Case Study: Janet’s ground-mounted solar installation in Everingham reduced her energy bill direct debit by two-thirds
Janet’s Story: How a ground-mounted solar system in Everingham has helped reduce her energy bill.
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At Green Building Renewables, we see case studies as an opportunity to tell the personal stories of our customers. Without our customers and their feedback, we couldn’t progress as a company and always make improvements.
In this case study, Janet from Everingham, York, tells us about her ground-mounted solar installation and how it has helped reduce her energy bill direct debit by two-thirds
Why did you choose to install solar panels?
I decided to install solar panels partly to lower my energy bills, and partly because I believe that individuals should make every effort possible to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels as well as our carbon footprint. Although the initial cost of installation may seem significant, I expect the panels to have paid for themselves within five to seven years. After this time, I look forward to a significant return on investment.
What benefits have you experienced since having the solar panels installed?
The panels were installed in July 2023, so it’ll take a full year before I have a complete and rounded view of the reductions and savings, I have made to my ongoing energy costs. However, the initial signs are very encouraging, not least in the fact my energy bill direct debit has been reduced to a third of what it was a year ago.
How did you find the solar panel and battery installation process?
Once I had decided on a supplier and after some initial communication exchanges, the installation process went very well. Green Building Renewables was good at keeping me informed, and carried out the work efficiently. I was very pleased to find that the panels are a much lower profile than I expected. This is a ground-mounted installation and the outlook from the house is barely affected.
What advice would you offer to others considering solar panels for their home?
As with any major project, it’s important to get several quotes and talk to the people who will be doing the work or at least managing and supervising it. If you have a suitable space outside your home, it is worth considering a ground-mounted array as maintenance (principally cleaning) is much easier than looking after roof-mounted panels.
To make the best use of the energy provided you also need to be mindful of how you use gadgets within your home: try to use electrical items within daylight hours as much as possible and use equipment sequentially rather than concurrently. In other words, don’t run the dishwasher and the washing-machine, bake bread in the bread-maker, and do the ironing all at the same time!
What is your opinion of Green Building Renewables?
After a rapid period of expansion, Green Building Renewables have continued to remain very responsive to their customers. When talking to staff, I always got the impression that they were taking on board my requirements and what I had to say. They carried out thorough site visits prior to the installation and discussed the options for installation of panels, inverter and batteries sensibly with me.
What solar system did we install, and what did we do?
We installed a 6.48 kW ground-mounted solar PV system, including 16 x 405 W black mono panels and one x 5 kW FOX ESS hybrid inverter.
An 8.6 kW FOX ESS Hybrid Energy Cube battery storage system comprised two x 4.3 kW Energy Cube batteries.
Are you considering a ground-mounted solar installation like Janet?
Janet’s story is an interesting one, and she has provided some great advice on the things to consider when having a solar installation, and in particular, a ground-mounted solar installation.
Ground-mounted solar is an alternative to having a more common roof-mounted system fitted at your home, but what things do you need to consider, and what are the benefits of a ground-mounted solar system?
What are the benefits of a ground-mounted solar installation in the UK?
Maximising Sunlight in Variable Weather: The UK is known for its variable weather patterns, including frequent cloud cover and rainfall. Ground-mounted solar installations have an edge in such conditions as they can be strategically positioned to maximize sunlight exposure. Unlike rooftop installations that may be obstructed by surrounding structures or suffer from shading, ground-mounted systems can be optimised for their orientation to capture sunlight effectively, ensuring a more consistent energy yield.
Enhanced Energy Production in Northern Latitudes: Due to its northern latitude, the UK experiences reduced sunlight intensity compared to equatorial regions. Ground-mounted solar installations can be designed with adjustable tilt angles, optimising the panels to capture sunlight at the most advantageous angle throughout the year. This adaptability helps compensate for the lower sun angle in northern latitudes, enhancing energy production.
Scalability for differing Energy Needs: Ground-mounted solar installations offer scalability, making them suitable for diverse energy needs. Whether for residential, commercial, or utility-scale applications, the flexibility to expand the solar array ensures that the system can be tailored to meet the specific energy demands of the user. This scalability is crucial for accommodating the varying energy needs of homes, businesses, and large-scale facilities.
Cost-efficient Installation and Maintenance: Ground-mounted solar installations can be more cost-efficient in terms of installation and maintenance in the UK. The ease of access to ground-mounted systems simplifies installation, eliminating the complexities associated with rooftop modifications. Additionally, like Janet said maintenance is more straightforward, as cleaning and servicing the panels are more accessible without the structural obstacles often encountered in rooftop installations.
Best use of Available Land: Ground-mounted solar installations provide an alternative by utilising available land efficiently. This is especially relevant in urban areas where rooftop configurations may be impractical or insufficient to meet the population’s energy demands. Repurposing unused or underutilised land for solar energy generation supports sustainable land use practices.
Impact on property price: Most evidence these days suggests solar panels and renewable technology increase the value of a property. However, with ground-mounted solar you have it’s worth considering that your property will have less free land space, so solar panels might not necessarily increase their value.
What things must you consider for ground-mounted solar installations in the UK?
Ground-mounted solar panels are a great option for properties that have a bit of land to work and especially if you don’t have the suitable roof space for solar.
Properties with a lot of land may have the opportunity to install larger solar systems than they could fit on their roof. If, however, you have less than 50 square metres of land, it’s unlikely that a ground-mounted solution is the best option for your home’s energy needs.
There are, nevertheless, a few things to consider for a ground-mounted system. Here are our tips for what to think about:
The site: Conducting a thorough analysis of your land is paramount for the success of a ground-mounted solar installation in the UK. Factors such as local weather patterns, soil conditions, and potential shading from surrounding structures or vegetation must be carefully evaluated to determine your solar array’s best placement and orientation.
Planning Permission: Any ground-mounted system larger than nine square metres, which with current panels you could get four 2m2 panels in that area, which would give you about 1620W. In context, a 10-panel system will power a typical three-bedroom house. This would take up around 20 square metres. Therefore, any ground-mount system of any significant size and purpose will need planning permission. Listed properties and properties in conservation areas would need planning permission regardless of size.
Foundation and Mounting Systems: The choice of foundation and mounting systems plays a vital role in the stability and longevity of the solar installation. Given the variable weather conditions in the UK, selecting appropriate foundation types that account for factors such as soil stability, wind resistance, and potential movement from frost and ice is essential. Robust mounting structures are also necessary to withstand the elements and ensure the durability of the solar array.
Environmental Impact: Assessing and mitigating the environmental impact of the solar installation is crucial. The UK strongly emphasises environmental conservation, and you must take steps to minimise any disruption to local ecosystems. This includes considerations for wildlife habitats, vegetation, and any potential water source impacts. This is less relevant for existing domestic settings but should still be considered if altering a large area of your land.
Grid Connection and Energy Storage: Ground-mounted solar installations in the UK require connecting to the national grid to distribute generated energy. Coordination with local utility companies ensures seamless integration and compliance with grid connection requirements. Additionally, integrating energy storage solutions, such as batteries, can enhance the system’s efficiency by storing excess energy during periods of low sunlight or high energy demand.
If you are fortunate enough to have lots of land with your home, or perhaps don’t have not enough suitable roof space for solar then ground-mounted solar is definitely worth considering to help you lower your bills and reduce your environmental footprint. Our team is ready to help you and assess your options get in touch with your local office to discuss your options.