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Are you looking to save up to 40% off your electricity bill, help the environment or get cash back for producing surplus energy? Then solar panels are a good investment. So why not join half a million other British homes and have solar panels installed in your home? Here’s a guide to get you started on the costs and benefits that solar power can deliver.
Quite simply, solar panels or PV (Photovoltaic) panels generate electricity from the sun’s rays, which means you don’t need so much energy from suppliers using the national grid and therefore you reduce the cost of your electricity. If you export the surplus electricity your panels produce back to the national grid; you can get paid for generating energy too.
Solar panels are relatively simple. They are placed in a sunny position on the roof of your home, where they will collect energy from the sun. The panels are made up of a thin layer of semi-conducting material inserted between glass and a polymer resin. Photovoltaic means sunlight converted into a flow of electrons. When exposed to daylight, they become ‘energised’, and this energy produces electricity.
A Photovoltaic-generation meter is connected up to the system inside your home. This will show how much electricity the system is generating and how much electricity it is exporting to the grid.
Solar power technology is not a recent development. It dates back to 1839 when Alexandre Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect – how electricity can be generated from sunlight. Over 100 years later, in 1941, the solar cell was invented. Solar panels were developed using a collection of these solar cells.
Since then, the efficiency of solar cells has increased, until they became commercially viable. Since 2008, solar power has become increasingly popular, and its price has made it affordable to a much wider market. Today, over half a million British homes have solar panels.
By installing solar panels on your home, you could be rewarded by the government’s Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme, which the government originally introduced in April 2010 and which is tax-free.
The government’s Feed-in Tariff scheme pays you for feeding the surplus electricity you produce from your panels, back to the national grid. At the beginning of 2016, the tariff paid by the government for domestic solar PV installations was 4.39p per unit of electricity that is generated. This tariff has been reduced and now stands at £4.32 per unit. It is estimated that earnings and savings from solar panels could be around £8,080 over 20 years on average.
Once you are registered on the Feed-in Tariff, you are locked into that price regardless of future cuts to the Tariff. So to achieve the best return on investment, install as soon as possible to lock yourself in at the highest possible tariff.
The reason that this technology has become so popular is that, after the panels are constructed, they harness a natural and a renewable form of energy, which leaves no waste or pollution. The panels are very reliable and have a long life. They are relatively easy to install and are very low maintenance. Please note that if you intend to benefit from the government’s Feed-in Tariff, then you will need MCS certified panels and an MCS certified installer.
If you think that you could benefit from installing solar panels, and would like to take advantage of cheaper electricity and the government’s FiT payments for your surplus energy, then contact us by completing the online form to find out if you qualify.
The biggest benefits you will see is the amount of money you will save on your electricity bill. The more electricity your solar panels system can generate, the higher the savings on your energy bill with an average household electricity bill cut by up to 40%. Of course, as the price of electricity increases, so too will the amount you save, protecting you against rising energy bills.
Solar panels are not cheap to install. The cost depends on the size and type of the system. An average solar panel system of 4kWp (kilowatt peak) costs in the region of about £7,000.
The more panels you can fit on your roof, the more expensive the system will be to purchase and install. However, the more panels you have, the more electricity you will produce and the more you can send back to the grid, and so your return on investment will be higher.
Firstly, you need an unshaded, south-facing location for the installation of the panels, so as to optimise the sun exposure of the panels. You’ll also need a very sturdy roof – solar panels can be heavy, so your roof must be strong enough to take their weight.
When you fit solar panels onto your roof, all the panels and the installers who fit them must be certified by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) for you to qualify for the FIT payments.
If you run a business, you can benefit from fitting Solar panels just as any household would. You will save money on your energy bills by generating your own free, green electricity, and you will lower your energy demand of electricity from the national grid. You will also benefit from the FIT if your business buys a solar PV system outright, seeing a return of £4.32 per unit (for a system from 10-50 kW) as of the end of 2016. As a guideline, for smaller businesses, a 4kW system with FiT and electricity savings could add up to around £16,000 over 20 years.
With climate change a topic of concern it makes sense for businesses to be engaging in green initiatives for the purpose of strengthening relationships with customers. By generating your own electricity from solar, you are reducing your carbon output and could offset most of your business’ carbon emissions.
By installing solar panels, you will have a safety net in place should your business ever have to survive off-grid for any amount of time. With the National grid currently struggling to generate significant electricity supply to meet the growing demands of the UK, this is an all too possible reality. In an attempt to limit the problem, the Government have already introduced mandatory energy audits from large businesses (the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme) suggesting that future energy usage could also be regulated.
If you think that your household or your business could benefit from installing solar panels, and would like to take advantage of cheaper electricity and the government’s FiT payments for your surplus energy, then complete the online form to find out if you qualify.