Solar PV

Important Information for Our Customers

Common questions

For most solar PV installations, the VAT is now 20%. But there are a few exceptions - see our article on how to get 5% VAT on solar panels.

Large energy suppliers are legally obliged to offer an export tariff, to pay you for any excess solar power sent to the grid. It's usually around 5.5p/kWh.

Shading can have a serious impact on system performance and, as such, can affect the financial return of your solar PV system. If shading might be a problem, Spirit Energy is able to provide full computer-generated shading analysis and system design using specialist computer software. We can advise on the best panel configuration to minimise impact on performance, and highlight any potential losses, so you can make an informed decision.

Yes, we recommend having good internet at your property. Some inverters, battery chargers, batteries and monitoring products require internet connectivity for the purposes of remote monitoring and / or correct functioning.

To be eligible for Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) payments, you need to be able to send half-hourly export monitoring to your energy company. The easiest way to do this is via a smart meter.

  • Second generation smart meters transmit their data over the Smart Metering Wide Area Network (SM-WAN), which is a closed secure network, rather than existing mobile networks (which first gen smart meters use). The coverage of this SM-WAN is not comprehensive at the moment, and so you should check with your supplier if there is coverage where you live prior to us installing PV. Without this network coverage, the smart meter cannot communicate.
  • Under the terms of the SEG, suppliers ('SEG Licensees') are obligated to accept manual export readings from generators - see section 3.5 (p5) of the guidance here. In the case that there is currently no SM-WAN coverage at your property, the SEG Licensee should still be able to install a smart meter and accept manual readings for the time being, until the WAN coverage is expanded.

You'll often see PV systems classified by their theoretical kWp (killowatt peak) output. This number is mostly used for comparison - the important measure for your system is the estimated annual kWh (killowatt hour) generation. It's the energy you can expect your system to produce, allowing for local conditions, shading, whether the panels are in or on roof, orientation etc.

Read more in our blog on peak power.

Solar regulations

The vast majority of our domestic retrofit installations are installed as permitted development and as such do not require planning permission.

However, we advise all customers to take their own advice on planning as every local authority has their own way of interpreting the guidelines. We can prepare and submit planning applications on your behalf, or supply drawings if you want to do the application yourself, at additional cost. For more details on the requirements please see the solar panel section on the planning portal website.

No prior approval is required for the connection of 3.68kWp (4kWp in practical terms) to a single-phase electricity supply, or 11kWp to a 3 phase supply. Above these limits, an application needs to be made to the network operator (DNO) in advance of connection. We generally recommend we apply on your behalf before you confirm the order, for a cost of £100 inc VAT refundable upon order; it usually takes 11 weeks for the application to be processed.

All installations need to comply with Building Regulations, in particular Parts A (structural safety), C (resistance to moisture i.e. water-tightness) and P (electrical safety). As MCS accredited installers and NICEIC domestic installers, we are able to self-certify under Building Regulations and provide you with a certificate to give to any future owner of your property. Note that we will not certify any roof-mounted installation without a report from our (or your) qualified structural engineer.

We are required by law to ensure the bonding in your house meets the standards set out in the current wiring regulations. Any work required to do this will be determined at the technical survey. Any roof strengthening work required to meet Building Regulations will be determined in the structural report which follows the technical survey. We will advise you of any additional costs, and if you do not wish to proceed with the installation, you may cancel the contract - but please note there will be an abort fee to cover the cost of the surveys. Alternatively, you may prefer to ask a local electrician to upgrade the bonding, and a local carpenter to strengthen the roof.

Our contract complies with our obligations as members of both the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC) and the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). The aim of RECC is to guarantee a high-quality experience for consumers wishing to buy or lease small-scale energy generation systems for their homes. The Code is backed by the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) as part of a self-regulation initiative: The Consumer Codes Approval Scheme. Members of RECC agree to comply with the Code. See www.recc.org.uk for more information.

Spirit Energy is an MCS Installer, registration number NIC-1220. Our systems are commissioned according to MCS installation standards to ensure that the system is safe, has been installed in accordance with documented procedures and manufacturer’s requirements and is operating correctly in accordance with the system design. Following the testing and commissioning of the system, a detailed operating manual and handover pack will be provided to you.

If your property is not freehold, then it is advised that you check the terms of the freehold to ascertain whether installing solar panels is permitted.

Important to note

It is recommended that you inform your property insurers about the proposed installation to check if it will increase your buildings insurance premium.

Spirit Energy has appropriate insurance to cover possible third-party damage, which may be caused by any of our activities in supplying a small-scale energy generator to you.

Your deposit is insured with Home Improvement Protection (HIP) so that you can get your money back if we cannot deliver your equipment because we have gone out of business. Any money you give us up-front will be placed in a separate ring-fenced client account and only transferred to our main business account to pay for goods and services associated with your contract.

Spirit Energy offers a 5 year Workmanship Warranty on all solar PV installations. This is in addition to the 25 year manufacturer performance warranties on the panels. And, in the event you need to claim in the first 5 years, we will do this on your behalf to save you the hassle.

All our warranties are backed by Home Improvement Protection (HIP), who underwrite our warranties. This means that even if we go bust, your warranty doesn’t: HIP will back the warranty and arrange for any required work to be carried out. This gives you absolute peace of mind that your investment is covered. See hip.insure for more information.

We adhere to data protection legislation. We don’t pass information to a third party without your permission. Read our privacy policy.

See our full terms and conditions.

We always endeavour to provide the best service and products for our customers. However, on rare occasions, we recognise that there may be times where our customers may not be completely satisfied.

To ensure we are able to put things right as soon as we can, please read our complaints procedure below and we will respond promptly to ensure complete satisfaction. As soon as possible after the completion of the works, please inspect the work to ensure everything has been carried out to our usual high standards.

In the unlikely event there is anything you are not completely satisfied with, please contact us as soon as you can in order for us to rectify any problems swiftly.

  • Call us on 0118 951 4490.
  • Write us at Spirit Energy, Unit 44 Portman Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG30 1EA.
  • Email us at info@spiritenergy.co.uk.

We aim to respond within 2-3 working days of receiving your complaint and where possible, will provide you with a date to remedy any issues raised.

Where we are unable to resolve your complaint using our own complaints procedure, we handle our dispute resolutions in compliance with the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC). In the unlikely event of a complaint arising if you wish to refer the complaint to them please contact: 0207 981 0850 or via their website: www.recc.org.uk/consumers/how-to-complain.