Frequently Asked Questions - Renewable Technologies

Frequently Asked Questions

About Solar Photovoltaic Panels

Do I need planning permission?

Local authorities are sympathetic to reducing carbon emissions and will look favourably on the majority of applications. We always advise that you talk to your local authority planning department before beginning an installation. You may require planning permission for conservation areas, areas of outstanding natural beauty and listed buildings. You will need to apply for Building Regulations.

I’ve missed the boat; the lower tariff rate means solar panels aren't worth considering.

The Feed In Tariff rate has come down, but so has the cost of materials. It is still possible to achieve the same percentage returns as when the Feed In Tariff was at 12.47p and a typical system cost the investor around £5,500. Today, your investment is much smaller and will ensure the same percentage return.

Don’t forget your investment becomes more valuable as the price of electricity increases, which it is expected to.

I don’t trust the Feed in Tariff, the government keeps changing it.

The Feed In Tariff has suffered from government instability and indecision; however, today the majority of industry experts agree that the original rate of 12.47p was unsustainable and had to come down.

The government has now given the industry clear timelines for the reduction of the tariff and, while reductions will only make a fractional reduction in return, it will always be to your advantage to seize the opportunity and install solar panels now.

The only place I can put the panels is on my garage, which has a flat roof.

Flat roofs are not a problem. We have systems that allow us to mount the panels at a 15 degree elevation and because they are positioned in a landscape orientation they will not look imposing.

About Solar Thermal Panels

What if I’ve recently installed a new combi boiler?

This will not be a problem. You could still save money over the long term by combining your combi boiler with solar hot water heating by using an external heat exchanger/solasyphon or combi boiler conversion kit.

Will I need planning permission?

We always advise that you contact your planning department to talk to them before proceeding with an installation. As with solar photovoltaic panels, local authorities are sympathetic to works that will contribute to reducing carbon emissions and usually look favourably on any application. You are likely to require planning permission if you live in a conservation area, an area of outstanding natural beauty or if your property is a listed building. Solarwall can help you with your application.

The only place I can put the panels is on my garage, which has a flat roof.

Flat roofs are not a problem. We have systems that allow us to mount the panels at a 15 degree elevation and because they are positioned in a landscape orientation they will not look imposing.

About Air Source Heat Pumps

What are the expected installation costs?

Installation costs are greater than that of a traditional boiler; however, the cost of running the system is 30% less than that of an oil boiler (household using 2530 litres per annum and oil prices at £0.64, against heat pump consuming 7931kWh electricity at £0.145 per kWh).

How long will the installation take?

Installation may take up to one week and depend on the desired location of the heat pump as well as the location of the plant room. As heat pumps work most efficiently generating a low 'flow' temperature (the temperature of the water flowing around your radiators and associated pipework), it is likely that it will be necessary to increase the size of radiators to ensure that the radiant heat is sufficient to keep your property warm.  This will mean that furniture will need to be moved and floor coverings will need to be taken up.  

How much space will I need for a heat pump?

The outside unit will need a certain amount of space around them to prevent recirculation of air and freezing.  These toleraces vary depending upon manufacturer however they are reasonably similar so this diagram will give you a good indication.   

ASHP Clearances

they can be located some distance from your home if need be, behind sheds or garages.  Pipework heat loss is minimised by using insulated underground pipes.

How reliable are Air Souce Heat Pumps?

Air source heat pumps are not new technology and have been used highly successfully in much colder climates - such as that of Finland - for over 20 years. There have been recent issues where suppliers failed to install the correct size, however a tightening of regulations now means this is has been addressed.  Please be assured as experts in renewable heating technology, we are fully qualified to install and maintain air source heating pumps and can provide you with all the guidance and information you will need.

About Ground Source Heat Pumps

Is my property suitable for a ground source heat pump?

To extract heat, coils are installed into the ground. The number of coils required for a domestic installation varies between 3 and 6. Each coil is 50 metres long and 1 metre wide.
The coils are installed at a depth of 1.2 metres and need to be spaced 5 metres apart. These requirements mean that most ground source heat pump installations will require the property to have access to actual “land”, rather than a garden. Vertical boreholes can be used and the drilling of these is carried out by a specialist company. The pump unit has to be sited internally and is best located in a large utility room or garage.

What are the expected installation costs?

For smaller, well-insulated properties the installation costs are around £10,000 (excluding any ground excavation work or bore drilling) increasing to £20,000 for larger, detached properties. The excavation work can cost between £2,500 for installing horizontal pipework, up to £15,000 if drilling is required.



For more information, or a free, no obligation quote call us on 0800 138 0079

Request Contact

Domestic or Commercial




Where did you hear about us?

What are you interested in?

Are you an existing customer?