Frequently asked Questions – Solar for Schools

28 July 2014 | CustomSolar

Choosing to install a Solar System on your school may seem a daunting idea, potentially raising many questions from governors, teachers, parents and the local council. Our highly experienced team at Custom Solar are ready and willing to answer any questions you may have, however please read on for commonly asked questions.  

What are the benefits of installing solar PV at my school?

Not only will your school benefit from greatly reduced electricity bills as you will now be producing your own electricity rather than buying it from the grid, with our finance solution it also means you will receive the feed in tariff (FIT) payments for the next 20 years.  These feed in tariff payments will increase your budgets and allow you to spend the money where it matters – educating our children.

Isn’t Solar Expensive? We don’t have any money to spare so how can we afford it?

We are aware schools are run to extremely tight budgets and any spare cash is quickly swallowed up by equipment and learning materials.  Our tailored solutions are cash flow positive from the very beginning, meaning your school never goes out of pocket and only makes a profit from installing solar.  This works by making sure your rental payments do not exceed your combined expected electricity savings and FIT payments.  Our funding options are also EFA (education funding agency) and DECC approved which makes it easier for us to offer this solution to schools and academies.

What is the feed-in tariff and how does it work?

It’s a financial incentive backed by the Government and paid by your energy company to generate your own clean electricity.  You will earn a fixed income for every kilowatt hour of electricity you generate and use at your school. The income is guaranteed for 20 years (for solar pv systems) and index-linked.  If you invest in solar energy now, you will be guaranteeing that income for the next 20 years.  Ofgem will administer the feed-in tariff scheme and energy suppliers are responsible for payments to their customers.

Do the PV panels need direct sunlight to work?

Solar PV energy panels work from daylight so do not need direct sunlight to function, which works well for us in the UK where we don’t have as many sunny days as we’d like! Obviously the panels produce more power when the sun is stronger, as opposed to when it is overcast but are still very effective.  Shade is to be avoided but there are options available to combat shading issues.

How long will the solar PV system last at my school?

The system will function on your school for at least 20 years in line with the feed in tariff payments however the panels have an efficiency rating of over 25 years so you can easily still benefit from reduced electricity bills after the 20 year feed in tariff period is over if you choose.

How do we know the system is performing as it should be?

Custom Solar offer online monitoring so you can see how the system is performing and how much electricity you are generating.  All our systems come with full 20 year maintenance packages to ensure your system is performing to the best of its ability all year round. The maintenance package is included in your final payback figures provided, so you don’t have any extra costs down the line to worry about.