The Importance of Solar Panel Maintenance

solar panel maintenance
Solar Panels
Well maintained solar panels.

Solar panels have fast become one of the most desirable pieces of technology to add to your home; as a result, regular solar panel maintenance is essential. Over 840,000 households in the UK are now using them. They are a clean and reliable source of sustainable energy, that will reduce your carbon footprint whilst saving you money. One of the most appealing factors of Solar Panels is that they require very little maintenance.  They typically have a lasting time of up to 25 years, so they are built to last!
This doesn’t mean that your solar panels don’t need any maintenance. It has been proven that your solar panels can have a reduced efficiency of up to 30%.  There are various factors, that can occur on both residential and commercial properties. These can significantly affect the efficiency of solar panels.

What can affect my Solar Panels?

Generally you will find that your solar panels will require very little maintenance and attention. However there are some factors which can affect the amount of energy your panels produce. 

Dirt & Grime

Whilst the high amount of rainfall we have in the UK does keep your panels clean to an extent, dirt and grime can still build up. High levels of dirt and grime will stop your solar panels being able to absorb sunlight efficiently.  Over time this will significantly reduce the amount of energy your solar panels generate.

Wildlife

Animals such as pigeons are very prone to nesting underneath solar panels. The angle that the panels are placed provides a sheltered and dry space, perfect for laying eggs. Whilst we’d love to provide all animals with a safe space, nesting birds are one of the biggest reasons residential and commercial buildings can have higher than expected seasonal solar panel maintenance costs.

Weather

We are lucky in Britain with our climate, we aren’t often subjected to severe weather, such as hailstorms and hurricanes. This doesn’t mean we don’t get our fair share of strong winds and heavy snow. Weather like this can cause damage to your panels.

Trees

The trees in your area can massively affect the efficiency of your solar panels, from leaves blowing onto your roof, to overgrown trees casting shadows on your roof. Shadows on your solar panels are one of the biggest performance inhibitors to efficiency, if 30% of the cells in your panel are covered by heavy shade then 30% less energy will be produced.

If any of your Solar Panels are affected by these issues, the amount of energy they generate could be compromised. The longer they remain unmaintained the less efficient they will be.

Should I Carry Out the Solar Panel Maintenance Myself?

Whilst you might be tempted to carry out maintenance yourself, it is recommended that any work carried out on your Solar Panels is undertaken by a professional.

Expert cleaning

Certain chemicals and cleaning equipment can damage your solar panels. Anything rough or abrasive could result your panels to be repaired or replaced which will be very costly to you. A professional will know which products are best used for your Solar Panels and will also be able to efficiently clean each panel ensuring you get the maximum output!

Identify Potential Issues

A professional will also be able to identify any potential problems before they become a major issue. Such as shadows from satellites or trees, any loose cables, build up or damage from debris and any wildlife problems.

Performance Test

Whilst cleaning and checking your panels, a professional will also be able to undertake a performance test. They will be able to do an in-depth analysis to judge the efficiency of each panel. This will give you a full report on how well your panels are doing and give you peace of mind that your solar panels are producing the highest amount of energy possible.

Check Components

In every maintenance check, a solar panel professional will be able to check each component of your panels to ensure that they are all working efficiently. While it is rare that solar panels will have faulty components, it is always important to check, otherwise you could be losing out on the maximum amount of energy your solar panels produce.

Humane Wildlife Removal

Wildlife, such as birds, tend to have a habit of taking shelter under solar panels, which can unfortunately wreak havoc on the amount of energy your panels produce. Trying to remove the wildlife can result in injury to you, injury to the animal and damage to your solar panels. A professional will be able to remove the wildlife humanely and safely without damaging any parts of the solar panels.

Roof Work is Dangerous

Finally, and most importantly, roof work can be extremely dangerous. Without the proper equipment and specialist training, attempting to under take work on a roof can be fatal. It is always best to leave any work your solar panels need to professionals, they are highly skilled in Solar panel maintenance and safe roof work procedures.

What Can I Do?

While it is important to leave the maintenance of your solar panels to professionals, there are still things you can do from your home to check that your solar panels are working efficiently.
You can;

Monitor Tree growth and New Builds

Keeping a close eye on the growth of trees and any new buildings in the vicinity of your property can be extremely beneficial to the maintenance of your solar panels. You will be able to see if any shadows are falling on your roof and be able to call in someone before you lose a large amount of energy output.

Monitor Performance

Document the amount of energy your solar panels produce on a day to day basis. If your solar panels are working efficiently you should be able to see a consistent pattern of output. Make a note of any cloudy days to account for anomalies within the data. If the pattern shows that the level of output is declining, it would be beneficial to call in a maintenance team.

Watch Out for Wildlife

From the ground you should be able to see if there is any wildlife inhabiting your Solar Panels. If you can see any feathers, bird droppings or an increased amount of activity from birds around your roof, it may be the time to call in a maintenance team to humanly relocate the wildlife. The maintenance team may also be able to install some anti-wildlife equipment such as a solar panel mesh which provides protection from every type of bird by blocking their access to underneath the solar panels.

When your Solar Panels are working to their full capacity, the amount of money you can save is huge, however if unmaintained you could potentially lose out on a vast amount of energy production and thereby losing out on any money you could save. Keep a close eye on your daily energy production and if you’re in doubt it’s always worth calling in professionals to take a look.  

If you want to find out more , check out the Maintenance and Operations page.

The Benefits of Installing an EV Charger

Benefits of EV Charger

The ownership of electric vehicles is on the rise. The UK has the 4th highest number of electric cars in Europe with over 195,000 electric cars and 8,500 electric vans on the road this year. By 2020 it has been predicted that over one million electric vehicles will be on the road in the UK. However, this means the number of electric vehicle chargers available to use on the roads will have to increase six-fold. Currently there are 19,804 connectors available to use in the UK at destinations such as service stations and supermarkets. The highest number of chargers are located in Greater London.

By 2020 there will need to be over 100,000 EV chargers on the roads available for public use, in order to meet the demands of the number of electric vehicles on the road.  The government has launched several schemes for residential and commercial properties to try and make the demand for EV chargers more affordable.

By owning an electric vehicle, you will be reducing the amount of air pollution you produce, which is great for the planet and great for the air of Great Britain.  However, “Range Anxiety” is still an issue for many EV owners. The fear of setting out on a journey but running out of charge, or not being able to find a charger before reaching their final destination, is something that puts off many drivers from owning an electric car. Luckily, with sites like Zap Map, EV owners can find the nearest EV chargers to them and plan their journeys accordingly. “Range Anxiety” can also be curbed by installing a home charger.

Home

There are many benefits that come with having an EV charger installed at your home. They are far more convenient to use in comparison to public use chargers and are also very cost effective. Some Electric Car owners say they are put off having an EV charger installed at home due to the price. However, the government have a grant for home owners that will cover the cost of 75% of the installation costs, so long as the charger is selected from the pre-approved list. This could save you hundreds of pounds.

Other benefits include;

Cost Effective – Charging your Electric car from home is generally far cheaper than charging your car at Rapid Charge points at the service station. The average cost to fully charge your car is just over £3. For example, to fully charge a 30kWh Nissan LEAF overnight will cost about £3.96. Whereas, if you were to use a rapid charging point, typically found at service stations, it generally costs about £6.50 for a 30-minute charge.

Convenient – Having an EV charger installed at home is far more convenient and time effective than relying on public use chargers.  Depending on where you are in the country, coming across a public charging point can be rare. Charging points have not yet been installed in every service station and supermarket, in fact currently only 3% of Supermarkets have chargers, this means you can spend a large amount of time driving around to find a charger. If their charger is out of order, you’re not first in line for the charger or it’s not a rapid charging station, you could find yourself waiting around for hours until your car is charged. Being able to charge your car from home means you would be able to save yourself time and money.

Faster – Home chargers are generally much faster than regular public EV chargers. Depending on the size of the EV charger, your car can be fully charged in as little as one hour. This means you could be on the road with a fully charged battery much quicker than if you were to use a public charger, unless you were to use a rapid charger which are not cheap to use!

Customisable – Depending on which brand of EV charger you opt for, you can choose the colour of your EV charger. For example, the Rolec Wallpod: EV comes in a variety of colours, so you can choose a charging point to match the colour of your car, door, house or just choose your favourite colour. Prices for the Rolec Wallpod: EV start from just £129, they are also approved for the OLEV government grant, making it significantly more affordable.

Rolec Wall Charger

Property Value – Every year more people have chosen to swap their petrol or diesel vehicle for an electric or hybrid vehicle, which means the demand for charging points becomes higher. Having an electric vehicle charging point installed at your home could add value to your property, thereby making your property more attractive to potential buyers if you choose to sell. If you decide to move, most chargers are easy to relocate.

Business

The benefits of having an EV charger installed don’t just extend to home owners. There are many benefits to having an EV charger installed for business owners. If your business can provide charging points for the public to use it will put your company on the map. There are a number of government schemes that can help your business afford to have EV chargers installed at your establishment.

New Revenue – Having EV charging points can bring in an additional stream of revenue for your business. Many EV charger providers have chargers specifically designed for commercial properties, thus having the option to have a ‘Pay as You Go’ feature installed. The more electric vehicles there are on the road means the need for public charging points gets higher. Having an EV charger for public use installed at your business premises could be a very lucrative investment.

More Customers – Having a public EV charger can gain your business more foot fall.  Electric Vehicle owners use apps such as Zap Map to plan their journeys around where public use EV chargers are. This means your establishment could be a potential stop for EV owners to charge their vehicles. Whilst waiting for their vehicles to charge there is a high chance you could gain a new customer, as they will be tempted to browse/use the facilities that your establishment offers. This will give your business a chance to make an impression and gain a new client base.

Improves Business Image – Your business image could be vastly improved by having public use EV chargers installed. You would be seen as encouraging the use of electric vehicles, thus making your business known as being environmentally aware. This will attract environmentally conscious clientele to your establishment.

Employee and Visitor Satisfaction – If staff and visitors have the option of being able to charge their vehicles whilst inside your establishment you could see a boost in both employee and visitor satisfaction. Currently, many EV owners have to plan their journeys around Zap Map destinations to ensure they don’t run out of charge, if they can charge their vehicles at your establishment it could save them time. Thus, you will have a higher retention rate of both staff and customers.

EV chargers provide benefits for both home owners and business owners. They will not only save money, but they can add value to a home and add a new stream of revenue to a business. With all the benefits they provide, we believe that the installation of an EV charger should be considered as an investment rather than a cost.

Feed it Green Working With Southport NHS

Overhead of Feed it green

Feed it Green are excited to have helped Southport NHS with proposals for a new mental health hospital. Take a look at the full article via the link below:

This is what Southport’s brand new mental health hospital will look like

These pictures show how Southport’s brand new NHS mental health hospital will look.

The new facility could be built on the site of the former Christiana Hartley hospital, on the corner of Scarisbrick New Road and Curzon Road, after plans were submitted to Sefton Council following a successful public consultation.

It will house 44 patients in en-suite beds and feature visiting spaces, consulting and treatment rooms, and a outdoor garden.

Read the full article

Check out our About page for more information on the work Feed it Green does!

ChargePoint EV Chargers Receive Significant Software Update

EV Charging Hardware

We found this interesting article on the development of EV chargers. ChargePoint EV have added some interesting software upgrades to their systems for home users. They can now control their chargers via an Amazon Alexa assistant.

Take a look at the below and follow the link for the full article:

ChargePoint, the world’s leading electric vehicle (EV) charging network, today announced that ChargePoint Home now offers integration with Amazon Alexa enabling EV drivers to manage home charging using only their voice. To further simplify ownership for EV drivers, new ChargePoint mobile app features help drivers to find charging spots using station photos and get notified when a charging spot opens up.

Offering unmatched smart home integration, ChargePoint Home now empowers drivers to ask Alexa to start and stop charging, find out whether their vehicle is plugged in and see how many miles have been added. Any ChargePoint driver can ask Alexa about their account balance or how much they spent on charging. As ChargePoint Home also works with Nest to report on energy use, EV drivers can now connect charging to multiple parts of the smart home for an even simpler charging experience.

Here’s the full article.

Check out our page on EV Charging for more information!

Solar PV System for Major Lime Street Development

Lime Street

Feed it Green are at it again, this time in Lime Street! We are proud to be working on one of the most exciting development projects in our hometown. We’ll update you all with details of the solar PV system we’re installing once the project is complete.

These images show the dramatic new look planned for Lime Street as part of a £35m regeneration of one of Liverpool city centre’s major roads.

Regeneration Liverpool, with developers Neptune, are proposing to create a new hotel, retail and student accommodation complex stretching between – and behind – The Vines and The Crown.

The refurbishment of the busy street will see the loss of the Futurist building, but officials behind the project plan to use part of its facade within the development.

Here’s the full article.

For more information on Solar PV, check out the page on our page on the installation process!

Feed it Green to Install Solar System For New Merseyside Police HQ

Police HQ

Feed it Green are delighted to be supplying a solar PV system. This time for the new command centre for Merseyside Police!

We’ll upload a full case study to this website once the work is complete.

Morgan Sindall is tipped to take the contract to build a £44m operational command centre for Merseyside Police in Speke.

The firm is said to have beaten rivals Laing O’Rourke and Wates for the job, according to sources close to the project. This could be the first of a bigger pipeline of work for the force.

The planned three-storey building will include changing accommodation, a gym, an armoury and equipment stores on the ground floor, with office accommodation for specialist units on the top two floors.

It forms part of a 10-year programme worth £130m to update and improve the force’s buildings, while saving running costs on the estate.

View the full article here.

For more information on Solar PV, check out the page on our page on the installation process!

Home Battery Storage Units Have Arrived

The Sonnenbatterie  just one of the new efficient home battery storage units now available!

home battery

You can now reduce your electricity cost even further with a Home Battery storage solution from Feed it Green. The electricity that your solar panels generate but is not used can now be stored so that when you arrive home in the evening all of your electricity  is already safely gathered and stored.

This means that you draw very little if any power from the grid and that your solar panel system can now meet your energy consumption demands, even when its dark outside.

How battery storage works:

Active Energy Manager

The smart meters of the Sonnenbatterie system detect when more solar power is available than is needed directly for self-consumption or charging the battery. To optimize self-consumption of the power from your solar power system, the Sonnenbatterie automatically switches on appliances through smart plugs. This allows high-power loads such as washing machines, dishwashers and electrical heaters to operate with surplus solar power during the day, with no need for you to be at home or look after this yourself. This also reduces your usage of costly grid power. The smart plugs can also be switched on manually at the appliance location or with the Sonnenbatterie mobile app, anytime and anywhere.

 

Battery Storage is Coming!

Battery Storage, the next phase of the solar revolution is coming!

Battery Storage

Tesla have perfected their “Power wall” storage battery, which can store up to 10 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity. This is around an average family’s daily use!  The utility-scale battery consists of 100kWh blocks and these can be grouped in packs to more than 10MW/h.

Prof Phil Taylor, director of Newcastle University’s Institute for Sustainability, believes the Power wall can be ‘transformative’.

He says that: “Energy storage with solar panels and home balancing, along with smart meters and flexible time of use tariffs empowers people to take an active role in managing their energy use.”

The Power wall system comes with a 10 year guarantee. You also get it at a cost of around £2300. Thus means that your annual feed in tariff payments will easily cover the purchase price.

Contact us now to ensure your Power wall for 2016!

 

Beat the Feed in Tariff Cuts; Set Solar Installed Before 31st December 2015

Tariff Cuts – “HOUSEHOLD returns from solar panels are set to be slashed by almost 90 per cent in January and abolished by 2019 as part of new Government proposals.” (Daily Express 2015).

Tariff Cuts

Cuts to the feed-in tariff could slash payments for energy-generating homes. Payments could  go down from as much as £495 a year, to £64 a year from 2016. Existing installations and installations completed by the deadline 31st December this year, will not be affected by the change. However, future investment in solar panels is expected to rapidly decrease under the plans (DECC). Contact ‘Feed it Green’ today to guarantee your installation before the deadline.

Currently the feed in tariff scheme  pays up to 12.9p per kWh of solar energy is generated and used. This is due to drop by up to 87% after the deadline. The suggested tariff cuts would see tariff rates for domestic schemes drop to 1.63p/kWh.

Don’t lose out get in touch now! Guarantee your government backed payments for the next 20 years.

4kW systems now available fully installed from just £4999.00

Check this page for more information on Solar PV and have your panels installed today!

The Day Feed it Green met the Prime Minister

Prime Minister

The Prime Minister David Cameron, has commended us on our contribution to renewable energy sources.

Feed It Green Ltd, in many ways, are unique. Especially in that our management have direct “hands-on” personal experience in Surveying, Estimating & Installing domestic Solar Panels systems in the UK.

We are also unique in that we are not a telesales operation or a call center. We know about the home improvement & Solar Panel industry and are actually interested in what our customers want.

Check out our Facebook and Instagram for more information.