Whether it’s a humble rooftop panel system, or a 500-hectare solar panel plant, solar energy is fast becoming one of the cheapest sources of energy on the planet. Yes, a sunny day can do a whole lot more than just put us all in a good mood!
Over the past few years, the cost of solar energy has essentially plummeted. Combine that with the rapid improvements to the science of solar panels and there is no denying it; solar energy is becoming a mainstream choice.
If you are looking to become another happy homeowner benefiting from Solar Energy, make sure to read on. The following article, written in partnership with The Roofing Company Bristol, leading provider of solar panel system Bristol, will cover how solar energy works, the advantages of it and how you can install solar panels onto your home.
Firstly, what are solar panels?
The term ‘solar panels’ is used to describe a group of photovoltaic (pv) cells that turn sunlight into electricity.
The sun’s solar energy is a plentiful and completely renewable source of energy. In fact, solar energy is even available on the typical grey old day in the UK. You won’t need to wait for the occasional sunny one!
Whilst these PV panels are the most common type, also available are solar thermal panels. These panels will use sunlight to heat water flowing through them. Then, this hot water will be used to heat your home.
How do solar panels work?
Essentially, a social panel’s photovoltaic cells are made up of sandwiched layers of semi-conducting materials (usually silicon). Each of these layers will have various electronic properties, which will energise when hit by photons from the sunlight, creating an electric field. This is typically referred to as the photoelectric effect and creates the current that is needed to create electricity.
Typically, one solar panel will contain 30 of these cells and will have the capacity to generate around 300W of power in full sunlight, depending on the brightness, size of the panel and other factors such as temperature.
What are the benefits of solar power?
One brilliant benefit of solar power is that it can create lots of cheap power close to where it is being used.
Solar panels are easy to install, making them suitable for a wide range of locations including roof top panels to large countryside fields.
From an environmental point of view, solar energy is incredibly beneficial, as it doesn’t release harmful carbon. By choosing a solar PV system, you could save around 1.3 to 1.6 tonnes of carbon per year (depending on where in the UK you live).
In fact, in the South of England, a 3.5kWp system could generate around 3,700 kilowatt hours of electricity a year! To put it into perspective, that could turn the London Eye 49 times!
What’s more, once installed, solar panels will require little to no maintenance, just cleaning every now and then to keep them clear of any dirt and debris and working at their best.
Solar panels won’t create any noise pollution either!
How much will solar panels cost?
There is no denying it, a solar panel system is a long-term investment and the initial costs that you face can seem very high. However, with solar becoming much more affordable in recent years and the price of electricity and gas rising – you could find yourself protected from the rising costs. Not to mention that investing in such a system could add value to your home!
It’s also important to note that whilst there are a range of government systems that can help you, the overall price of a solar panel system is constantly falling. On average, the average solar panels system could cost you somewhere between £2,500 and £8,000, including installation, depending on the size of the roof and the number of panels you invest in.
Are solar panels the right choice for me?
You’ll quickly find that most UK homes are suitable for solar panels, yet the most suitable homes are those that are south facing, with a pitch of about 30-40 degrees.
It’s not advised that you put solar panels on a north-facing roof, however if your roof is either east or west-facing, your panels will still work well.
Keep in mind that your roof will also have to be strong enough to support the roof and that you’ll need space in your loft to house an inverter.
Are solar panels worth it?
The average solar panel system will generate around 3,700 kWh a year and around 92,500 kWh within its lifetime.
This fact alone makes a solar panel system incredibly worthwhile, just considering them from a financial perspective. Add this to the vast list of environmental benefits that are to be gained, including lowering emissions and helping to tackle air pollution, to reducing your home’s carbon footprint; it’s clear that solar energy is smart, sustainable and an excellent choice.
We hope that the above has given you a better insight into solar panels and why they are an excellent choice, both from a financial point of view and environmental.