Installing solar panels at your home or commercial property, allows you to harness the power of the sun and reduce your energy bill by as much as fifty percent. Not only will you be saving money, but you can make it; with the government’s feed-in tariff scheme, you can earn as much as £5,500 – and all earnings are tax free and index linked.
There are lots of misconceptions about solar panel installation in the U.K.; people may think it’s too cloudy here, or that there’s no funding available. However, from Wiltshire to Inverness, from Scarborough to South-End, across each stretch of this country, installing solar panels can save home owners money.
Why You Should Install Solar Panels
- Reduce Your Electricity Bills. Sunshine doesn’t cost a penny. Once you’ve paid for an installation, you’ll only have to switch to the National Grid at night, meaning your energy bills could reduce by as much as fifty percent. Sit back and watch your electricity outgoings get smaller and smaller.
- Get Paid. Thanks to the government’s feed-in tariff scheme, you can get paid just for installing solar panels.
- Sell Electricity Back to the Grid. Look to generate a passive income? Thanks to the FiT, you can earn a tax-free income of up to £5,500 pounds a year.
- Live a Little Greener. Unlike the electricity coming from the grid, you’ll know yours is coming from a clean energy source. So, you can sleep a little easier at night knowing you’re doing your bit to save the planet.
How Effective is Solar PV?
The average domestic system for solar panels averages at 4kWp, and commercial systems can be much bigger. However, if you think of the energy generated by commercial solar panels alone, it’s truly astonishing.
In the South East England, an average size commercial solar PV system can generate as much as 3,800 kilowatt hours of electricity a year. That’s the same amount of energy needed to turn the London Eye fifty times.
The same system in Scotland will generate just a little less electricity, at 3,200 kilowatts a year. However, that’s still enough energy to keep the Falkirk Wheel turning over 2,100 times.
As you can see, solar photovoltaic panels are effective at producing substantial amounts of energy, wherever you are in the country. All this green energy production means that just one, average sized, commercial solar panel installation eliminates 1.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
Why Solar Works for Businesses
Solar panels are a wise investment for businesses. Most operate over a larger territory than commercial premises, which means their larger installations are more cost effective.
Solar panels can save businesses money in many ways:
- Free Energy. Instead of shelling out, your business will harness the power of light for its energy requirements. After the initial outgoing, all energy is free.
- Reduced Energy Outgoings. Most businesses use the lion’s share of their energy during the daytime. Now solar panels are covering that, the cost of energy outgoings should reduce dramatically – improving your profit margins.
- Cash-in on the Feed-in Tariff. Thanks to the FiT, your business will be making money for at least twenty years, just by installing solar panels. If you include the amount you’ll be paid for putting electricity back into the grid, you’ll be lining your pockets nicely.
- Look Good to Customers. These days, many consumers care about how green their businesses are. If you’re shown to be an environmentally conscious enterprise, you may just attract more custom.
How Does Solar PV Work?
There’s often a bit of confusion between the difference between solar panels and photovoltaics. Photovoltaic comes from the Greek photo, for light, and voltaic, which is the origin of our modern word ‘volt’ and means electricity.
However, there is no real difference between solar panels and solar PV – a.k.a. photovoltaics. Solar panel is the colloquial name, and photovoltaic the technical name. As the origin of the name suggests, what solar panels do is convert light into electricity.
A common misconception is that solar panels need heat to work; but they actually run off light. Much like how a plant can photosynthesise in cloudy weather, so can photo panels produce energy. The fact that the U.K. is cloudy doesn’t impact on the ability for solar panels to function.
Using photovoltaic cells, the panels take the sun’s rays and transform them into energy. As light hits a photovoltaic cell, an electric field is created across the material. The material is a semiconductor – the most popular of which is silicon – and this semiconductor absorbs the photons from the light, and as a result, releases electrons from the atoms. These electrons can be captured, and then harnessed to produce electricity.
Photovoltaic panels produce DC current energy, which is converted into AC current to allow the energy to be used in your home. This electricity is channelled into your home, where it can be used to power your lighting, your television, and any other household appliance.
Thanks to the government’s feed-in tariff scheme, any excess energy you produce in Dorset, Surrey and anywhere else in the U.K. can be sold back to the national grid. It’s converted from AC to DC and sent back into the national grid – meaning that, thanks to the feed-in tariff scheme, solar panels can make you money.