Solar Panels Can Save You Money
Solar panels offer a great way to do your bit for the environment and beyond just saying that you feel we should all be more energy efficient, actually show that you are doing your part to not just reduce your reliance on the electricity provided by the grid, but to give back to it. This is a fantastic endeavour, and one of the huge perks of being so mindful of mother Earth is that there is a very real financial benefit to you, in making savings on your energy bill, being paid for the energy that you contribute and potential freebies to make your home more energy efficient. Here we’ll explain a little about solar panels, what you need to set them up and the benefits.
Photovoltaic Solar Panels or Solar PV
Photovoltaic solar panels, which are also known as solar PV or PV panels, absorb the naturally occurring energy that is produced by our very own sun. That energy is then converted into electricity which you can use to power any number of household appliances including your lighting, your TV and anything else that uses mains electricity. Please be aware that photovoltaic solar panels shouldn’t be confused with solar thermal panels which are designed to heat water which we also provide. Generally speaking solar panels require little to no maintenance, particularly if they’re installed correctly as they would be by a solar panel fitter member of the Lektron team, with parts rarely needing replacing. At Lektron we are happy to provide maintenance and testing services throughout the years to make sure that your solar panels run efficiently.
Get the Most out of Solar Panels
Whilst not essential to get the most out of your solar PV panels, you ideally want them to be installed on a south facing roof, however solar panels that are installed on a south-west or west facing roof will still work well. If your roof permits it you want your panels set at a 45° angle to maximise their performance. You need to consider how shade from nearby buildings and trees may impact your panels, and while some shade won’t affect their performance, the best approach is to have your solar panels installed where they’ll be shade free between 10am and 4pm. You most likely have come across the now prevalent Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating that appears on a whole host of white goods as well as on a variety of buildings. The EPC rates a buildings energy efficiency with an A rating being highly efficient and a G rating being inefficient. An EPC rating is valid for a total of 10 years, and this rating is important if you want to really benefit from the government’s feed-in tariff (FIT). If your building scores lower that a grade D EPC rating you’ll receive less than half of the FIT than those with a grade D rating and above receive.
One of the best ways to get maximum use out of your panels is to use appliances that are electricity intensive at optimum times of the day and year. More complex solar panel systems can include the use of batteries to store energy, but at some point there won’t be enough daylight to solely run your household with solar energy, and you’ll need to use electricity from the main grid. If you plan well you can minimise your reliance on the grid by using electricity intensive appliances during daylight hours, when your PV panels can fulfil the majority, if not all of their electricity needs.
Your House, its Value and Location
One of the big concerns that people have is how the installation of solar panels will affect the value of their house, and as PV panels are a money saving device, we can completely understand these concerns. Keep in mind that a small number of people can be put off by the aesthetic of PV panels, but they are usually far outweighed by those who see the beneficial energy efficiency of your property to be representative of a sound investment. PV panels require an initial investment before you start to see returns on your initial outlay, and whilst we would recommend installing solar panels in a property that you are planning on staying in for the foreseeable future, if you do decide to move the panels should offer an incentive to prospective future buyers of your property.
One of the great benefits of living in the south of England is that whilst house prices are notoriously higher compared to their northern counterparts, your solar panels should perform more efficiently, due to the slightly higher level of daylight. The Energy Saving Trust estimate that PV panels installed in London should provide savings that are far higher when compared to those found in Aberystwyth, Manchester and Edinburgh.
For a standard solar panel installation you shouldn’t require planning permission but there are some exceptions. If your property is listed, is in a conservation area or has a flat roof you may need to speak to your local authority to seek approval before installation as different rules can apply to these buildings.
After your solar panel installation it’s worth considering a change in your energy provider to make sure that the tariff you’re on is still beneficial to you, after all you’ll ideally be giving energy back to the grid and you want to benefit from the FIT. Keep in mind that you’ll need to contact your provider to see if this is possible, and at the application stage you likely won’t be able to change your energy supplier.
Will My Electricity Meter Runs Backwards?
Having your electricity meter run backwards might sound like a great thing, and in an ideal world this would be great, but it’s not something that should happen. In the fortunate event that your household energy usage and solar PV electricity production are efficient enough to use less electricity than is absorbed, the runoff energy should be fed back into the grid, for which you should receive a subsidy. However your electricity meter should not run backwards, but some older analogue meters which don’t have a backstop built in to them can start to go the wrong way. If this occurs you should contact your energy supplier who should be able to exchange your meter for a more suitable model.
We all want something for nothing, and with the incentives that come with solar panels you’re in luck. More often than not energy providers are ready to give you some freebies to help with your energy efficient home, and these can include new boilers, better insulation and other energy saving items, which the energy providers make available to show that they are encouraging energy efficiency. Of course aside from the savings that could be had from not paying for a new boiler, you should see further savings on your energy bill as your house becomes even more efficient.
Lektron have extensive knowledge of solar panels and a wealth of experience in installing them. If you have any queries about solar panels or any of the other electrical contractor services that we provide, please get in touch with us. You can contact us by completing our online enquiry form or by calling us on 01372 824214.