Solar installations on roofs are becoming an increasingly common sight across the UK. With this in mind, NFRC is encouraging its roofers to work together with reputable plumbers and electricians in order to achieve the optimum solar installation. You can see the other professional associations that we work closely with by checking out our Useful links.
Our belief is that competence in roofing work rather than just knowing how to install the system is a key component when it comes to installing solar panels. Professional roofing contractors can bring expertise and knowledge, as well as the correct insurance for working at height, to solar installation.
Our members are supported and actively encouraged to consider bringing solar into their business either by being a registered installer or by becoming Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accredited.
There are two main forms of solar energy system for buildings – Solar Heating and Solar Photovoltaics (PV).
A solar heating panel is very simply a black surface in an insulated container that absorbs light and heats up. The heat is then transferred into a working fluid that in turn moves the heat to a place where it is useful – perhaps a hot water store, swimming pool or space heating for a building.
Higher-performing solar heating panels do not require direct sunshine and will collect heat on a cloudy day. Typically, the energy is used to provide hot water for washing, which is relatively constant throughout the year and better matches the availability of solar energy than space heating.
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) cells convert light directly into electricity, and have become commonplace on devices such as calculators and watches. Costs have continued to fall as efficiencies of PV materials have risen, so the technology is becoming more and more cost-effective for generation of energy on buildings.
The most common technology uses thin wafers of silicon semiconductor materials connected together in a photovoltaic panel or module.
The panels themselves are then electrically connected together into an array. The direct current (DC) electricity they produce needs to be converted to alternating current (AC) to use in the building. A piece of electrical equipment called a solar inverter does this. Any excess energy which cannot be used in the building at the time it is generated can be exported to the electricity Grid to be used elsewhere.