Solar

Solar panels take energy from the sun and use this to generate electricity (solar photovoltaic or 'PV') or to heat water (solar thermal).

Things to consider:

Is the space south facing (this can range from south east to south west) and angled at roughly 350 degrees?
In the UK a solar panel needs to be sited at an optimal angle to the sun to get good financial and environmental returns.

Is the space free from shading?
If the panels are shaded their efficiency, and therefore returns, will be reduced.

For solar water heating only: is there a hot water demand in the summer months, particularly during and after sunny periods?
The efficiency of solar hot water systems is considerably reduced if the hot water isn’t regularly used during and soon after the heat is captured.

For solar water heating only: is there space in the property for a new hot water tank?
To effectively store heat from solar panels a hot water tank is needed. These are often a slightly different shape to existing tanks and have extra heat exchangers to allow for the solar input.

Check out the resources on the right for more help and guidance on setting up a community solar project.

Community solar

Find out how West Oxford Community Renewables installed around 550
solar PV panels on three roofs at Matthew Arnold School in Oxford. Click here to start the movie.