Wivey Solar Club was a bulk-buying scheme run by and for local people to give discounts on multiple orders for solar electricity installations. It was free to register and covered Milverton, Wiveliscombe and surrounding parishes.
The offer was promoted until 19th May 2014 and proved very successful. Twenty three people registered and, following surveys, ten orders were placed (six in Wiveliscombe and four in neighbouring parishes). These were all installed during the summer of 2014 and have a total generating capacity of 31.5 kWp.
The photo above shows one of the installations in Wiveliscombe being inspected by Phil Grabham, MD of Solar Systems, and below is a summary of the club offer. Email for further information.
Solar Systems selected to supply Wivey Solar Club
Following a tendering process, Wivey Solar Club selected local company Solar Systems (now Forest Electrical) as the club partner. Solar Systems had already installed many systems in the Wiveliscombe and Western Somerset area and gained customer recommendations for their work. Solar Systems are certified by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme and are members of the Renewable Energy Consumer Code.
The main terms of the offer from Solar Systems through Wivey Solar Club are set out below.
Full system installation prices including VAT:
|System size||System peak power||Cost inc. VAT|
|8 panels||2 kW||£3,679.09|
|10 panels||2.5 kW||£4,111.97|
|12 panels||3 kW||£5,296.22|
|16 panels||4 kW||£6,137.75|
These prices were for a standard system installed on a slate or tiled roof of a two-storey building with reasonable access. The cost included the provision of an initial Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) where required.
High quality 250 watt solar PV panels were provided with an appropriately sized Fronius inverter.
Solar Systems comply with the Renewable Energy Consumer Code sponsored by the Renewable Energy Association. They:
- Provide a clear estimate of system performance with savings based on actual energy use and information on any permissions and approvals needed.
- Complete a technical site survey and provide a final design before installation.
- Require a protected deposit only for use on work under the contract, such as for purchasing goods.
- Apply for approval to secure agreement for connection to the grid before installation.
There is a ‘cooling off period’ that gives the consumer the right to cancel without penalty within seven days.
Solar Systems are fully insured and follow all relevant health and safety policies, with written risk assessment and method statement for all installations. Professional scaffolding will be supplied from one of Solar System’s approved contractors.
All installations will have a quality inspection once completed and a personal face to face handover by a senior manager or Director of Solar Systems, who will also assist with the registration process to allow the homeowner to claim the Feed-in Tariff.
Advice on planning, insurance, maintenance and Energy Performance Certificates
The Wivey Energy and Solar Power website provides guidance on planning, insurance and maintenance. The installation of domestic solar panels is permitted development, but there are some restrictions and consent is required for listed buildings. Insurance for solar systems can be covered by domestic policies, but this should be checked, and very little maintenance is needed over 25 years or more, apart from it being likely that the inverter will need replacing after 10-15 years, which currently costs about £1,000.
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of band D or higher for your home is required to claim the Feed-in Tariff, which is already achieved by over half of all domestic properties. If necessary, the new solar installation can contribute to increase your banding. See section towards the end of the costs and benefits page for further details on EPCs and a link for an online tool to estimate your home’s EPC rating and the most cost-effective methods to improve it by saving energy.