The benefits of solar electricity
There are a number of benefits that come with installing a solar PV system, not least of which is being able to earn £560 a year through your bill savings and the Feed-In Tariff.
- Reduce your electricity bills: A typical home PV system can produce around 50 percent of the electricity used by an average household in a year. Because this is free to you, you can save around £140 a year on your bills, more as energy prices rise.
- Cut your carbon footprint: Solar electricity is green, renewable energy and doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) or other pollutants. A typical home PV system could save around 1 tonne of CO2 per year – that’s around 25 tonnes over its lifetime.
- Money for the electricity you generate: Under the FIT scheme you can be paid a Generation Tariff of 14.90p/kWh, which adds up to a payment of around £370 a year for the average household.
- Sell electricity back to the Grid: If your system is producing more electricity than you need, or when you can’t use it, you can sell it back to the Grid and make 4.64p/kWh, paying the average home £50 a year. Find out more about the Feed-in-Tariff here.
- A safe investment: The Government have guaranteed the Feed-In Tariff for 20 years and your tariff rate is fixed when you sign up. It is also index linked so that it retains its value
What to do next?
- What does the inverter do in a solar PV system?
- The PV panels generate direct current (DC), which is a different type of electricity to the 240V alternating current (AC) that is used in your property. The inverter converts the DC power to AC power so that it can be used in your house.
- Do I need a three phase electricity supply to install solar PV?
- Systems with up to about 10kW peak power don't need more than a single phase electricity supply, however it is very unlikely that your system will exceed 4 kW peak power. Your installer will advise you exactly what is required.
- What is the difference between monocrystalline and polycrystalline PV panels?
- Firstly, they look different - polycrystalline wafer has a dark blue colour, whereas monocrystalline wafer is black. Monocrystalline panels tend to be slightly more expensive and efficient than polycrystalline panels,
- Are solar PV systems a lot cheaper now?
- The cost of the PV cells and associated equipment is driven by international supply and demand. Prices of these components have fallen substantially over the past few years as larger manufacturing facilities have been set up in response to strong demand particularly in Germany and Japan. Installation prices have in turn fallen as a result of the reduction in system prices and as the industry has grown. This drop in prices is set to continue.
- Is efficiency important when choosing solar panels?
- Often not, the efficiency of any given panel relates to how effectively it can convert the sun's light. Given that the sun's light is free a panel can simply be made larger to offset a lower efficiency. Only when suitable roof area is at a premium does it make sense to choose high efficiency panels, this will maximise the amount of power that can be generated from the limited space.
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