Solar panels are the future – here’s what you need to know before installing yours.
Solar energy is one of the biggest and most effective kinds of renewable energy in the world. We harvest the natural power of the sun to create electricity to heat and light homes and businesses. Your system can either produce electricity or heat your water whilst reducing the amount of carbon dioxide you produce. Solar panels are one of the most environmentally-friendly ways to power your home. The renewable energy sector is the future of UK energy, but you need to do your research before deciding whether this is the best energy solution for you.
Solar panels give us a greener alternative to other forms of power, such as central heating, as they do not pollute or emit greenhouse gases whilst operating. There have been many advancements over the years into the technology of PV modules and more recently battery storage. They are now more than ever accessible and affordable. Solar can save homes and businesses hundreds of pounds a year on electricity bills.
Solar power works using individual PV cells. These are joined together to form the solar panel systems that are made up of cells and conductive materials. They can then convert energy from the sun and generate electricity for use around your home.
The Benefits of Solar Panels
There are many benefits to generating solar electricity, here are few:
- A lower carbon footprint. Solar energy is renewable, so you’re powering your home without burning fossil fuel – saving the planet one bit at a time.
- Save on cash: any electricity you produce is totally free of charge and you can use it to power anything within your home or business for free. This will, of course, lower your energy bills and save you cash in the long term. You will also be able to make money from the Smart Export Guarantee which replaces FIT, meaning a quicker return on investment.
- No planning permission: installing solar panels doesn’t require special permission. There are some rules that need to be followed but mostly it’s simple.
- It’s renewable: the sun won’t be running out any time soon and they even work on cloudy days, so you should have plenty of free electricity all year round. Add a battery storage device to save your electricity produced and use it for the evening too. It will cut your carbon footprint as a bonus too.
- Efficient all year: they can produce energy all year, not just when the sun shines most.
Are there disadvantages?
Yes, there can be some, the main one being cost. There is initially a high cost of installing them, although this has decreased a lot over the years and will continue to do so. They have become cheaper and easier to manufacture meaning the cost of purchasing them has significantly lowered. Also, the savings you make on energy bills will, in the end, outweigh this initial cost.
The next thing to consider is dependence on sunlight. They are most effective in bright sunlight; however, they do work on cloudy days. They cannot work during the night so some power from the grid will need to be used during certain times. The best way to maximise their efficiency is by using a battery to store power ready to use during the evening.
The long-term benefit of installing solar does outweigh the initial investment as it can save you money. Their maintenance costs are low, and the warranty lasts for around 25 years – that’s 25 years of lower energy bills! The panels themselves could last even longer, potentially up to 50 years if serviced at least every3 years by a certified installer. The inverter, however, will probably need to be changed after 15/20 years.
Solar panels are also easy to install, making them suitable for all sorts of locations. From rooftop panels in city centres to large countryside solar farms, they’re highly scalable and adaptable.
Is solar suitable for your particular home?
Most UK homes are suitable for solar – but the best homes are ones with south-facing roofs with a pitch of 30-40 degrees. We wouldn’t suggest putting solar panels on a north-facing roof, but you might find that an east or west-facing roof still works well (although you’ll probably generate around 25% less energy).
Your roof also needs to be strong enough to house the panels – and you’ll need space in your loft to house the inverter. Getting a qualified installer to check your house before making any decision is a must!
The other good news is that most homes don’t need planning permission to install solar panels. But if you have a flat roof, or live in a conservation area, check with your local council before going ahead.
The future of solar panels
As solar panel technology improves and costs continue to drop, solar will play an even bigger part of our lives.
We specialise in installing renewable technologies like solar panels. If you’d like to receive an initial quote for solar panels, fill out our contact form. One of our experts will soon be in touch for a quick chat before putting your proposal together.