You don't need tropical weather, UK homeowners are making energy savings with modern, efficient panels to generate electricity even on cloudy days1.
You could even get paid for the electricity you generate but don’t use with the Government’s Feed-In Tariff scheme.
Whereas only a few years ago, solar panels were a bit of a novelty, these can now be seen on many streets, and can be a great addition to your home or property.
Solar PV panels
Solar PV panels capture the sun’s energy through Photovoltaic (PV) panels, which then produce electricity which can be used to power your lighting and appliances. Produce more electricity than you need and you could put that power back into the grid, maybe even being paid through an export tariff.
Solar PV panels differ from solar thermal panels, which use the sun’s energy to produce heat rather than electricity which is transferred as hot water to radiators and taps.
You’ve got big plans but is your home suitable for solar panels?
We all might have the odd moan about the sun being a stranger in the UK, but Solar panels may be suitable for many properties in the UK. According to http://www.solarpv.co.uk/solar-pv-orientation.html, roofs do not need to face due south, as a roof which faces between south-east to south-west can still produce electricity. Do however, make sure you speak to any potential installer about planning permission, your mortgage provider and home insurer for any considerations you may need to meet.
How long should your solar panels last?
If you are going to take the solar plunge, make sure your panels have a good warranty on them – stretching into at least the 20 plus year period. This should be backed by a performance output estimate, which describes how the efficiency will degrade over time.
For more information, check out the Solar Trade Association.
Solar water heating
The sun won’t just help you power your home. Solar water heaters can take care of your showers and soaks and reduce your energy bills3.
Also known as solar thermal panels, they use the sun’s rays to produce heat rather than the electricity produced by solar PV panels. You can get different kinds of solar thermal panels but in general they work by using black material containing pumped water, which is heated by the sun and returned back to a hot water tank. Here’s where it transfers its heat that you enjoy through the cosiness of your radiators, a nice warm bath or an invigorating shower.
Thinking through those solar power plans
There are some things to consider, before splashing out on the thought of all that lovely hot water. For instance, have you enough space? Although your panels don’t necessarily have to go on a roof, you’ll need to ensure that you have enough space for the panels facing the best direction to capture the sunlight for most of the day. The Eco Experts can help guide you to the size of the panels and the space you may need.
A good, professional accredited installer can assess your home and not only advise you on your boiler and cylinder requirements, but also help you choose the best solar power system for you and when you’re ready to make your plans happen, we're here to help.
You can find out more information at the Solar Trade Association