Stuart Nicholson, roof systems director at Marley, answers your solar questions.
Q. I install pitched roofs, but I’ve never used solar panels before. How easy is it to fit solar PV on a roof?
New innovations mean solar PV technology is much easier to install than in the past. The latest integrated solar tiles simply replace sections of the roof tiles and can be installed by any roofer, up until the point of electrical connection.
Q. Do I have to become certified as a solar installer to fit solar tiles?
MCS certification covers installations of products used to produce electricity and heat from renewable sources, including solar. You don’t have to be certified to install some integrated PV systems, such as our Marley SolarTile, but it is required to make the final electrical connection and do the sign off.
Therefore, you can either form a partnership with a certified electrical contractor or become MCS certified yourself to help differentiate your business. To apply, you will need to get the appropriate training for solar PV connection and apply to a certification body to arrange assessment.
Q. How can I sell solar to customers?
Growing consumer concern about cutting energy costs and reducing their own carbon footprint is leading to renewed interest in domestic solar technology. A typical home PV system can produce around 40 per cent of the electricity a household uses in a year, as well as reducing carbon emissions by between 1.3 and 1.6 tonnes per annum.
For more specific data to help when selling solar, you can refer to the solar energy calculator on the Energy Saving Trust website, a link to which is at the end of this feature. This provides estimated savings on energy bills and the financial payments your customers could receive by installing solar panels.
Q. How do I know which solar product to use?
There are two main options when it comes to solar PV – panels on top of the roof covering, or panels that are integrated into the roof tiles. These discreet, roof integrated PV systems are becoming more popular for aesthetic, planning and house resale reasons.
The sleek, low profile Marley SolarTile panels can be integrated with any of our roof tiles or slates, so you can subtly incorporate solar tiles into any roof design – even handmade clay. It is easy to install, with an integrated tray so no counter battens are required and has a simple push together design. It is fully compatible with the Marley full roof system and is covered by the 15-year system warranty.
Q. To get enough electricity, how many solar tiles would I need?
Estimating is quite a simple process, as our online configurator builds an array of panels for you. All you need to do is fill in the grid to place the panels in position and the system works out which flashing kits are needed and produces a price. It even calculates the kWp output, so you can easily achieve the required performance.
Q. Can I use solar tiles on an extension?
The advantage of our Marley SolarTile is that it can be used down to low pitches of just 20 degrees. So, if you’re working on a low pitch extension project, you can integrate solar tiles with one of our low pitch tiles, such as the Lincoln or Eden clay pantile. This allows you to match in with the existing roof and the homeowner can save on energy bills at the same time.
Q. What training/support is available?
To help contractors make the most of solar PV opportunities and gain confidence in installation, we will be running free training courses throughout 2021.
For more information on Marley SolarTile, including technical support, or to view demonstration videos, visit www.marley.co.uk/solarinstall
For more information on MCS certification visit https://mcscertified.com/
To use the Energy Saving Trust Solar Energy Calculator go to https://www.pvfitcalculator.energysavingtrust.org.uk/