Residential FAQ


If you have any questions about solar energy or recycling solar panels, you should find the answers below. If there is anything else you need to ask us, feel free to contact us. Our experts are on hand to help with any aspect of your solar needs...

Recycle Solar FAQs

  • Q. How do I know if I'm in fuel poverty?
  • A. If you are struggling to pay bills especially in the winter months and are in some cases forced to turn off your heating you could be considered to be in fuel poverty. Since a government review in 2010 fuel poverty is defined by if your expenditure on energy has the effect as to put your income below the poverty line. In 2014 a survey by the Association for the Conservation of Energy estimated one in four households face fuel poverty.

  • Q. How do I know if I qualify for free solar?
  • A. You will qualify for free solar if your income when related to you expenditure on energy falls into the following criteria. The government publishes an annual survey of income poverty in the UK. It is called the Households Below Average income (HBAI). The survey sets the poverty line at 60 per cent of the median UK household income. If a households income is less than 60% of average, the HBAI considers the household to be in fuel poverty.

  • Q. How long does it take to receive the free installation?
  • A. We aim to install your solar products within 60 days of approval

  • Q. Do solar panels go into landfill?
  • A. NO. Solar PV falls into the category of The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) which means it needs special  handling.

  • Q. Can you make new solar panels from old units?
  • A. Not currently, the silicon used in the construction of solar PV has to be brand new and cannot be reused in new panels. Once other materials contained in the solar panels such as glass and aluminium have been processed they can be used to manufacture new solar panels.

  • Q. Can you repair broken solar panels?
  • A. A broken solar panel can be repaired, however the cost of repair when compared to replacement means economically replacing a damaged panel is more attractive than trying to repair a broken panel. 

  • Q. Who are Recycle Solar?
  • A. Recyle Solar are a trading name of Recycle Solar Technologies. We aim to be the leading recycling point for solar panels and systems throughout the UK.

Solar in general FAQs

  • Q. What happens to my solar panels if I relocate?
  • A. The solar panels, the electricity and the money generated from the panels stays with the property. So, the person moving into the home would take over the contract. If you were to remove the panels from the house and then reinstall them on the new property, this would be considered a new installation and a new agreement would have to be arranged.

  • Q. Do solar panels work in bad weather?
  • A. Yes. The suns rays can pass through clouds, they won't be quite as efficient as on a clear day but they will keep generating power. Solid objects like trees or buildings will stop the panels working if they are casting a shadow over the panels.

  • Q. Will solar panels add value to my property?
  • A. The solar panels are a cash generating asset, so they can be seen to add value to a property.

  • Q. What is the export tariff?
  • A. The export tariff is the money you receive from the grid. Your solar panels, at some point, will be producing electricity that you will not need or use. In an "off grid" system this power can be stored in batteries. In an "on grid" system you can pump the surplus power back into the grid and get paid for it by the energy provider. The tariff rate is set by the government and it is indexed linked to the retail price index.

  • Q. Do I get paid for the electricity I don’t use?
  • A. Yes! As long as you are "on grid" you can sell your electricity back to the power company and get paid according to the export tariff.

  • Q. Do I need planning permission for solar panels?
  • A. For the majority of installations on domestic premises planning permission is not required in the UK. These are the governments guidelines for installing panels without the need for planning permission; 
  1. No part of the solar panel exceeds the highest part of the roof.
  2. No part of the solar panel protrudes more than 20 centimetres beyond the plane of a roof slope facing onto and visible from a road. 
  3. Solar panels do not exceed the boundary of the existing roof. 
  4. If you live in a house within a conservation area or World Heritage Site the roof slope on which the solar panels are fitted must not face onto and be visible from a road.

  • Q. If I have solar panels, do I still need to be on the grid?
  • A. You can create an "off grid" system, however, this is uncommon. "Off grid" may become more popular in the future when battery technology becomes more affordable and more effective. At present, being "on grid" is by far the most common way to proceed as it not only keeps the lights on while the solar panels aren't producing electricity, it also provides financial benefit through the FiT and Export tariff.

  • Q. What is the FiT?
  • A. The FiT stands for Feed in Tariff, this is the rate at which the government subsidise the electricity you generate from your solar panels, this rate is under government control and reviewed regularly. Unlike the export tariff, this payment is based on all the electricity you generate, and not just the electricity you pump back into the grid. That's right, you actually get paid for the electricity you use! For more information on the FiT please check out our dedicated page here.

  • Q. How long does it take to install solar panels?
  • A. This depends on the size of installation, roof type and access. Generally a 4kW system can be installed within 2-3 days. Talk to your installer for a more personalised estimate.

  • Q. What is an inverter?
  • A. An inverter in your solar panel system is vital for converting the power into electricity you can use. The photovoltaic panels on your roof generate Direct Current (DC), while your house runs on Alternating current (AC). The device needed to convert DC to AC is the inverter. It is important the right size inverter is installed to match the amount of solar panels in your system.

  • Q. Is my property suitable for solar panels?
  • A. There are degrees of suitability. The best type of roof with the highest exposure to the sun is south facing with a pitch of 45 degrees and no obstructions or shaded areas. This does not mean all other types of roof are unsuitable for solar panels. The majority of roof types will provide the opportunity to unlock the power of solar energy in the UK and bring down your fuel bills.

  • Q. What is kWp and kWh?
  • A. kWp stands for kilowatt peak, this means if conditions are perfect this is the highest amount of solar power that can be produced from the panel. kWh stands for kilowatt hour, this is how many kW (kilowatts) are produced in one hour.

  • Q. How long will it take to make a return on my solar panel investment?
  • A. This depends on a number of factors, such as location of your property in the UK, the angle and direction of the roof and if there is any shading over the panels from trees or other obstructions. All these factors have an effect. An average figure on a 4KW system would be somewhere in the region of 10 years. It is important to take advice on this before your installation is agreed.

  • Q. How much does it cost to install solar panels?
  • A. The price of solar energy is coming down all the time, so much so the government has been able to vastly reduce the subsidies, the financial incentive from the government is no longer the key to making solar pay. In terms of direct cost, this all depends on the property. We always recommend you enlist the services of a local installer to spec up your property before you purchase any system. The price of solar panels is becoming much more affordable due to improvements in manufacturing processes. The payback is also better as the efficiency of panels improves.

  • Q. What does PV mean?
  • A. PV means Photovoltaics. It is the name given to the process of generating power through the sunlight reacting with semiconducting materials in the solar cells within the panels. It is a physical and chemical reaction which ultimately turns sunlight into electricity in the form of direct current (DC).

  • Q. What is Solar Energy?
  • A. Solar energy is the heat (Thermal) or electricity (Photovoltaic) that can be generated from the sun’s rays. It is a renewable source of energy, which means as long as there is a sun there is an energy source. It will never run out!