While many people are aware of the use of solar panels as a form of green energy generation, we are frequently asked, ‘are solar panels worth it in the UK?’. In short, solar panels are an excellent investment for companies and homeowners in the UK, and we have put together this comprehensive guide to explain why. In doing so, we will run through some of the many benefits of solar panels for businesses and homes, including a reduced environmental impact, saving on energy bills and self-sufficiency.
Are Solar Panels Worth It In The UK? An Ampergia Guide
As experts in the energy industry who frequently install both commercial and domestic solar panels, we have the knowledge, skills and experience required to advise clients on whether installing solar panels is worth the initial investment. If you would like to speak to a member of our dedicated team, please feel free to give us a call.
- What Are Solar Panels?
- What Are Solar Panels Used For?
- What Are The Benefits Of Solar Panels?
- How Effective Are Solar Panels In The UK?
The use of solar panels or photovoltaics (PV) is a common method of electricity generation across the world. But what are solar panels? Put simply; a solar panel is a large, flat structure made up of a series of solar cells that are constructed from a semi-conducting material such as silicon. These solar cells will generate an electric current using light energy from the sun, a renewable energy source. All the solar cells within a singular solar PV panel can generate approximately 355W of power in average amounts of sunlight. The panels are typically arranged into systems of roughly 15, which work together to supply direct current electricity, which can be converted to alternating current if it is going to be used for household appliances.
Solar panels allow us to harvest the renewable and abundant light energy produced by the sun and convert it into usable electricity that can be used to power an array of different appliances and processes. This environmentally-friendly method of electricity generation is becoming increasingly popular in many countries, including the UK, as the government urges individuals and companies alike to minimise their carbon footprints in an effort to combat the pressing issue of climate change.
Now that we’ve established what solar panels are, you may be wondering, ‘what are solar panels used for?’ While this method of electricity generation is highly versatile, solar panels are typically divided into domestic and commercial purposes.
Domestic solar panels are generally installed on the roofs of homes, where they will have the most significant exposure to the sun’s light. They harvest this power and, as previously mentioned, convert it into direct current electrical energy. This can then be converted into alternating current electricity, which is compatible with domestic electrical appliances and installations.
Commercial solar panels may be installed on the roofs of buildings or structures, where they do not take up extra land and have full access to the sun’s light. However, on a greater scale, they may be installed in large numbers on a ‘solar farm’, arranged into tight rows at an angle which maximises their exposure to the sun.
What are the benefits of solar panels that make them such a popular and fast-growing energy generation solution? There are many advantages of opting to have solar panels installed on your property, be it domestic or commercial. Some of the most significant benefits that our clients experience after installing domestic or business solar panels with our help are as follows:
Reduced Environmental Impact
Installing solar panels on your property is an excellent way to reduce the environmental impact of your household or business premises for a multitude of reasons, including the following:
- Renewable energy source – as previously mentioned, the sun is a renewable energy source, which means that the energy it provides will not run out. As a result, energy generation through solar panels does not drain any of the Earth’s limited resources, such as fossil fuels, making it an ideal option for households and businesses looking to become more sustainable.
- Decreased greenhouse gas emissions – not only are fossil fuels a finite resource, they also produce a large amount of greenhouse gases when they are burned in the process of energy generation. By opting to utilise solar power, you will help to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released, minimising the carbon footprint of your household or business.
- Improved air quality – a huge advantage of solar PV panels is that they, unlike other methods of energy generation, produce no air pollutants once installed. Incredibly, the widespread movement toward solar energy even has the potential to significantly decrease the concentrations of harmful particles in the air, including substances such as carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxides, all of which pose a threat to human health.
- Low water requirements – while other methods of renewable energy production, for example, biomass generators and hydroelectric dams, require water to operate, solar PV panels do not. This means that their water consumption is minimal; it is only required to clean debris off non-self-cleaning panels.
While having solar panels fitted on your property will require an initial investment, you may be surprised to learn that the panels could pay for themselves over the years. As energy prices continue to rise, the payback period for solar panels has dramatically dropped. According to an article published in August 2022, it is predicted that by April next year, the payback time would have dropped from 11.1 years under the current price cap to just 4.1 years.
- Save on energy bills – as featured in an article by Money Saving Expert, an average household with a 4.2 kilowatt-peak system could save up to £729 a year on their energy bills after installing solar panels for homes.
- Get paid for excess energy – the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme means that large energy suppliers offer to buy excess energy that is produced by your solar panels but not used by your household. A typical household could receive upwards of £100 per year for this excess energy.
- Increased property value – by installing solar PV for homes, the value of your property could increase by as much as 4.1%, as published by The Eco Experts. This potentially adds tens of thousands of pounds to your profit, should you sell up in the future.
Solar panels require very little maintenance by design, meaning that once they’re installed, you shouldn’t need to think about maintaining them – regular cleaning is unnecessary since these installations are designed to be self-cleaning. An exception to this will be if your solar panels have become excessively dirty with debris or bird droppings in a way that interferes with their efficiency. In this case, they can be gently cleaned. Ideal Home has put together a guide on how you can clean your solar panels yourself, should it become necessary.
Gain Energy Independence
One significant advantage of installing solar panels on your domestic or commercial property that many do not realise is that you can gain energy independence. Since this method of energy generation is independent of the volatile energy market, it is a great way to become more self-sufficient and secure. Households and business premises will benefit from controlled energy bills and a future-proofed electricity supply, on top of the free energy generated via the panels.
Bespoke Energy Solution
At Ampergia, we supply and install solar PV for business and home use. This service is designed to help our customers become more environmentally friendly, self-sufficient and future-proof. We seek to provide solutions that meet each client’s individual needs and wishes, which is why we offer packages that are tailor-made by our industry experts and consider your energy consumption and usage preferences. When you use Ampergia to install solar panels on your property, these are just a few of the advantages that you can expect to benefit from:
- Easily track your energy usage
- Multi-year warranty including maintenance
- Support from your dedicated energy consultant whenever needed
- Low cost and high quality
- Manage and control your panels from your phone
- Connect your panels with smart home devices
- Combine with an energy storage solution to store excess energy
Many of our clients will ask us, ‘how effective are solar panels in the UK?’. A common misconception is that the UK does not receive enough sunlight for solar panels to work efficiently. This is completely untrue: the amount of solar energy that reaches the UK is comparable to France, Spain and, in some areas, Germany. Why? It all relates back to the output of light energy from the entire disk of the sun, also known as solar irradiance.
Solar irradiance is used to calculate how much electromagnetic radiation is received from the sun per unit area and is typically measured in square metres. There are many factors that impact solar irradiance, such as the angle of the sun, the elevation above sea level and the number of clouds.
As the UK has a northerly latitude (latitude = a place’s distance from the equator), we experience a wider range of seasonal solar irradiance than places along the equator. In fact, according to Green Match, the UK receives almost 60% of all solar radiation found on the equator. As a result, not only will solar panels prove highly efficient on sunny days but also during cloudier periods, offering a worthwhile investment all year round.
The below diagram, also by Green Match, demonstrates how much energy you can expect to generate from your solar panels in the UK per month. To put this into perspective, the average household uses around 242 kWh of electricity each month, based on research by Ofgem.
Reduce Your Environmental Impact With Solar PV Panels
Installing solar panels on your property, be it domestic or commercial, comes with numerous benefits to the environment, as well as the advantages of self-sufficiency and financial returns.
At Ampergia, we pride ourselves on our solar panel installation service. We strive to provide clients with affordable, high-quality solar energy systems and install them efficiently and effectively. You can be sure that your expectations will be met and exceeded, thanks to our dedicated team members who place client satisfaction at the forefront of each project completed. To find out more, please feel free to get in touch with us today.