Contractor Blog

CPD Training for EV Charging Revs Up

George Riley 24 Oct 2019

The electric vehicle boom is imminent. The government recently pledged £400m investment towards EV charging infrastructure as part of its commitment to net zero by 2050. Emission-free number plates are set to turn green to boost driver benefits, awareness and uptake.


Topics: EV charging, CPD training

SolarEdge vs Micro-inverters

George Riley 17 Oct 2019

In a perfect world, UK roofs would all face south, with a 35° pitch and no shading in sight. But we don’t live in a perfect world. As solar installers, we have to find clever ways to maximise the potential power from roofs of all make ups, orientations and shaded spots.

This is best achieved by using micro-inverters or power optimisers - nifty bits of kit, collectively known as Module-Level Power Electronics (MLPEs). As that name implies, these bring a degree of power optimisation at the module level (i.e. at the level of each individual solar panel). This means you can get the most from panels under different levels of sunlight (facing varying directions or affected by shading, dirt etc).

But which is the best solution? Let’s focus on our favourite brand of power optimiser, and compare SolarEdge vs micro-inverters.


Topics: Solar PV

Viridian Solar Panels and the Benefits of In Roof PV

George Riley 20 Sep 2019

While solar panels are traditionally retrofitted to an existing rooftop, it’s becoming more common (especially in newbuilds) to integrate the panels into the roof itself. With in roof PV, you end up with a sleeker, more attractive result.

One of our favourite brands of integrated solar is Viridian. Manufactured here in the UK, Viridian solar panels have a bespoke mounting system to embed them in the rooftop with a sleek, low profile.


Topics: In roof solar panels, Solar PV

PERC Solar Cells: When Are They Worth It?

George Riley 15 Aug 2019

What is a PERC cell?

PERC solar cells are a variation on the traditional cells used in solar panels that offer enhanced efficiency. The acronym PERC stands for Passivated Emitter and Rear Contact or Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell. Over the last few years they have become more and more popular, to the point where they now make up over 40% of the solar technology market and are expected to dominate by 2021, according to the ITRPV.


Topics: Solar PV

Solar Panel Orientation

David Woon 02 Aug 2019

Solar panel orientation is a key determining factor in the output of a solar PV system, as it dictates how much sunshine the panels will see over the course of the day. The more sunshine they see the higher the output. In the UK the optimum orientation for a high generation is to face the panels due south. However; what happens if the panels face off south or even directly east or west? 


Topics: Solar PV

Solar Panel Specifications: Reading a Solar Panel Datasheet

Erica Charles 25 Jul 2019

Solar panel key parameters

If you are trying to compare one PV panel to another, it is helpful to understand the key technical parameters - or solar panel specifications - that impact performance.

With this in mind, we’ve taken some extracts from the specification sheet for a standard polycrystalline solar panel (Trina Solar’s HoneyM Plus+ 265-275W range) and highlighted the key parameters.

We’ve then highlighted key differences between the Trina panel and SunPower’s Maxeon® 3 panel.


Topics: Solar PV

Bifacial Solar Panels and the Albedo Effect

Erica Charles 01 Jul 2019

One of the most notable trends in the solar PV market in the last couple of years has been the growth in bifacial solar panels.

The 2019 International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaics (ITRPV) predicts that bifacial cells will increase their share of the solar PV market from around 15% in 2019 to 60% in 2029.

So, time to sit up and take notice. What are bifacial PV modules, and why are they set to dominate the market over the next 10 years?


Topics: Solar PV

The Current State of Solar Energy: Taking Stock of the PV Market

Erica Charles 05 Jun 2019

When you work at the coal face of the solar industry (get your head 🙃 around that one), it is sometimes interesting to take a step back to see where the market has come from and where it’s headed.

We’ve spent some time taking stock of the solar PV market. Here’s a summary…


Topics: Solar PV

Best Angle for Solar Panels in the UK and Beyond?

Erica Charles 03 May 2019

The best direction for a roof with solar panels is dead south. Except if you're in the Southern Hemisphere when you want it to be facing north. Which is why solar panels are like bath water spiralling down the plug hole. 

But few people in Guildford have a roof that faces exactly south. And few people in Guinea have a roof that faces exactly north. So the key question for many of us is, "How much solar generation do I lose if my panels don’t face exactly south?" 

Which is the best angle for solar panels?

The optimum roof angle of photovoltaic panels in the UK is 35-40 degrees. The exact angle depends on the latitude, which is why the best roof angle will be different in other parts of the world.

For various reasons we have recently been looking at the performance of solar panels in Africa, Mexico and Spain.

If like me, you are curious as to the performance of solar and the best orientation for solar panels in other parts of the world, here’s what we found.



Topics: Solar PV

BIPV Facades: Improve Building ROI with Photovoltaic Curtain Walling Systems

Erica Charles 15 Feb 2019

Research indicates the market for curtain walling is growing at a healthy rate of around 6% per annum. (A curtain wall is the non-structural weather proof covering of a building, generally associated with large multi-storey buildings.) This rise is driven both by new build construction and by energy efficient refurbishments of existing buildings.

Standard curtain walling improves the thermal insulation of the building, leading to reduced HVAC costs and reduced heat loss. It also improves the aesthetic appearance of the building.

A photovoltaic curtain wall has the added benefit of generating electricity over the building’s life.

Whilst it costs a bit more than standard curtain walling, the incremental cost of a BIPV facade will typically be paid back within around five years.


Topics: BIPV, Solar PV