Energy bills. Will they ever stop? Every month we receive that dreaded gas and electricity bill that picks away at our hard earned money. To an extent, we can control these bills by switching our energy tariff, but in the end, the power still remains with the energy supplier. What about, however, if we could put a stop to these bills, or at least drastically reduce them? Well, you can. Solar panel technology has not only become completely commonplace in everyday life, further solidifying itself as the most popular alternative electricity source, but prices have drastically fallen as the quality of product has risen. No longer does the price represent more buying an entire company. Read this article with all the information you’ll need to know about solar panels and you’ll soon be convinced that they are the right move for you.
How much do they cost?
This question is completely relative. It all depends on how much electricity you use in your household. Of course, you don’t have to replace your energy supplier completely, you can merely reduce the amount that you need from them, but if you are wanting to go completely solar, here’s what you need to know.
|Roof space||System size||Cost||Annual output|
|8 m2||1 kW||£2,500 – 3,000||850 kWh|
|14 m2||2 kW||£3,000 – 5,000||1,700 kWh|
|21 m2||3 kW||£5,000 – 6,000||2,550 kWh|
|28 m2||4 kW||£6,000 – 8,000||3,400 kWh|
In order to cover your entire usage, you’d most likely have to aim towards the 4 kW system. The average family house uses between 3,100 kWh – 3,400 kWh per year, so in order to cover this, you’re going to want to have the more expensive setup. This will work out for you better in the long run due to your higher return on investment.
If you do decide to go full-solar, you’re going to have to invest in a storage system too. This is to store electricity during times of low light and high surges in usage. If, for example, you have a 3 kW system in full output, but you have a number of appliances in operation that amounts to over 3 kW, your electrical circuit will cut out, leaving your house with no power. You can of course switch it straight back on, but it basically means that you have used more electricity than you have available to you.
Solar power storage systems cost approximately £5,000 for a 14 kWh battery.
What happens if I generate too much?
Apart from storing your electricity for later use, if you generate too much, you can sell it back to the energy companies via the Government’s ‘Feed-In’ tariff . The Feed In Tariff has been implemented in a number of countries worldwide. It was initially set up to encourage the widespread installation of renewable energy technologies in the home. It encourages homeowners to generate large amounts of electricity, therefore helping with the renewable demand whilst earning money back in the process. Various unit rates are available depending on your kW output, but you should check specifically how much you will be earning back with OFGEM.
Types of solar panels
You’ve probably seen a number of different solar panel installations around your local area and just assumed that they are the same. Although this may be the case, it is likely that they are very different models. There are three key types of solar panels with slightly different appearances and very different qualities and features. They are as follows:
- Monocrystalline silicon – These are the most efficient of all solar panels, with some reaching a sunlight conversion efficiency of 20%, which is extremely high. They are generally much more long lasting and in general will have a much higher output than other solar panel types.
- Polycrystalline silicon – These are slightly less expensive but are not quite as efficient. These have an average efficiency of around 15%, which is still very impressive in comparison to older models.
- Amorphous/thin film – These are much less efficient than the other two types, most reaching a mere 7% efficiency. That said, they are probably the most aesthetically acceptable panels and work in very low light, some even moonlight.