Solar panels are one of the best and fastest advancing forms of renewable energy on the market, and it’s easy to see why they are so popular. They help to save energy that would have otherwise been taken from the grid, they cut your energy bills, and they can make you an excellent financial return. While the initial costs can be a little high, the payback period is comparably short, so don’t cut them out just yet.
How Does It Work?
It’s important to know how solar energy works, because it is this process that helps us to understand how it saves energy. If we put it into simple terms, solar energy is energy that has been captured from the sun. It is converted into solar power, providing your home with electricity or heating.
The solar power itself is generated by a surface that collects energy, which is usually a solar panel system, as well as a form of converting the captured energy into heat or electricity. There are two main ways in which solar energy can be converted into solar power. These are as follows:
Photovoltaic Conversion (PV). This is also known as direct conversion, and is the most commonly used form of generating solar energy. It involves the use of solar panels, or solar PV, for the generation of electricity.
Solar Thermal Conversion. This is also known as indirect conversion, and is used to generate heat for your home. This form of solar energy is starting to grow in popularity. It tends to involve the use of a thermal collector to generate the heat so that your water or home can be warmed using solar power.
The main way in which solar panels help to save energy is because they remove a household’s dependence on the National Grid. The power that you are using is renewable, and less is often required in comparison to the energy produced by the grid. Plus, you can store excess energy in a solar battery if you don’t want to sell it back to the grid, giving you full independence, even at night.
Solar cells can cost a significant amount of money to purchase and install, and not everyone has the up-front funds that are required. However, there are options for people to have solar energy installed in their homes completely free of charge. The reason that this can be done is that customers are technically renting their roof out to the government. Here’s how the process works:
- You rent your roof out to the suppliers, and they install the solar panels
- You pay nothing, but the installer takes all the Feed-in Tariff (FIT)payments for the next 20 years
While you do not have the option to keep the FIT payments, you will still be able to save a lot of money on your energy bills each year, and you won’t need to worry about nay maintenance either as it is all covered by the installer.
If you cannot cover the initial costs for the installation of a solar panel system, you don’t have to give up on the idea of this energy saving form of electricity generation. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved, as well as an effective one.
The Feed-in Tariff
If you are eligible to receive FIT payments, you will benefit in three ways:
- Generation Tariff
Your energy supplier will pay you a set rate for each kWh of electricity that you produce. Once your system has been registered, the tariff levels will be guaranteed for the amount of time that the tariff lasts. This is usually up to 20 years, and they are also index-linked.
- Export Tariff
This is where your energy supplier will pay you a further rate for each unit that you export back to the electricity grid. This means that you can sell any electricity that you generate, but do not end up using yourself. There are plans for smart meters to be installed to measure export rates, but until this can be implemented, it is estimated to be around 50% of the energy generated that is being sold back. Just another example of how much energy can be saved.
- Energy Bill Savings
You will be able to make a large number of savings on your electricity bills because generating electricity in order to power your home means that you aren’t purchasing as much (if any) energy from your supplier. The amount that you will save will vary on the amount of electricity that you use each day.
- Cuts Energy
Using solar panels means that you reduce the amount of energy that you use from the grid. You can even use solar batteries to keep your home powered at night. This saves energy, and also reduces the amount of pollutants being released every day.
- No Emissions
Solar energy relies purely on capturing light from the sun and converting that energy into electricity or heating for your home. This means you are not producing any greenhouse gases or harmful emissions that are contributing to global warming. It can even reduce your carbon footprint by 80% in one year.
Solar energy is a form of renewable energy. That means until the sun dies the energy it supplies us with will not run out. Fossil fuels are what we use most frequently at the moment, and they are not a renewable energy source. We are already running out, and using them also causes damage to our planet. One less household using them can have a huge impact.
- No Maintenance
When gas boilers break down, and other forms of conventional heating crash, we often get them replaced, or they require invasive repairs. These can contribute to the harmful emissions that we produce every day, which is not good for the environment. The manufacturing process for solar panels is also not entirely ideal as there is a little harmful waste, but the fact they don’t need any maintenance means that they run green as well.
Want to Know More?
Have you found yourself interested in solar panels? If you want to know more then make sure you head to our marketplace where you can find our full range of products, each with the relevant information. Or simply give us a ring using the number at the top of this page and have a chat.