Home Pitched Roofing Solar surge: Getting started with solar PV

Solar surge: Getting started with solar PV

by Jennie Ward

With demand for renewables set to soar over the next few years, Stuart Nicholson, Roof Systems Director at Marley, says it has never been easier for contractors to add solar PV to their offering, and outlines the key points they need to be aware of…

Stuart Nicholson, Roof Systems Director at Marley.

The potential introduction of the Future Homes Standard and strict targets for net zero carbon means the demand for renewables, such as solar PV, is growing rapidly. While making the first step to offer solar PV to customers may seem daunting, it can actually be quite a straightforward way for roofing contractors to expand their business and add revenue, particularly with the development of easy-to-install integrated solar tiles.

To help contractors, we have put together a quick guide to getting started with solar:

1. Becoming certified as a solar installer 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. More information can be found at Becoming certified – MCS (mcscertified.com).

2. Selling 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% 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. This provides estimated savings on energy bills and the financial payments your customers could receive by installing solar panels. It will give an estimate based on specific client information – such as postcode, roof pitch and direction etc.

You can also talk to homeowners about the different solar options that are now available – see below.

3. Choosing a solar product 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.

Our new Marley SolarTile has been designed to make PV installation easy for contractors. The sleek, low profile 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 it has a simple push together design. Electrical connection can be done once the roofer has finished installing the panels, so it doesn’t hold up the job. It is fully compatible with the Marley full roof system and is covered by the 15-year system warranty.

4. Estimates One of the first questions we get asked is, how do I know how many solar tiles to install? 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. The configurator also shows the flashing kit required by colour and when the boxes are delivered, they are marked in the same way, so you’ll know exactly which kits go where, making installation quick and easy.

5. Low pitch energy savings The advantage of our Marley SolarTile is that it can be used with any of our roof tiles and slates, 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 clay interlocking tiles, such as our Lincoln and Eden pantiles, to get a rustic traditional clay appearance and the homeowner can save on energy bills at the same time.

6. Free training and support To help contractors make the most of solar PV opportunities and gain confidence in installation, Marley will be running free training courses throughout 2021.

For more information, technical support or to view demonstration videos, visit www.marley.co.uk/solarinstall.

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