Procuring solar panels and system

Trying to retrofit is hugely expensive and accessing the green grant feels like an impossibility.
One of the biggest things I am noticing with contractors is all the middle men who procure for you at a cost.
These thoughts are leading me towards looking at procuring panels and other necessary solar components myself.
I realize it’s going to be another learning curve, but I’m so sick of big companies monopolizing and scare mongering to make profit out of people who can’t afford it.
So I’m on a mission now to start looking at the possibilities and the chief considerations when fitting your home with solar.
I know practically nothing and I’m wondering about the following.

Integrated versus racked panels?
Which solar panel manufacturer - I have just read that LG who are apparently a market leader in solar panels are stopping production of solar this year in June 22’
Best performing panels ?
Roof considerations for fitting with a slate roof?
Fitters who are experienced and will fit what you have and not charge thousands for a few days work?
Batteries and storage?
Considerations with power supply and switch board.

Any advice would be gratefully received .

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If you are planning to go off grid, or at the least export minimal amounts then you can get any qualified electrician to wire up the system and perhaps a roofer to fit them in place. I would check on the implications for guarantees. The MCS specification is abused by many but it is there to protect you, your home and the local grid.

If you are an Octopus user then I suggest you ask Agile Phil to invite you into the forum. You could occupy yourself for months reading back posts and ask a knowledgeable and friendly bunch for advice. I do know that several people have fitted their own but mostly big systems in a rural setting.

Thanks Tim, this is great !! :smiley:
I will seek and Agile Phil and start studying :+1:t3:

I have DMed you his address

Hi Carla,
So if you are redoing your roof then get flush/intergrated ones, if not then on brackets - have done both recently and worked really well with the new roof, but on an existing (newly built garage) brackets are fine.

What I found is that having an MCS accreditied installter is a MUST! Without an MCS certificate you will struggle to get export tariff, insurance and it might make selling the property a lot more difficult / complicated (in the same way that not having planning permission for an extension would…)

Get the largest Wattage panels that you can afford, but also remember about shading (if the roof is overlooked) and if so then you need optimisers on the panels - again and MCS certified installter should be able to sort this. IMHO it doesn’t really matter which manufacture you go for, they are all rouglhy the same" - same Re inverters, I’ve had an SMA one, a Solis and a SolarEdge -all seem to work fine.

I would suggest getting solar panels first, and then using real data seeing if you need a battery or not -we have an immersion heater and 2x EVs so no need for batteries as we can consume every Watt generated!

You also need to inform your DNO (Electrical Distrbution Company) that you have solar installed - again not something I think that you can do without using an approved installer.

So in short:
Go on the MCS website: Find a Contractor - MCS
Get 3 quotes (not estimates) for the same amout of panels/Watts
See what that looks like and then you have some options?

I suspect that you will find the cost of scaffolding / labour will be more than the actual kit!

Hope that helps…

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Thankyou Edward. :+1:t3:
Just pointing me to the MCS website helped enormously
Previously each time I looked was through Google.
I ended up looking at the quote sites where I’d end up getting bombarded with emails and calls and the hard sell from middle men representatives - very off putting!!

I’m interested about your hot water system. I have wondered about ours also. Currently we have a good gas combi boiler - but we’re looking at hot water options for further down the line . So far an electric shower is an idea and someone mentioned those electric wall water heaters for pot washing and in place of a kettle.

Having your direction feels good - thankyou!!
I will set about looking at the MCS web and set about getting some quotes and info.
Hopefully, I can then share my experience for others too.

I also have integrated panels and surface mounted. I can’t compare the difference in generation using those parameters due to the age and orientation of the systems. The integrated ones were fitted in 2005 so presumably generation is tailing off as they deteriorate, although I haven’t noticed it yet.

When I wrote this I should have added “and not get paid for it”. @epickering is correct that MCS is required to register the system and get paid.

If the total export capacity (including simultaneous discharge of any battery) is less than 3.68kW you can inform after the event but if you have more, then permission is needed in advance and that will require MCS. There are three domestic categories depending on output and/or limitation there of. I believe the application has to be submitted by an MCS accredited electrician.

When it comes to inverters most companies have their favourites and as @epickering says they all work the same. However some generate data that could be used by a HEMS or to identify a failing/shaded panel. My own inverters have no data output so I only have the gross figures from my battery management system.
Get a slightly undersized inverter for the potential generating capacity of your panels unless you live somewhere that the sun is always at the optimum generating angle, as you will never reach the advertised kWp.