At a time where energy costs are increasing and the impacts of climate change are being stressed, more and more people are turning to environmentally friendly green energy in a bid to save money. Over the next 20 years electricity prices are expected to rise rapidly, prompting many houses to switch to using solar power in order to generate their own electricity and considerably reduce the cost of electricity bills.
Solar Power: The Basics
Solar power, in the form of photovoltaic (PV) roof panels, generates energy from using daylight. The light is then converted into electricity, connecting to the main electricity supply of your household. If more electricity is used than the solar panels generate the excess electricity is supplied by the national grid as it would have been previously, similarly, any energy not used from the solar panels is then pumped back into the grid.
Solar panels use daylight – This way electricity is still generated even on days when the weather is not so great and the sun cannot be seen!
A south-facing roof is required for maximum benefit– Your roof should roughly face southwards in order to receive maximum payment from your solar panel use.
Winter uses more energy from the grid than the solar panels – Setting your appliances to run whilst it’s still light outside can help to maximise your savings during the winter season.
All energy generated is green - Solar panels can considerably reduce your carbon footprint.
Solar panels are priced depending on their kilowatts peak (kWp) rating. The average system, usually generating 3.5kWp, will cost around £7,000 or more. The more electricity a system generates, the more it will then cost. It is worth nothing the more expensive the system, the greater saving potential it could have.
Although the initial cost can be quite expensive, an investment into solar power can save you a considerable amount of money. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that an average household can save approximately £150 per year on their electricity costs when using solar panels. The government provides an incentive for those who make the switch to solar power. A feed-in-tariff scheme allows households to get paid for generating energy for a period of 20 years, with typical solar panel systems accumulating an estimated £650 per year in feed-in payments. The panels are installed free of charge by suppliers and any surplus energy generated is fed back into the national grid for which you are compensated for.
*It is important to note:
- Costs of installation can vary depending on the provider and their different products.
- Some providers will offer free installation; in this case you will then usually not be eligible to take part in the government’s feed-in-tariff scheme.
Top UK Providers according to the REA:
- Awarded “Installer of the Year” by the Renewable Energy Association (REA), EcoHill is the top provider for solar PV electrical system installations, offering customers a 25 year performance guarantee on their products
- Feed It Green
Another award winning solar panel company, Feed It Green is highly recognized by the REA, promising to match any like for like quotes customers may provide.
Solar Panels: USEFUL TIPS
- When choosing an installer it is advisable to compare quotes from at least three different providers.
Many comparison sites are available for use including:
- Compare My Solar UK
- Green Energy Nationwide
- Enviko Renewable Energy Solutions
- Solar Panels UK
- Check each provider is able to install panels in your area.
- Ensure your chosen installer is REAL(Renewable Energy Assurance Limited) certified.
- Your chosen installer should be prepared to assess the suitability of solar panels for your property before installation.
- Check providers have included key items within their quote; scaffolding, electrical connection work, internal wiring work, sorting a connection agreement with the energy supplier and a generation meter.
- It is important to check your area regulations to ensure you are permitted to have solar panels installed onto your property.
- Research fully the solar feed-in-tariff scheme to make sure you understand exactly how you can benefit – There is a large supply of online consumer advice online when it comes to switching to solar power, following the tips and guidance sites provided can help you to receive the best quality solar services and products.