Solar power is becoming an increasingly common way to power your home, with 1 million homes in the United Kingdom now using solar panels for energy. And yet, thanks to the relatively high average initial cost of around £5,500, many are still reluctant to invest in a greener future. Through this blog, we’re going to set out all the reasons why you should be making the switch, dispelling some common myths as well as talking about why they’re a great financial and environmental investment.
The United Kingdom isn’t exactly known as a sunny paradise, which is why many think solar panels aren’t a great choice. Whilst it is true that the UK only sees about 2/3 of the sun that countries on the equator do, it isn’t true that this renders solar panels ineffective. The average British household uses 3731 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy per year – a number made larger by a small % of houses with large energy usage. Compared to the average energy production of a 3.5kW Solar PV system, some 3000kWh annually, you begin to see that for nearly half the homes in the UK an average solar system could almost completely cover their energy needs. But, what if it’s cloudy? Contrary to popular belief, solar PV panels don’t require direct sunlight to operate. Whilst the panels will be working at a lower efficiency, a solar panel extracting energy in a cloudy environment will still produce significant amounts that will help you save.
Another common myth for solar panels is that the energy costs involved in producing them makes their environmental benefits negligible. This simply isn’t true. Solar panels see a carbon payback in less than 2 years and will produce between 5-15 times the energy that it cost to create the panel over its lifespan, depending on the sources of the energy used in production. As we transition to renewable energy society-wide, the carbon efficiency of solar panels will only increase, as renewable energy could be used in the production process.
Long-term financial gain
Solar power is an investment, and with limited options for government grants that investment usually has to come from your pocket. Fortunately, it’s an investment that is guaranteed to return the cost and more across its lifetime. In 2020, the average annual cost for gas and electricity was £1,339, with that figure rising significantly in recent times. With a 25-year guarantee of efficiency standard for solar panels, you could reasonably see a 5x return through the energy saved. What’s more, solar panels require almost no maintenance aside from a periodic clean. With minimal moving parts there’s very little room for a breakdown, resulting in additional savings throughout their lifecycle.
Thanks to the introduction of the Smart Export Guarantee, British solar panel users could see even more money back in their pockets. This legislation allows households to sell their surplus energy back into the grid, earning energy credits that can be redeemed for free energy during the night or the darker winter days. So, not only will you see savings through month-on-month savings, but credits ensure that you will rarely have to pay for energy in the longer term.
A greener future
Climate change is an issue that requires a global response, and solar power provides an opportunity for you to play your part. When compared to coal, solar power contributes 97% less to acid rain, 98% less to marine eutrophication which leaves areas of water uninhabitable, and is 95% less toxic overall for us. Domestic solar power is considered the most wildlife-friendly renewable source of energy. Unlike hydropower and large solar farms, which can disrupt local ecosystems, placing solar panels on built-up areas enables us to optimise the land we use in order to protect our natural environment.
Furthermore, solar power means minimising your carbon footprint. 40% of UK emissions come from households, through heating and general electrical use. Switching to solar means saving an average of 900kg of CO2 every year – a saving that could have a huge impact on our society’s carbon footprint should we all make the switch.
Switching to solar power means taking advantage of an energy source that provides both financial and environmental benefits. It’s a limitless, and relatively untapped, source of energy that could provide a household with all the energy it needs. If we harnessed just one hour of the energy that the Sun provides the Earth, we’d have enough to power the globe for an entire year! At a smaller scale, solar PV panels offer households a chance to save thousands on their bills, in a package that minimises their carbon footprint as part of a long-term investment.
At NCS we’re committed to a greener future, which is why we’ve made it our business to become experts on solar PV installation. We hope that this blog has answered all your questions on solar power. If you’d like to know more, find out more information at: https://ncspm.co.uk/services/solar-pv/ or contact us today to begin the journey to sustainability.