Daylight is all you need to generate electricity from solar photovoltaic panels and although more electricity is produced on sunny days they will generate electricity on overcast days too. It is also worth remembering that the sun was rising and setting long before electricity was being used to power appliances in our homes, and as a natural resource it is a very clean and reliable energy generator!
Ideally a photovoltaic (PV) system should be placed on a roof that faces south, which is free from shade, although a correctly installed solar PV system can still produce excellent returns when positioned on an east, west or even a north facing roof.
The Benefits of Solar PV
- Cut your carbon footprint: solar electricity is green, renewable energy and does not release any harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) or other pollutants. Partaking in microgeneration means that you are helping our environment by cutting your carbon emissions, thus contributing to tackling the world’s climate change issues.
- Reduce your energy bills: producing your own energy is free whereas buying energy from your supplier costs money. Therefore, the less electricity you buy from your supplier the more you’ll save. You will end up with significantly reduced energy bills and even more so as the price of energy soars. With gas bills set to rise by 19% and electricity by 10%, households in the UK are expected to see the average annual energy bill rocket by £180 (The Scotsman, June 2011). Generating electricity with your own solar PV system means that you are protecting yourself against future price increases.
- Get paid by the Government to generate your own electricity: the Government’s FiT Scheme guarantees a minimum payment for all electricity generated by your solar PV system. CLICK HERE to view the latest feed-in tariff rates. As well as this, an additional payment of 4.91p per kW will be paid for the electricity that you don’t use which is exported to the national grid.
- They have been deemed a “sound financial investment” (www.guardian.co.uk): with the state of the current financial climate many banks are offering just an average of 2% return on investments. With the installation of a solar PV system, any initial investment you put in could earn you up to a 12% annual return for 20 years through the FIT Scheme!
- Add value to your property: as rough guide, if you invest in Solar PV now and stay in your house for 10 years then decide to move, you should by then have recouped your initial investment and then be able to offer the new occupants the remaining income for the next 10 years (housingenergyadvisor.com 2011). Needless to say this is seen as a very attractive proposition to any potential buyer.
- Minimal maintenance: solar panels nowadays have a product warranty of 10 years with an expected efficiency performance of 90% during this time. They are heavy duty products and are designed to last between 25 and 40 years. Once installed they are typically low maintenance with the majority of solar panels being self-cleaning provided they are installed at an angle of at least 15 degrees.