The Cost of Solar Cells
What are Solar Cells and How Much Do They Cost?
Solar cells are essentially the components that make up what we know as solar panels. They are the basic elements that allow the panels to function correctly. Usually, people refer to solar energy solutions in general as solar panel system because that is the complete product.
Solar cells are also known as photovoltaics, which comes from the name of the technology that they utilise. Unfortunately, the efficiency of solar cells is still quite low, averaging around 13-15% and jumping up to a good 20% in the best cases.
A lot of this is to do with the geographical location of the United Kingdom, which is not the best when it comes to harnessing energy that is produced by the sun. While this does negatively affect the efficiency of the cells, it’s still a very worthwhile thing to install and can definitely be beneficial to your home.
Cost of Solar Cells
Obviously, actual sunlight is completely free, but the cost of installing and maintaining solar cell systems is quite high, despite price drops over the past few decades. It is possible that this is due to the cost of crystalline silicone (which is high), a key component in the creation of the majority of solar cells. This would drive up the costs of manufacture.
It is difficult to set a price on solar cells, so much of it is down to personal needs and preferences, not to mention the fact that people tend to buy a whole solar panel system as opposed to a single cell.
The systems will usually range between £4,000 and £5,000KWp (kilowatt-peak), and the average system is more likely to be around the £12,000 mark for installation. However, this can provide around half the energy needs of the average family, cutting your energy bills in half too.
The low efficiency and the high up-front costs are likely to scare quite a few people away, and it could make them feel as though solar panels aren’t actually a good investment after all. However, it is, and this is why the government has implemented several very attractive schemes and incentives to really make people consider it.
In addition to this, scientists across the globe are continually working hard on further developing solar technologies that are not only likely to see the prices continue to fall, but the efficiency continues to rise.
Investing in Solar Cells
While the cost of installation and maintenance for solar cells is quite significant, the technology shows vast signs of continual improvement and benefits for our planet. As a result, it is gaining more popularity and recognition, which then leads to more funding and research.
Something that makes solar cells a little more attractive for people is the concept of the FIT (feed-in-tariff). This is a government incentive that works to make solar energy solutions more attractive to people in terms of the cost.
FIT is fundamentally a scheme that pays you for generating your own energy. At the moment, the solar supplier that installed your panels must be MCS certified if you want to qualify for FIT payments. It’s a good idea to check the scheme regularly for rates and conditions as they are subject to change.
Currently, the scheme is available for 20 years, which tends to result in the majority of people listed making profits on their solar investments. This is because the rates per kWh (kilowatts per hour) generated are more than reasonable.
The government also allow you to sell your excess energy back to the National Grid, which gives you an even better return on your investment rates. This also helps make the technology that much more attractive to potential investors.
Free Solar Panels
Solar cells do cost a significant amount of money up-front, and so people do have the option to install solar energy in their homes free of charge. Installers are able to offer this to customers because, technically speaking, the customers are renting their roofs out. Here’s how it works for a little more clarification:
- You rent your roof out to the suppliers, and they install the solar panels
- You pay nothing, but the installer takes all the FIT payments for the next 20 years
So while you don’t get to keep the FIT payments, you can still save a huge amount of money on your energy bills every year, and you don’t have to think or worry about maintenance either – it’s all covered by the installer.
So for people who can’t cover the initial costs for solar cells, this free option is one that should certainly be considered. After all, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Return on Investment
We’ve already deduced that solar cells cost a significant amount of money, but that they will also generate savings (or even profit) for you in the long run. Thanks to the FIT rates for the generation of energy, and the ability to sell the surplus energy back to the grid, it is possible for most solar energy systems to pay you back in 7-9 years.
This means that after this period, you still have between 11 and 13 years in the FIT, which will give you pure profit. However, it is important to remember that if you want to be eligible for FIT you need to make sure your installer is MCS certified.
Finding The Right Supplier
Once you’ve made your choice to invest in solar cells and go green, you need to find the right supplier for you. Going around and comparing the market will definitely help you to find the right one, and since the solar cells can be quite costly, price comparison will give you a good overview of the various suppliers.
However, the process can not only be boring but also very time-consuming. To save you some time and hassle, you can fill out the form on this page for an easy, no-obligation, quote from our professional installers who are able to offer you expert advice and fantastic prices. All of them are MCS certified, and the service is completely free. So if you are feeling ready for a greener home, fill out the form and chat with an installer today.