Frequently Asked Questions
We have prepared this list of Frequently Asked Questions to help you understand our products better:
What is included in the standard package?
Normally, we fabricate and install our structure at your home or business and our pricing usually reflects this. On the ‘product detail section’, it will state if delivery and installation are included. Our structures are normally supplied with Solar Panels. Sometimes, our clients might wish to do the installation work themselves. We have special pricing for these ‘supply only‘ orders and if you are interested it is best to contact us directly for our latest pricing. If you would also like to collect the structures directly from our factory, we can also give a discount for that too.
Normally, in order for you to have panels connected to your home or business, you would need a Solar PV electrical installer to do the electrical connection work. We at Solar Structures can organise this on your behalf, or you can source this work from a local Solar PV installer. We are happy to work with all Solar PV installers in order to make sure that your structure and related panels create clean, green energy long into the future.
Everyone’s requirements for electrical equipment are different as there are a wide range of options in this area, such as inverter sizes, different brands, hot-water diverters, etc. These elements are not included in our standard online package, but we are happy to discuss these elements with you and to help you with your requirements.
There are a number of other optional ‘extras’ that can be added-on, such as coating the steel sections in a special paint, or looking at cladding the underside of the panels or looking at adding guttering to the low side of the structures. If you are interested in these options, we can go through them in the design stage.
What are the steps in the process of getting a structure installed?
We have tried to make the process as easy as possible. In the case of our standard structures, the process is more or less as follows:
1. By browsing our website and social media, you might see a structure that you particularily like. We have structures in timber and in steel to meet a wide range of uses and spaces. Our product descriptions usually give the broad dimensions and foot-prints of our structures.
2. To see what might fit in the sapce you have in your home or business we recommend physically measuring the space you have available. It is important to be aware of the Sun and of shading, etc. There are a wide range of options with the structures and we are confident that we have a structure that should meet your needs. For example, sometimes the 6 panel wide structure might not fit, but a 5 panel wide structure might fit instead.
If you have a special design in mind, you can contact us directly or order some design time from our design team.
3. You can place an order via our website for the structure you have in mind or you can contact us directly via email or phone to place an order for you.
4. Once we receive the order, we will get in contact with you, usually by phone, in order to go through some details, such as the finishes, the size, the placement, etc. We will also discuss arrangements around the solar PV electrical work and your requirements for electrical equipment, such as Inverters, etc.
We try to make sure that the proposed structure matches your requirements long into the future. We normally spend around 2 to 3 weeks finalising your design. You will get a copy of the final proposed design and we will go through it with you so that you are happy to sign-off on it formally.
5. At this point, you would normally have identified your preferred option for the electrical work and you will be able to apply for a grant if applicable and available.
6. The fabrication and galvanising process takes around 8 weeks. We will keep you informed of progress here.
7. Once we have all the elements ready, we will usually liase with you to organise an installation date that suits. Our installations are weather dependent, so the dates can shift a bit.
8. With the structure in place, we would liase with the Solar PV installer in order to have the electrical work take place shortly after the installation of the structure and the panels.
9. Once the system is connected up, you can expect to start to harvest the benefits of clean, green solar electricity. Where applicable, your excess electricity will be sold back to the grid earning you credits against your electricity bills.
What groundworks are required and are they included in the online pricing?
The cost of groundworks is not included in our online pricing.
Our structures are designed to be bolted into a concrete pad that sits underneath each upright. You might have a pad in place already that can be used, or you might need to prepare some pads for the structure. Normally, it is more cost effective for you to organise the digging and the pouring of the concrete pads by a local ground-works company, but if you want, we can organise this work on your behalf.
In order to bring the power from the panels in to your home and for the installation of a safety switch on the structure, normally two c.5cm red ‘ESB’ ducts are required to bring the cables in and out from your home. If the structure is next to the building housing the fuse-board, the ducting might not be required. The exact cabling and ducting requirements are best discussed with your selected electrical installation partner.
Do the structures qualify for SEAI grants?
Yes, all our structures have all the required documentation and are CE certified in order for them to qualify for SEAI grants.
Do you need to apply for planning for a structure?
The rules around planning requirements and Solar PV have changed recently, but particularly in the case of our larger structures, we would recommend that planning be sought. A conversation with your local planning authority might be a good idea too.
We can offer support in preparation of the applicable planning documentation, however this would carry an additional cost.
Do the structures qualify for TAMS grants?
In theory, yes, however there are a number of terms and conditions around the TAMS grants that we might need to discuss with you. Please get in touch about these elements if you have a project in mind.
What are the advantages of a Solar Structure?
There are several reasons why a family without a suitable rooftop should invest in a pergola structure with solar PV panels on it:
- Maximising Energy Production: A pergola with solar PV panels can be placed in a location that is optimal for energy production, even if the home’s rooftop is not suitable. The pergola can be oriented and angled in a way that allows for maximum sun exposure, leading to increased energy production.
- Increased Property Value: A well-designed and well-built solar pergola can increase the value of a home. This is because solar panels are an attractive and environmentally-friendly feature that can be a selling point for potential buyers.
- Versatility: A solar pergola can be designed to be used for more than just energy production. It can also provide shade, privacy, and a comfortable outdoor living space.
- Reduced Energy Costs: By generating their own electricity, a family can reduce their energy bills and save money in the long run. This can be especially beneficial in areas where electricity prices are high.
- Environmental Benefits: Solar energy is a clean and renewable source of energy, which means that it doesn’t produce harmful emissions that contribute to climate change. By investing in a solar pergola, a family can reduce their carbon footprint and help protect the environment.
Overall, a solar pergola can be a smart investment for families looking to maximise energy production, increase property value, and reduce their energy costs while also doing their part for the environment.
How long will my structure last?
We give a 20 year warranty on our timber structures and a 20 year warranty on our steel structures, subject to some terms and conditions. We would be very confident that they will last for much long than this if they are maintained correctly and inspected regularily. The timber structures are designed with the Irish climate in mind and we only used c18 grade treated timber. All the timber work is designed to be kept dry. Our steelwork is hot-dip galvanised to the highest standard.
All our structures are designed to match and exceed the applicable standards for both wind and snow-loads.
How strong are the Solar PV panels?
The solar panels we supply are rated for significant wind and snow-loads. They normally come with >20 year performance warranties. There are no moving parts so there is very little maintenance with them.