In order to tackle climate change and protect the environment, more and more people are shifting to renewable energy by having solar panels installed in their homes and business buildings. Solar panels capture sunlight energy and convert it to electricity which can be used to power the entire building.
The type of solar panels available in the UK does not require direct sunlight falling on them to generate electricity; they can work even on cloudy days. Let us try to understand how solar panels work and the benefits they offer.
How do solar panels work?
Solar PV cells lie between layers made of semi-conducting material such as silicone. When sunlight falls on solar PV cells, electrons move freely, this generates electricity. When multiple solar PV cells are combined, they form a solar panel, and multiple solar panels connected to one another form a solar array.
In order to ensure that solar panels receive the maximum amount of sunlight, it is ideal for installing them on a south-facing roof. Solar panels should be raised at an angle of around 45 degrees, with the optimum angle being between 30 to 40 degrees.
You should also make sure that there are no trees or buildings blocking the sunlight from falling on the solar panels. The majority of the solar panels are installed on rooftops but you can also install them on walls or on the ground.
When solar panels are installed, an inverter will also be installed in order to convert the generated electricity from DC to AC.
What are the advantages of installing solar panels?
The most important benefit of installing solar panels is that you can bring your monthly electricity bills down by 50% or more. If your solar panels are large, they can power your entire house, business building, or places of worship. They can reduce the mosque energy prices by half.
Another major benefit of installing solar panels is that you will reduce your carbon footprint. According to statistics, a solar panel system can save around 1.6 tonnes of carbon every year, depending on which area in the UK you live.
Do solar panels have an effect on electricity supply?
If your solar panels are installed correctly, then your system should convert flawlessly between using electricity from the energy supplier to using electricity generated by the solar panels. You will not even notice any difference between the switches.
It will be the same as when you install a UPS. You can use the electricity produced by the solar panels alongside the electricity from the National grid, and there is no need to inform your energy supplier. You will simply use less energy from the national grid. Thus your monthly bills will be lower.
What is the price of a solar panel?
The cost of having solar panels fitted will depend upon the size of your roof and the type of system you want. Installing solar panels is not cheap, but it proves to be very cost-effective and cheap in the long run.
The initial heavy investment is just a small price you have to pay for the benefits it provides later on to you and the environment.
The most commonly installed 4kW solar panel requires a 30 square meters roof and consists of 17 panels. This solar panel system can generate enough energy to power your house, although you might still need to use some energy from the grid.
The cost of this solar panel system lies between £5,000 and £9,000, but once installed, you can save up to £280 on your monthly bills.
A more economical option is installing the 3kW solar panel system, which consists of 12 solar panels and requires a roof space of about 23 square meters. The cost of this type of solar panel system lies between £5,000 and £6,000, and you can save up to £170 annually.
How long does it take to cover the initial costs?
The time taken to cover the initial investment cost depends on the type of solar panel system you opt for, but generally, it takes up to 14 to 24 years to cover the cost of installing solar panels. Large solar panel systems are expensive, but they can generate much more energy and are more cost-effective in the long run.
Factors to consider when purchasing solar panels
If you are thinking about installing solar panels, you need to consider whether your roof can support the system or not, how big it is, and how much sunlight does it get?
You will also need to consider which size of solar panel system is ideal for your roof. It is important to consider which solar panel size will be sufficient to cover your home’s energy requirements but will not give any surplus.
You can also go for a solar battery or an energy storage system that will store all the extra electricity generated by your solar panel. This will allow you to store the electricity generated by your solar panel during the day and use it at night. This will reduce the amount of energy you consume from the national grid and lower your monthly bills.
Normally you do not need to take permission before installing solar panels from your local authority; however you should check with them just in case, there are any barriers or restrictions from their side. You should also make sure your home insurance company is aware and will cover solar panels.
Last but not least, you need to make sure you search the market and take quotes from different companies in order to compare the installation costs and finalize the most economical option.
How can you reap the benefits of solar panels?
Here are a few tips on how you can get the most out of solar panels if you have decided to get them installed.
- Use the electricity generated by the solar panel during the day. Solar panels work the most effectively and efficiently during the day, so tasks such as running the dishwasher or ironing can be done during the day. If you are outdoors during the day, using smart appliances that have inbuilt timers can save the day.
- You can pair solar panels with other renewable technologies, such as thermal panels, wind turbines, and heat pumps.
- Purchase an energy storage system. As previously mentioned, solar energy systems can help you store the energy generated by solar panels during the day so that you can use them during the night. And no surplus electricity gets wasted.
- Solar panels need to be kept clean. You can easily buy solar panel cleaning kits or install automatic cleaners that are like a small sprinkler system for your solar panels. Or you can pay a cleaning company to do the job for you.
The bottom line
In order to save the planet and our nation from suffering from an energy crisis, we need to shift to renewable energy sources; the easiest and most accessible one of which is solar energy.
Solar panels convert sunlight energy into electrical energy that can be used to power your entire house and even buildings. Solar panel systems are a great long-term investment that will not only help you cut down your monthly costs but also reduce your carbon footprint.