9 Solar Panel Terms You Need to Know

Note: This article contains out-of-date information about the Feed-in Tariff scheme (FITs) which closed to new applications on 31st March 2019. Find out more about the closure on the Energy Saving Trust’s website.

Solar panels can be a great addition to your home. They can reduce your carbon footprint, lower your electricity bill and earn you money.

If you want to install solar panels on your home or land, it’s important to do your research. There are different types of systems and schemes that you need to be aware of in order to make the most out of your installation.

Researching solar panels can be tricky. You may find that you come across several terms that, unless you have specialist knowledge, you may not understand. So to help you out, we’ve come up with 9 solar panels terms and definitions that you need to know.

Feed-in Tariff scheme (FITs)

The Feed-in Tariff scheme, or FITs, is a government scheme that pays you for the electricity you generate using your solar panels. It includes a generation tariff, which pays you a set rate for every kWh of electricity you generate. It also includes an export tariff, which gives you money for every unit of electricity you don’t use and send to the grid.


The inverter is the part of your solar panel installation that converts electricity from DC (direct current) to AC (alternating current). You need an inverter to be able to use your solar panel system to power your home.

Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS)

MCS is the scheme that all installers must register with to be able to legally fit solar panels. If you don’t get your system installed by an MCS installer then you won’t benefit from FITs payments.

Energy Performance Certificate

An EPC states how energy efficient a property is. It gives a letter rating from A (most efficient) – G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years. An EPC also states what energy-efficiency rating a property could be if certain improvements were made to it.

Concentrating Photovoltaics (CPVs)

Concentrating photovoltaics is a type of solar technology. It uses mirrors or lenses to concentrate sunlight onto high-efficiency solar cells.

Stand-off mounting

Stand-off mounting is a way of fitting solar panels onto a pitched roof. It involves mounting the panels slightly above the sloped roof and tilting them so they receive the maximum amount of sunlight.


The load is the demand or amount of power required from an energy producing system. In relation to a solar panel system, this is measured in amps or watts of electricity.

System availability

The system availability is the percentage of time that a solar panel system will be able to meet the load demand. This is usually measured in hours per year.

Annual solar savings

The annual solar savings of a property is the difference between the amount of energy saved with a solar installation and the amount of energy saved without it.

So now you should know and understand a few more solar panel terms. To learn more about solar panels, take a look at our information on 1kW, 2kW, 3kW and 4kW systems. Or to find an installer to fit your solar panel system, fill in our online form. We’ll connect you with up to 4 contractors in your local area.

Evy Coe

Evy works for Quotatis as a Content Marketing Executive. She loves to write about interior design and help homeowners with their DIY projects.