The most southerly tip of Wales and in particular Cardiff is an ideal location for solar, it has about the same levels of insolation as other favourable parts of the UK such as Cornwall. Most people would not consider Cardiff to be an ideal spot for solar photovoltaic panels to be installed and do not realise how much solar radiation falls on that part of the country. This means that someone installing solar on their south facing roof would get the maximum benefit from them with nearly a fifth more electricity production compared to the same panels being installed in the North of Scotland.
There is a high level of interest in both paid solar systems and free solar panels in the CF Cardiff postcode area. On average the residents of this part of the UK seem to be more aware of the benefits of free solar power and how it can help reduce electricity bills and make a cleaner less polluted environment. The level of interest, in particular for free solar is unusual considering that there are no free solar installers based locally in Wales that install on residential properties. If you live in the Cardiff area and have the funds available to buy a solar system then you should do so before the 2012 deadline when the grants available will not be as generous. If you have a suitable home but are unable to afford to pay then you can still apply for free solar panels in Cardiff and find an installer that will cover your area.
The Ofgem data shows that during the first year of the feed-in tariff was introduced there were 89 domestic installations for solar PV in the Cardif CF postcode area. The first year of the scheme was not a full year as it only started in April of 2010. These 89 separate installations totalled 240.5kWh of capacity, that's over 204,000 kilowatt hours of electricity every year from green renewable sources that will not need to be generated from fossil fuels or nuclear.
The greatest amount of solar has been installed in the CF64 postcode area of Cardiff that covers Penarth, Dinas Powys, Sully and Llandough. There were 12 separate installations totalling 33.21 kWp giving an average solar installation size of 2.7kWp which is also the average for the whole of Cardiff. Surprisingly there were two installs that were 4kWp and 2 that were 5kWp. The reason this is unusual is that if your system is 4 kilowatts or over then you get a reduced rate from the government solar grant scheme. Installers and homeowners tend to keep the system to 3.96kWp max so that they can get the maximum payout. It really doesn't make financial sense to go over this limit unless you are installing a much larger system.
To be able to fit the maximum sized solar system that many free installers prefer to fit you do need quite a large roof. You would need an area of about 28 square metres or about 300 square foot of clear space on your south facing roof in order to fit the 22 panels. If however you have a smaller roof you can still get a smaller system fitted. In Cardiff there were a number of smaller installs that were as small as 1kWp which equates to about 6 panels covering an area of about 8 square metres or 80 plus square feet. To find out how many panels you could potentially get installed then you can find out how much roof space for solar panels are needed.
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Grants & Schemes
For every kWp of solar panels you install you could be earning up to £500 a year. That means a 3kWp system could earn you up to £1,500 a year for 25 years.
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