calculator: MCS. Panel Orientations: 16 panels with Azimuth 180 and Slope 40.

After you've accepted your proposal, we apply for permission from your District Network Operator (DNO), we need this before we can start planning your installation. It could take a few days to come back but for some larger systems, it can take a little longer. There's nothing for you to worry about though, as we handle all of this and keep you updated throughout. Once we have everything back from your network operator, we can get you booked in for your installation. One of the team will be in touch to arrange a time and date to suit you!

Scaffolding will go up a few days before your solar installation. The solar panels and battery installation is super quick and normally just takes one day. From then, you'll be up and running on sunshine!

This depends on the access to where we need to put up the scaffolding. You don’t need to be at home providing there's sufficient access for them. For example, if your scaffolding is being installed at the back of the house, we would need to ensure the scaffolding team can access the back of your property safely. If there are any locked gates, these would need to be opened.

Your scaffolding goes up a few days before your installation. After your installation, it's important that we monitor your system to ensure it's all working as expected before we take the scaffolding down and this could take a few days. Once we are happy with how everything is performing, one of the team will be in touch to arrange a date to remove the scaffolding.

The installation team will aim to be on site as early as possible to get started on install day. We normally expect them to arrive between 8am and 10am. Your project coordinator will give you more specific details, if there are any, before the day.

Yes, we do need an adult on-site for all solar and battery installations. This is because we need access to your home, including all your electricity equipment.

Solar pre-installation

That's easy, simply answer a few questions about your home to get your instant, fixed-price quote on our website. It only takes 2 minutes...head to the shop to start your journey today.

After you get an initial solar panel recommendation and quote online, it's over to us. We'll arrange a call to walk through some options for the number of solar panels, exactly where they can be located on your roof, and an optional upgrade to add a battery to store up any excess solar you generate. Then it’s up to you to decide just how green you want to go!

Once you're happy with the design for your home and sign your contract, it could be as little as 2 weeks until installation date! This does depend on the paperwork we need to submit to your local network provider though. Larger systems could take the network up to 60 days to process our application and paperwork.

For you... absolutely not! We handle it all. We will need a few pictures and information about your home in order for us to get started, but once you've sent that across, we take care of the rest.

We offer two solar packages, these are our 'Super Sunny' and 'Shade Optimised" packages.

Our Super Sunny package is comparable with most on the market and is ideal for roofs where there is no permanent shading. Think of trees, nearby buildings and even chimney stacks as shading. Depending on the proposed location of the solar array, the location of the shading may or may not impact the production.

If you do have shading on your roof, we would recommend our Shade Optimised package, which means you can make the most of the available suns power, even if there is permanent or temporary shading on your roof throughout the day.

If you don't have any shading but are wanting to maximise the amount of solar energy production and want to have the best kit on the market, our Shade Optimised package is for you. This package not only gives you peace of mind that the effects of shading will be minimal, but also gives you the most visibility, tracking and reporting of exactly what is happening up on your roof, in real-time!

Our Shade Optimised package is a Solax Hybrid Inverter with a Tigo optimiser system.

Tigo, founded in 2007 in Silicon Valley are the global leader in rapid shutdown equipment. They are the most flexible optimisation system in the market and we chose them because they are compatible with all of our kit.

Each panel on your roof would be fitted with an optimiser, which not only turns it into a smart panel, allowing you to view specific panel-level production and status at any given time, but also limits the impacting shade can have on the overall array.

Need storage? Add our modular home battery in sizes from 3-12kWh. If you need even more storage, or off-grid backup, the Tesla Powerwall is our go-to battery at 13.5kWh of energy storage.

Although these systems are typically more expensive than the basic systems available on the market, there are a number of distinct advantages and use-cases for such a system. Typically backed up with market-leading manufacturer warranties, your investment is protected for many years to come!

Our Super Sunny packages are ideal for roofs without shading. For Super Sunny homes, we use Solax inverters and batteries. Solax have been in the industry since 2012 and bring great products to the market at affordable prices, backed with brilliant warranties for complete peace of mind. For a solar system that just works, for minimal cost and fuss, we think this is the way to go.

Need battery storage? Solax's modular battery storage, starting at 5.8kWh, provides you with a great amount of storage and flexibility for the cost.

Choosing solar panels can be complicated, with all of the different specifications and aesthetics. That's why we've chosen two brilliant options that work with any of our solar solutions.

• As standard, our systems come with Longi all black 435 Watt panels.

This option is a real winner and combines both power and all-black aesthetics. Gone are the days of those ugly-looking solar panels; we believe our panels are the best looking on the market and can blend in with your existing roof in some cases.

If you live in a conservation area or area of natural beauty you may need planning permission to get solar panels installed on your home. We won't be able to install in your home if you have asbestos.

Making the most of your solar & storage system

There are a few mechanisms to get paid for your solar export, the FiT (feed-in tariff) scheme, the SEG (Smart Export Guarantee), and other export tariffs that your energy supplier may have. Octopus for example has one called Octopus Outgoing. There are more details about these in the next few FAQs.

Unfortunately, the FiT government scheme closed to new applications in March 2019 so the boat has now sailed if you haven’t already signed up to this. If you are on the FiT scheme, lucky you! When you signed up, you'll have registered for either 20 or 25 years of solar export payments, and the rates are normally considerably more than export tariffs available today. You can't do both FiT and another export tariff so before you decide if you switch to SEG or another export you will need to do some maths to figure out what's better for you.

The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) is an obligation set by the government for licensed electricity suppliers to offer a tariff and make payment to small-scale low-carbon generators for electricity exported to the National Grid, providing certain criteria are met. SEG was opened in January 2020 and replaced the FiT scheme. If your energy supplier is large enough, they will have a SEG tariff that you could get. It's worth shopping around though as you may well receive more on another of their export tariffs. Octopus, for example has a 4.p/kWh SEG tariff but Octopus Outgoing is 15p/kWh (Dec '23).

There are many different export tariffs and new ones are coming out regularly due to the rate of change in the energy market, so it's a good idea to shop around to get the best tariff for you.

• If you have an EV or a battery and solar, you likely want a tariff that has an off-peak rate for your charging and to fill your battery up, but also pays you to export any excess solar if you have it.

• If you just have solar, you'll be looking for the best export rate.

After your installation, we send you a handover pack with all the information you need about your solar setup. You'll need to send the following documents over to your energy supplier so they can get your export MPAN set up:

• MCS certificate

• DNO letter

Once the export MPAN is setup and you're on an export tariff, they can start pulling your export consumption. Then you just sit back, relax, and start watching your solar earnings roll in!

Both are great but if you have the choice, and can use your solar energy, it's normally better for your wallet to do so. This is why it's a great idea to get a battery and make sure you can store anything you generate. Here's an example of how it all works:

• If your electricity unit rate is 40p/kWh, by using 1 kWh of solar, you save yourself 40p

• If you export tariff is 15p/kWh, if you sold that same kWh of solar, you earn 15p

You're better off by 25p if you use it instead of selling it.

We're quite lucky in the UK with the amount of rain that we have as rainfall will help to clean your panels. If you want your panels to run as efficiently as possible though, we'd recommend you get them cleaned once a year. We're going to be launching a care package soon where a clean will be included... watch this space!

To ensure your solar panels and other equipment is working efficiently, we recommend an annual service. This is a check to make sure everything is working as it should be, and any fault or drop in generation can be identified and resolved. We're launching a care plan soon which will have this included.

A monitoring platform comes with every solar and storage system we sell. This is either a mobile or desktop app where you can view your system status, production and reporting.

We're in the process of enhancing our referral program to provide incentives for both you and your friend. Although we're still finalising the details, if you have someone in mind to refer, simply advise them to mention it to our team when discussing their quote, and we'll handle the rest.