Solar Power

Also known as solar photovoltaics (PV), a solar power electrical system captures the sun's energy using photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electricity. Even on cloudy days, these cells still work and generate energy. Power generated by photovoltaic cells or solar panels are used to power lighting, appliances and other components of a property that need electricity to work. PV power is measured in kilowatts peak (kWp), which is the rate that energy is generated at peak performance with direct sunlight.

Solar electricity systems are available in different options. One option is solar panels. Solar panels are constructed using layers of semi-conducting material such as silicon. An electrical field is generated when sunlight shines on the panel's cells. The amount of electricity produced depends on the strength of the sunshine, with the most power produced on clear and sunny days. Panels or modules are mounted directly on the roof or on the ground. An alternative to solar panels is using solar tiles or slates. Solar tiles and slates are used instead of regular roof tiles and slates. They are often installed for aesthetic purposes or because of planning requirements (for example, if you are unable to alter the overall appearance of a property with solar panels). This option typically costs twice as much as a system with solar panels. Cells for tiles, slates or panels are available in a wide range of sizes and shapes.

Benefits of Solar Energy

Installing a solar electricity system such as solar panels in your property is an affordable alternative to more traditional energy sources. Solar power is also a green way of producing electricity using sunlight. Although the upfront costs of installing this type of system are relatively high compared to other energy solutions, the long-term savings are significant thanks to low maintenance and ongoing fuel-related costs. Government incentives also mean you can be paid for generating electricity with solar power. You can find local solar energy specialists throughout the UK including those serving London, Manchester and Sheffield.

Solar energy helps cut property owners' carbon foot print. As a renewable energy source, solar power is a green alternative to other sources of electricity. It does not release any carbon dioxide or other pollutants that cause global warming and other harm to the environment. According to the Energy Saving Trust, an average home with a solar power system can save more than a tonne and a half of carbon dioxide each year. This is more than 30 tonnes over the system's typical lifespan. According to the Energy Saving Trust, a 4 kWp system can generate about 3,800 kilowatt hours of electricity in the South of England and save almost two tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. A comparable system in Scotland where there are fewer hours of daylight generates about 3,200 kilowatt hours and saves more than a tonne and a half of carbon dioxide annually. In Northern Ireland, a similar system generates about 3,400 kilowatt hours and cuts more than a tonne and a half of carbon each year.

In addition to being environmentally-friendly, solar power also has a wide range of other benefits for property owners. If the system produces more electricity than the property uses or needs, you can sell any surplus energy to the grid through the government's Feed-in Tariff scheme in England, Scotland and Wales. This initiative also pays property owners for the electricity that is generated. You are paid even if you do not use the electricity. In Northern Ireland, you can see savings and other benefits if your system is eligible for Northern Ireland Renewable Obligations Certificates (NIROC). Solar power also helps reduce the cost of powering your home since sunlight is a free resource. Once the installation is installed, electricity costs will be significantly reduced since there are no ongoing costs for fuel consumption. The average 4 kWp solar power system costs between £5,000 and £8,000 and saves an average of £65 each year in electricity costs in England, Scotland and Wales, according to the Energy Saving Trust. A comparable system in Northern Ireland saves about £80 in electricity costs annually.