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Solar panels – are they worth it?

Solar energy is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to energy produced by fossil fuels or nuclear power. It produces far fewer carbon emissions in its lifetime and solar panels require minimal maintenance.

On top of this, solar energy can be produced easily on both a large and small scale, making it viable for a wide range of customers. So, with more and more people opting for solar energy – should you too?

Benefits of solar energy

Solar panels are one of the cleanest ways to produce energy. While panels still do not have an eco-friendly manufacturing process, the production of solar energy can be entirely carbon neutral.

The energy we receive from the national grid is largely energy produced through the burning of fossil fuels, which releases masses of carbon emissions into the atmosphere and harms our planet.

Another major difference between solar energy and fossil fuels or nuclear power is that solar energy is produced from a renewable source – the sun. Fossil fuels are limited, and we are fast running out, driving the prices of oil and coal higher.

However, nuclear power is cleaner than fossil fuels can be extremely volatile and unsafe. Solar energy, on the other hand, is a virtually limitless source and is there for the taking.

Other renewable energy sources include wind and waves. Both are never-ending and natural energy sources like sunlight, however neither are as suitable for private properties.

Wind turbines can be used to power homes, although the costs are substantially higher and wind is unreliable. Daylight hours in most places are far more consistent, with natural peak hours of sunlight aligning well with peak energy consumption (around 1-4 pm .)

Being able to use solar power instead of drawing from the national grid during these peak hours will save money on your energy bills, as this is when energy rates tend to be higher

Consider your space

While there are many benefits to solar energy, there are certain restrictions with the current technology in solar panels. The majority of residential solar panels typically have an efficiency of 15 to 18%.

With current models being relatively inefficient, they must be placed in a very suitable location in order to be worthwhile. An un-shaded, south facing roof is an ideal spot for home solar panels.

If you’re wondering whether your home is suitable for solar panels, check out evergreen energy for some practical points to consider before buying.

Costs and Export payments

For most people, the major downside to solar panels is the initial cost. Panels and installation costs will vary between companies but the average cost of solar panels  for a standard uk home is between £4000 and £6000.

In the past many companies have offered free or reduced solar panels to customers, however this no longer happens since the Feed in Tariff was closed to new applicants in March of this year.

The new system, the Smart Export Guarantee, is due to take effect from January 1st 2020 but does not pay for both the production and exportation of solar energy. This means it is no longer profitable for businesses to offer free solar panels.

Homes with solar panels can still benefit from export payments, as larger energy companies must offer customers compensation for all solar and wind energy fed back into the national grid. The price of this will also vary amongst companies, so shop around for the best deals.

So solar energy is eco-friendly, renewable and safe. It is suitable for use on small private properties and large solar farms alike, and can cut costs on your energy bills.

However, solar power technology is not yet advanced enough to be worth investing in if your only goal is saving money, the costs and installation fees could take years to earn back in savings.

So it may cost you money in the short term, but for convenient, reliable and renewable energy, solar power is undoubtedly the way to go. Keep an eye on our blog to stay updated on the latest technologies.

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Solar panels – are they worth it?
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