Those looking to take advantage of solar power benefits in their existing home, or those planning a new-build property should involve an architect from the beginning of such a project.
We will explain the benefits this will bring, but first let’s explain the most popular type of solar installation and how they work.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels:
In terms of renewable technology, solar PV panels are the most popular type of installation.
Once installed they work by collecting the sun’s solar radiation and convert this energy into electricity.
In terms of placement, they are generally fitted to your roof, however it is possible to have column-mounted, ground-based installations. An interesting technology in the latter option is the fact that these systems use GPS to track and turn the panels as the sun moves on its daily journey. This maximises energy generation.
Solar design and installation:
One of the biggest barriers to solar panel installation has been in terms of design. Aesthetically we all want our home to look attractive from the exterior. This is one important area where the trained-eye and imaginative design qualities of an architect will certainly help.
Solar panels are designed to include a ‘grid-pattern’ of photovoltaic cells. Think of these as being similar to semiconductors. They absorb and then convert sunlight into useable energy.
A common solar panel misconception:
Given the vagaries of the UK’s weather and the variances in direct sunlight received there is a common misconception relating to solar panels.
Many people are led to believe that solar panels need a lot of direct sunlight in order to be effective. Obviously, the more direct sunlight the better, however they also produce energy on cloudy days as well as during the winter months.
No excess energy waste:
If the energy created is surplus to your immediate requirements you can either store it in a solar battery for future use or send it back to the National Grid for their distribution.
If the latter option is chosen then for every unit of energy generated or sent back to the National Grid you could benefit from government payments as part of the “Feed-in Tariff” (FIT) payment scheme. Again, your installer and architect can advise on this.
Benefits an architect will bring:
We have already touched on the design and aesthetic qualities an architect can provide. In terms of external appearance, they will ensure such an installation blends in with the house and your surroundings, but that is certainly not all:
Consider these other benefits:
- Understanding how local and national authorities view solar PV panel installations and ensuring compliance.
- Early involvement means optimal choice on siting of all solar PV components
- Prior planning and recommendations can help reduce other refurbishment or construction costs.
- Advice and application assistance can be offered to achieve higher green ratings for your property. This includes BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) as well as the Code for Sustainable Homes.
Let the sun shine on your solar panel project!
Those who are considering solar panel installation should include an architect at the early stages of their project. They can bring experience and benefits to your highly commendable renewable power plans.