Save money with solar panels for your home
A photovoltaic system, otherwise known as a solar PV system or solar panels, delivers green, renewable energy for your home that can greatly reduce your carbon footprint, and save you money. Probably the best-known method of renewable energy for the home, solar panels give you direct control over your power supply.
Solar panels don’t need constant sunlight to work – even on a cloudy day, they will still generate some electricity. While they do produce more electricity in stronger sunshine, a solar PV system will continue to provide your home with power all year round, whatever the weather.
Panels can be mounted on a roof or on the ground – wherever they will receive the most light. The PV cells that make up solar panels are made from semi-conducting materials that create an electric field in sunlight. This electricity can then be used, stored, or sold back to the grid.
What are the benefits of solar panels?
Solar energy is a completely natural, renewable source, and panels need no electricity themselves to operate. This means solar panels create green energy that will eventually pay for themselves through the savings you can make on your energy bills. Solar panels require very little maintenance beyond keeping them clean.
Using solar energy can also earn additional money – you can sell any extra energy generated that you can’t use or store back to the grid and your energy supplier through the Feed In Tariff (FIT), and you can also receive payments through the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).
The RHI sees you receive a quarterly payment from the government for seven years in exchange for reducing your carbon footprint. The FIT, on the other hand, pays you for the electricity you generate. The amount you receive through these schemes can far exceed the amount paid for the installation and maintenance.
Things to consider before installing a solar PV system
For many, one of the biggest drawbacks of solar panels is the way they look – which may not quite match the style of their home. If you don’t want them on your roof, ground units can be installed – and there are options for solar tiles, which may better suit some homes.
While you might not always need planning permission to install solar panels, there may be limits and conditions that apply where you live, which should also be considered.
Will you want to store your surplus solar energy for later use? If so, you’ll need a solar PV battery – find out more about solar PV batteries.
And finally, you need to consider whether your PV system will receive enough light – if your panels will be overshadowed by trees and other buildings, for example.