Things to consider when installing solar panels

The installation of solar panels is a sensible solution for any household that is environmentally conscious, however, like any significant installation, it makes sense to ensure the solar panels will be installed in an optimum environment, to ensure the maximum return on both energy saving and investment is achieved.
Solar panels are a hugely popular method of capturing the suns energy and converting this into electricity which is then used to power the everyday electrical needs in your home.  It makes sense to consider a few points before installation which will save money and potential inconvenience at a later date.
Before solar panels are installed, it makes sense to ensure your home is already kitted out with other energy saving devices and measures in particular the improvement of insulation and the minimising of draughts.  This ensures the most energy efficiency will be obtained from the solar panels.
If there are any roof repairs or home renovation planned (i.e. fitting of dormers) have this work carried out first. It can become costly to work around solar panels and if a panel needs to be removed, a solar PV installer would need to do this which of course is added cost.  In addition, solar PV panels can be built into architects plans which will not only enable the solar panels to perform to their best possible potential, but also can be incorporated into design plans so they will look good too.
Furthermore, installing solar panels to differing roof tile types can vary enormously in price, so incorporating solar panels into home renovation plans could save money on installation costs.
It is not a necessity to have a South facing, perfectly pitched roof in order to benefit from solar panels.  Ideally a roof should face South and have a pitched angle of around 30 degrees to achieve optimum performance. However, solar panels have been installed on roofs that face South-East or South-West.
The solar panels operate approximately 20% less efficiently in these locations which will reduce energy output and savings slightly.  Additionally, solar panels have been installed on flat roofs using a metal framework which acts as the pitch of the roof.  It also possible to install solar panels at ground level if there is land available also using metal frame working to obtain the correct pitch.  It is not recommended to install solar panels on North facing roofs.
It is important that shading is kept to a minimum as this can affect solar panel performance.  Common causes of shading are from trees, TV aerials and vent pipes.  Of course the solar panel installer will account for these at installation, however it is a good idea to ensure that in the future trees do not grow and obstruct the light to the solar panels.  Some shading early or late in the day is OK, however for the best output possible, solar panels should be completely free from shade between 10am and 4pm.  The good news is that solar panels still produce energy even on a cloudy day albeit at reduced output.
Once installed, solar panels are relatively maintenance free and have a long life span of at least 25 years.  The solar panels would benefit from hosing down once or twice a year to clear debris and its also a good idea to clear leaves from around the panels too.  Maintenance checks are required every few years.
Solar panels are an ideal investment for households who own their home and are settled into their property.  It is a long term investment with pay back made over several years.