What Are Solar Panels & How Can They Help Save Money & Energy?

Solar Panels (also known as solar photovoltaics or solar pv) are energy-efficient systems that can be installed on both domestic and commercial properties. In simple terms, the panels work by capturing the energy transmitted by the sun’s rays to help generate electricity. The photovoltaic cells found on the panels convert the sunlight into electricity, helping you to save money and energy supplied from traditional sources.

What are the benefits of installing Solar PV?

The benefits of Solar PV are both financial and ‘green’. You can save money and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time. By using electricity produced by solar pv you are using ‘green’ or renewable energy, and according to the Energy Savings Trust “a typical home solar PV system could save over a tonne of carbon dioxide per year – that’s more than 30 tonnes over its lifetime.”

The financial benefits of installing Solar PV are the reduced costs of your electricity bills and the opportunities available allowing you to get paid for the electricity you generate. The energy source, sunlight, is free and available to everyone, meaning that your only expense is the initial installation fee. Through the government’s ‘Feed-In Tariffs’ you could get paid for the energy you generate, and you can even sell any surplus energy back to the grid

How do solar panels work?

Solar (PV) panels are made up of photovoltaic cells usually made from silicon. The light produced by the sun shines onto the cells and an electric field is produced as a result. The electric current is then fed through an inverter which converts it into electricity used to power everyday appliances in your property. Naturally, the stronger the sun’s rays are the more electricity produced, but it is important to remember that solar panels can produce electricity even on cloudy days.

How much do solar panels cost?

Solar PV systems vary in cost depending on both the size and type of system to be installed. Consumer magazine, Which!, states “an average PV system between 3.5 and 5 kWp (kilowatt peak) costs about £7,000.”

What are Feed-In Tariffs?

A Feed-In Tariff (FIT) is money paid to you by your energy supplier for generating your own electricity. The cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) is set by the government and the rates vary on the system size and technology installed. As well as generating funds, you can also sell surplus energy back to the grid and receive what the government calls an ‘export tariff’.