Solar is the most common source of renewable energy, and solar panels are now a common sight on roofs across the UK.
If you haven’t got solar panels, also known as photovoltaics (PV), on your home, then what’s holding you back?
While the financial motivation isn’t as strong as it used to be (more on that below), there are several good reasons why solar panels will continue to appear on roofs across the UK, and why they could be a good option for your home.
1. Be green
As solar panels convert energy from the sun into electricity, they’re 100% green and don't release any carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases.
As this solar energy won’t run out, it’s deemed a renewable energy source. That’s in contrast to using fossil fuels, which will run out, and do plenty of damage to the planet.
Bear in mind too, that as its daylight rather than heat that powers solar panels, they still work in winter and on cloudy days.
2. Power your electric car
Diesel and petrol cars are gradually going to be replaced by electric models - in fact, sales of new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars will be banned in the UK by 2035.
Electric vehicles (EVs) and home solar generation go hand in hand. If you have an electric car, charging it at home is most likely to be your cheapest and most convenient option. But EVs drain a lot of electricity when charging, so you really do want to be able to have your own source of cheap, renewable electricity. Solar panels are often the best answer.
However, solar panels don’t generate electricity overnight, so a third piece of the jigsaw puzzle may be required: a battery, or energy-storage system, which stores the electricity captured during the day, for use at a later date.
3. Be tech-savvy
It feels good to create a connected, smart home, using technology to take control of everything from the contents of your fridge to your home security and energy use.
Solar power can be part of that. You’re making a shrewd decision to capitalise on the best possible technology available, and by doing so generating your own, free electricity – directly from the sun, no less! It simply feels good, and that’s a strong incentive to go for it.
4. Cut your energy bills
Fitting solar panels will save money on your energy bills, as you won’t have to buy as much – if any – energy from the grid. The average domestic solar PV system is 4 kWp (kWp, or kilowatt peak, is the terminology used to describe the peak output of a PV system or panel), which on a home in the south of England can generate around 4,200 kilowatt hours of electricity a year, which is more than enough for most households.
Also, there are financial incentives to help make it work for you financially. The Smart Export Guarantee, or SEG, is a way of getting paid for the excess electricity you generate from solar panels. It doesn’t provide as strong a financial incentive as the old Feed in Tariff (FIT scheme), as SEG only pays for excess electricity exported to the grid, while FIT paid people for all of the electricity that they generated.
That said, the savings from solar PV with the SEG are much greater than they would be otherwise. The Energy Saving Trust has some useful charts showing different cost savings in different scenarios - scroll down towards the bottom of this page to see them.
5. You'll become more self-sufficient
Self-sufficient living doesn’t have to mean living under a tarp in the woods, while preparing for the end of the world.
It’s about increasing your household’s independence and resilience, and in the case of energy self-sufficiency, it means relying less on the National Grid and energy companies.
You’re doing just that by installing solar panels, particularly if you add a battery and EV to the mix. Such self-sufficiency is a big draw for some people to go solar.
The power will be in your hands.
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