1. Consider ways to reduce the building’s electricity demand, which will determine the size of system required. This is required under Part L and the Code for Sustainable Homes, and is important where the Merton Rule applies.
2. Consider solar early in the design stage. Solar engineers will provide advice on the orientation and design of the roof and selecting the right products such as solar roof tiles or modules.
3. Get a 50% grant for public sector or housing association properties. You can claim the grant if you purchase through a registered Low Carbon Buildings Programme Framework supplier.
4. Suppliers should be able to provide a turnkey solution, including help with planning guidelines, specification and project management. They should also be accredited under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme.
5. Consider long-term building operation costs. Make clients aware that many PV systems will last up to 50 years, reducing bills considerably. From 2010 a UK ‘feed-in tariff’ will pay generators of solar electricity.
Guy Atherton is senior engineer at Solarcentury.