Photovoltaic Array

Atlantic Contracting North West Ltd are accredited installers under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), which is a fundamental requirement for a solar installation to qualify for a grant or for the Clean Energy Cashback initiatives. We also hold membership with REAL Assurance Scheme and so you are assured by their Code and observation that it's members (us) practice high standards when it comes to customer service.

In short this means; when we advise you about renewable ways of creating heat & electricity as well as the financial savings gained we follow a strict code of conduct. When we visit a clients property we follow special safety standards that apply to our installation and operation of Energy generators at your site. An Atlantic advisor can visit your home or business (subject to distance) and give you a free site survey and discuss your requirements without obligation. We strongly believe our complete care approach ensures that our customers needs are met in an efficient and personal way, which provides confidence in the services we offer.

Atlantic Solar Pv division is dedicated to making the complete solar experience - from booking a survey to commissioning and servicing the system - as simple and hassle free as possible. We are leading installers in the Northwest for renewable energy installations also including Air source, Groundsource and Rain/Grey water harvesting and recycling.

The solar division at Atlantic set their mission out to bring solar power (photovoltaic's) to your roof space so that we can make a difference, be it at a personal/family level, or at corporate level. We will roll out installations covering these sectors:

  • Residential developments and domestic properties
  • Commercial buildings
  • Schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, fire stations and prisons
  • Supermarkets, bookmakers, call centres, Public brewery houses

Atlantic's solar division recognizes that renewable technology has to be delivered to high standards of service, customer satisfaction and quality. To this end, we have attained high levels of training, accreditation and assessment under government and industry standards to provide all of our clients with the reassurance of a fully professional and quality approach during, whilst and after your install from our business.

For more information please call us on 01942 214 900 or complete our contact form

Photovoltaic Energy Panels (Solar PV)

Solar energy is energy from the sun. We often take the sun for granted, but the sun's energy is an abundant resource that can be harnessed for many valuable applications. The two technologies associated with solar energy are, photovoltaic's or solar electricity and Solar Thermal. Applications of Solar Thermal include air and water heating.

The sun supplies energy in the form of radiation, without which life on Earth could not exist. The energy is generated in the sun's core through the fusion of hydrogen atoms into helium. Part of the mass of the hydrogen is converted into energy. In other words, the sun is an enormous nuclear fusion reactor. Because the sun is such a long way from the Earth (150,000,000 miles), only a tiny proportion (around two-millionths) of the sun's radiation reaches the Earth's surface.

The energy sources that we primarily use in our industrial age are exhaustible. A supply shortage in easily extractable oil and natural gas reserves is anticipated in the first third of this century. Even if large new reserves were discovered, fossil fuels would still only last for a few more years.

The amount of energy in the sunlight reaching the Earth's surface is equivalent to around 10,000 times the world's energy requirements. Consequently, only 0.01 per cent of the energy in sunlight would need to be harnessed to cover mankind's total energy needs.

Here are some questions about photovoltaic arrays you may have pondered on, and answers to them

Q. Is my home suitable for PV Solar?

A. Solar panels can be installed on E/S/W facing roof and convert sunlight into electricity that can either be used in your property or sold back to the grid. The ideal roof orientation is South for the best results. Solar panels do not require direct sunlight to work. As long as you have a sufficient amount of unshaded roof space on either South, East or West orientation (South orientating produce the best results), you can generate your own electricity.

Q. Is solar electricity suitable for my home?

A. Ideally a solar PV system should face between south east and south west, and be free of shade. For best performance they should be angled at 30 to 40 degrees – although you will still catch a reasonable level of sunlight at angles of 20 – 50 degrees.

Q. What if my roof gets partly shaded in the afternoon?

A. Shade falling on the roof will reduce the performance. How much it affects it by depends on type of shading: close structures such as gable windows or chimney stacks (hard shading) can reduce output significantly as they will tend to throw shade on the panels for most of the day. Further away objects such as trees or a neighboring house (soft shading) may not block the sun during summer, but create shade when the sun is lower in winter.

Q. What size / cost for solar PV panels?

A. Most solar PV panels are around 1.6 meters high and 0.8-1m wide, each producing 175-250W of electricity (depending on the type and efficiency). Therefore to produce 1kW from solar panels you will require between 8 and 10 square meters of roof space for 4-6 panels. When estimating the size of your solar panel system we allow 10m2 per 1kW, because the installer needs to leave around 200mm of space at the side edges and below the panels and 300mm from guttering.

Q. How to calculate the size of your solar panel system from your roof area?

A. You will need to measure the size of your roof in order to calculate the available area in square meters. You can either get out the tape measure or use Google Earth to get an idea of the roof size. For example if your roof is 5 meters wide and you estimate that it is 4 meters to the ridge, then your roof will be approximately 20 square meters. Once you have calculated your approximate roof area then you need to divide this by 10, to calculate the size of your solar panel system in kW. If you have 20 square meters then you will be able to have a 2.0kW system. We can do all these calculations for you.

Q. FiT (Feed In Tariff)

A. The Fit (Feed In Tariff) exisits to customers who generate electricity from the conversion of DC (Direct Current) to AC (Alternate Current) at a rate of £0.21p/unit. The table below illustrates the Fit at current payment level.

Returns 2012 - 2013

Energy efficiency requirements (EPC rating of D or above) In the government's words: "We have decided to proceed with an energy efficiency requirement for new solar PV installations with an eligibility date on or after 1 April 2012, as a pre-requisite of eligibility for the standard solar PV tariff rates. This will mean that new FITs applications for solar PV will need to demonstrate that the building to which the solar PV installation is attached or wired to provide electricity has an Energy Performance Certificate rating of Level D or above.

A typical home uses 4500 kWh (units) of electricity annually. A 2kWp solar PV system would generate around 1700 kWh per year. Installed on an existing house the generation tariff would be £0.21 p/kWh. If you do not use all the electricity you produce you will also receive £0.03 pence for every kWh you export back to the grid (the export tariff).

A detailed working example of an investment in a solar array system is shown below:

Return Example

Panels are worth investing in, especially if you are interested in the environmental benefits. Another big plus is that the feed-in payments will rise with inflation (linked to the Retail Price Index). People who install after 1st April 2012 will have to produce an energy performance certificate to qualify for the 21p per kWh feed-in tariff rate. The certificates grade homes on energy efficiency, and you'll need to be grade C or above, which means having loft and cavity wall insulation. Homes on lower grades will only get 9p per kWh.

Q. Which solar PV panels work best?

A. All types of solar PV system are measured according to their peak power rating which is measured in kWp (Kilowatt peak). This is a guide to how much power the module produces under standard test conditions: it measures the power produced under 1kW per m2 of light. The more efficient the module, the smaller the array needed.

Crystalline silicon technology is the most commonly used in the UK and the most efficient at converting sunlight into electricity. It consists of thin slices of silicon cut from a single crystal (monocrystalline) or from a block of crystals (polycrystalline). However, it is expensive to manufacture, so it costs more.

Monocrystalline performs most efficiently with modules typically converting 15 per cent of solar radiation into electrical energy, and with the best products reaching 21.5 per cent. The higher price reflects this. Polycrystalline silicon converts between 8 and 12 per cent of solar radiation into electricity.

Q. What is a kWh?

A. A kiloWatt-hour is a specific amount of electricity. 1 KWh is identical to 1 unit of electricity that is shown on your electricity bill. An electrical item having a rating of 1kW will consume 1kWh for every hour it is on at full power.

Q. What does the inverter do?

A. The PV panels generate direct current (DC), this is not directly compatible with the 240V alternating current (AC) used in your property. The inverter converts the DC power to AC power that can be used in your property, and sold back to the grid. The inverter should have a life span of up to 10 years an extended cost which should be in mind when calculating benefits from having a system installed by Atlantic Contracting Limited.

Q. Whose panels do you use?

A. we will always use panels that are best matched for your installation. All products used are MCS approved.

Q. What guarantees will I receive?

A. Panels generally have an output guarantee of between 20 and 25 years and a manufacturer’s warranty of around 5 years depending on manufacturer. Inverters also normally carry a warranty for 5 years. All products used are MCS approved in order to meet the government requirements for incentives. Full details of the 'Microgeneration Certification Scheme', which is linked to financial incentives which include Feed in Tariffs can be seen here: Under the Real Scheme Membership we will guarantee against any faults as a result of the installation process and workmanship carried out on properties. We will guarantee output should be no less than 80% of the predicted output over a year for our solar install excluding natural environmental unpridictable events meaning; 'no fault of ours'. In the event of a system needing attention once settled we will carry out remedial repairs with no extra fee if the fault is by our company install. A copy of our member's code can be found here:

Q. How long will the installation take?

A. Installation normally takes 2-3 days. (Scaffolding 1 day before install and removed the day after the completion)

Q. How do i manage my panels after a snow fall?

A. If the panels are easily accessible then gently brush the snow off with a smooth cloth/sponge, or leave as the snow usually clears when the sun appears due to the combination of heat, pitch/angle, smooth panel surface. (do not use a firm yard brush this will lead to scratched panels/reduced performance).

Q. How well do solar panels work in cloudy conditions?

A. a cloudy day provides sufficient diffuse light by which the panel will produce electricity. Optimum electrical production occurs with bright and sunny weather conditions. Under a light overcast, the modules might produce about half as much as under full sun, ranging down to as little as five to ten percent under a dark overcast day.

If you would like to discuss any project work you may be considering or even have any questions about our Solar Array installs please use the contact us and get in touch.