Renewable energy may be renowned as a very successful industry experiencing year on year growth, but what you may not have heard on the grapevine is how going green can benefit your bank balance. Introducing solar panels to your home can not only preserve the environment and cut emissions, but also in turn make you money. During a rather foreboding financial period, that’s really not something to be sniffed at.
Solar electricity panels work by capturing energy generated by the sun with photovoltaic (PV) cells made from semi-conducting material, such as silicon. These cells are then mounted together in panels to collect energy which is measured in kilowatts peak (kWp) – the result is clean, renewable energy generated by sunlight.
The average set of solar panels is estimated to generate approximately 3000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year, which equates to around three quarters of the average household’s electricity consumption. Replacing fossil fuels with freshly generated clean energy will mean that each typical solar powered household will reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by over a tonne each year. So not only are you making the most of a renewable and incredibly free resource, you’ll see a huge reduction in the cost of your energy bills too.
The good news keeps coming – as of 1st April 2013, the government will award you 21p for every kilowatt hour of energy that you produce from the solar panels. Also, if you generate too much energy or will have some to spare, you can sell it back to the grid for a further profit from your panels. As the predicted lifespan of each system is 25 years, you could be paying as little as the equivalent of £220 a year whilst also still receiving returns for each hour of energy that you generate.
Now with the opportunity to make money from free sunlight without a catch, the only question left is what to splash your additional cash on!
If you’re looking to invest in solar generated energy for your home, it’s important to know what options are available and what choice suits you best. We have put together a round-up of what’s what to help you make an informed choice when going green
These are the most popular form of PV cells used to convert sunlight into energy, and are now commonly seen mounted to the rooftops of homes across the UK. On average, the typical domestic solar panel system will cost around £5,500 to £9,500 to have installed, but costs are continually falling so request quotes from reputable installers to ensure that you receive the best rate. You are able to have these panels built into your roof, but this will be more expensive than having the traditional panels sitting on top of the roof.
Solar tiles and slates
Tiles and slates can be used as an alternative when panels cannot be used due to aesthetic or planning reasons. These systems usually cost around twice as much as the standard panels, and aren’t as cost efficient in the long term. However, you will be saving money on the costs that you would usually spend on roof tiles.
Maintenance for solar PV panels is minimal, but the positioning of your panels could affect the performance or required upkeep of the system. For example, panels mounted on a rooftop at 15° or more will benefit from being cleaned by rainfall, whereas floor mounted panels are more open to collecting debris.