Where we are in Cardiff a local Housing Association has been busy installing PV onto their houses. Brilliant, just the ticket. The residents get to use the free energy created during the day, the HA gets the FiT payments and the planet gets a slight reprieve from a reduction in CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere.
There is though a slight issue that I noticed while glancing up at their handiwork. The clue is in the picture.
The workforce had installed the panels underneath an aerial, and being a seaside city we have a large number of gulls as well as pigeons. A nice secure aerial is a perfect place for a breather from scavenging the streets and whilst there, why not relieve yourself before heading off again! Consequently the areas, of the lovely new panels, below the aerials are covered with bird poo. This has a terrible effect on energy production, so all the benefits that should be accruing for the HA and tenants are being ruined by nature, just as we are trying to do something for it! So when designing your system think about factors like aerials so that you don’t suffer this issue.
If you have PV fitted already, remember to check that they are clean and free from bird poo, leaf drop etc and also that any potential overshading issues are dealt with (for example the PV on our garage has a Wisteria growing on the wall next to it, so I have to cut back shoots etc during the growing season.)
Remember that PV is great for being ‘low’ maintenance, but it is not ‘no’ maintenance!