When you think of renewable energy, the chances are that solar panels come to mind first. All over the country people have solar panels on their roofs, generating free electricity from the sun.
But how do solar panels work and what are the benefits of buying them? Find out in our guide.
How do solar panels work?
Solar panels are made up of solar PV cells, which are made from layers of semi-conducting material (usually silicon).
When light shines on the cell, it creates an electric field across the layers and produces electricity.
Solar PV cells generate electricity even on a cloudy day, but the stronger the sunshine the more electricity the cells will produce.
The power of a cell is measured in kilowatts peak (kWp). This is the rate that it generates energy at peak performance in direct sunlight in the summer.
Reasons to go solar
There are plenty of benefits to solar electricity that you should take advantage of. But act now, because incentives for investing in solar are fading fast:
- Earn a TAX FREE income: The government’s Feed-in Tariff scheme (FITs) pays you for the electricity you generate. The current tariff is 4.39p/kWh for 20 years, meaning you could earn up tp £5,000.
- Slash your electricity bills by 50%: You can generate so much of your own electricity that you won’t need to rely on the energy companies. With a solar battery system, you could use even more of the electricity your solar panels produce.
- Sell electricity back to the grid: FITs also pays you for the electricity that you don’t need and export back to the grid.
- Help the environment: You could cut your carbon footprint by a huge 30 tonnes over a solar panel system’s lifetime.
Now is the time to go solar as the government has reviewed its Feed-in Tariff. Every three months the amount you get paid per kilowatt hour will decrease, so you should act fast.
Additionally, the cost of solar panel installation has reached an all-time low, so although the Feed-in Tariff is drawing to a close you can still make significant savings.
Make sure you get at least 4 quotes from MCS-registered installers to ensure that you take advantage of everything that solar panels have to offer.