Solar Selections

Types of Solar Power Installations in the UK

What are the main types of solar energy installations?

There are two main types of solar power systems. The first and most common system connects your solar energy system with the main electricity grid. This Grid Connect system allows you to feed energy back into the grid through your meter, and be financially rewarded for it by your energy company. See our Feed-In Rewards page.

The other is a 'Stand-Alone' solar system for remote properties where the cost of connecting to the main grid is prohibitive. The system charges a battery bank, which in turn is used to power a house. A generator is usually kept available to back up the battery system.

What are the most commonly used types of solar panels?

You can read about the main types of solar panels (monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, and amorphous silicon and other thin-film technologies in our article: Which solar panel is best for your household needs?

Who does the installation and how long does it take?

Solar Selections will provide you with a choice of accredited and highly competent installers in your area (wherever you are in the UK), as well as a shortlist of the products they offer, and help you make your selection.

The installer will then attend your premises, provide a quote for the job and commence the installation. The quote you are given will fully disclose your discount.

Installation of an average sized household system generally takes less than a day.

I live in a residential apartment building. What are my solar energy options?

There's normally plenty of vacant and sunny space on the rooves of apartment buildings, and Solar Selections should be able to source a solar energy installation for your unit. You'll usually need to obtain permission from your body corporate prior to any installation going ahead. Alternatively, your body corporate itself may wish to power the building's common areas and lighting with solar energy.

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Where should the solar panels be installed?

Wherever you have maximum sunshine and minimal shade. Normally the solar panels will be installed as discreetly as possible on your roof, but if you prefer they can also be erected free standing elsewhere on your property.

Maximum solar energy in UK is obtained by having the solar panels face south, and tilted upwards at an angle of 30 degrees.

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What is an inverter and where should it be installed?

An inverter converts the DC electricity generated by your solar panels into 240V AC electricity suitable for use in your home.

Inverters are usually smaller than a standard suitcase, and are situated close to your electrical switchboard.

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How do I maintain my solar energy system?

Simply by ensuring, every year or as need be, that your solar panels are kept clean. That's all you really need to do. There are no moving parts, and so a good solar system should last you for 20 years or more.

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What size solar system will power my household needs?

[The table below is a guide only. Exact household electrical needs vary significantly depending on many factors including household insulation and the energy efficiencies of different appliances.]


Solar system power sizeHousehold electrical needs
1.5 kW All your lights, TV, DVD player, sound system, microwave and kettle
2 kW All the above uses plus your fridge, dishwasher and computer.
2.5 kW All the above uses plus either:
  • all other kitchen appliances such as your oven, grill and stove; or
  • all laundry appliances.
3 kW All the above needs plus almost everything else typically found in an average 3 bedroom home except air conditioning. You are essentially solar energy self sufficient!
4 kW Complete solar self sufficiency, including standard use of air conditioning.

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