The pressure to move to renewable energy has never been higher. With the energy crisis leaving us worried about future rising costs of electricity, there’s a greater incentive to find alternative, cheaper ways to power your home or business. Solar PV panels produce carbon- free electricity for you to use. More and more property owners are making the change over to solar panels to benefit from all the perks that having their own private renewable energy source brings.
But where’s the catch? As with anything, there are some drawbacks to having solar PV panels. The real question is whether the pros outweigh the cons. This blog goes into the advantages and disadvantages of having Solar PV panels fitted.
What is Solar PV?
Before we get into the pros and cons, it’s worth explaining what Solar PV is and how it works. Photovoltaics (PV) is the process where energy from the sun is used to create an electrical charge which, in turn, generates an electricity current. This current can then be used to power the appliances at your home. A solar panel contains multiple solar cells and these work very similarly to cells in a battery. Each one produces its own electrical current as photons (particles of light) strike the surface of the cells, causing a transfer of electrons from layer to layer. This transfer of energy is what creates a charge.
A solar PV system makes use of multiple panels. They can be fitted on the roof to make as much use of the daylight as possible, but they can also be ground-mounted if there is limited space. Solar PV depends on daylight and exposure to direct sunlight so during overcast days and the nighttime, they aren’t producing as much (if any) electricity. Solar batteries get around that drawback by storing electricity that isn’t consumed during the day, ready for use when the sun goes down.
The Pros of Solar PV
Unlike fossil fuels, solar energy releases no greenhouse gas pollution or any pollution whatsoever. It’s a renewable resource that doesn’t impact the environment while producing electricity. Solar PV is carbon-free and environmentally friendly as a result.
Save money on energy bills
Reducing your dependency on the national grid comes with huge savings. Depending on your energy consumption and your solar PV system, you can change your utility bill from being the biggest expense every month to the lowest. In combination with a solar battery storage system, you could potentially find yourself not paying your energy provider anything at all. Your private energy supply is yours to use, store or sell back to the grid.
Make money back
Energy that you don’t use can be sold back to your energy supplier where you can make money based on their Solar Export Tariff. Under the Smart Export Guarantee, energy providers must offer a tariff for low-carbon energy that’s exported back to the grid. What you make back, however, depends on the tariff. Some energy providers offer a better deal than others so it’s worth shopping around.
Reduced dependence on the grid
While it’s not an inconvenience that happens often, having your own power supply means you won’t have to worry about power outages. You’ll still have electricity whether or not there are maintenance works on the power lines.
Makes your property more attractive to buyers
As solar panels reduce the cost of energy consumption, they therefore improve the property’s EPC rating (Energy Performance Certificate). A higher rating makes the property a lot more lucrative, as potential buyers will see the same benefits you would see.
The Cons of Solar PV
The initial expense of having solar PV panels installed is what puts most people off. While the cost of having a solar PV power system has reduced significantly in recent years, it is still expensive. With energy savings on your utility bill and the money you make back on the Solar Export Tariff, you will see an immediate return on investment, but it could take anywhere from five to fifteen years to pay back the full investment depending on your situation. This however could all change if energy prices rise again.
Don’t produce electricity at night
Your solar panels need daylight to work. When the sun’s down, your electricity consumption is going to need a different source. That doesn’t have to come from the grid however as you can store solar energy using solar batteries. Adding solar batteries to your system will further improve your saving on your energy consumption, but their initial cost is expensive.
You’ll be on the look-out for sunny days, not just because of the weather. Clear sunny days are going to be the ones that have the best energy production. That’s a bit of a problem when the British weather infamously lacks those days. While solar panels will still produce electricity when there’s cloud cover, it’s significantly less compared to direct sunlight.
Needs an electrician to install
On top of the cost of the solar panels, you’ll also need to hire someone to install them. Only a qualified electrician can install a solar panel system. The work is fiddly as well as dangerous if not carried out by a professional who takes the necessary safety precautions.
Not all roof-types are suitable
A solar panel’s efficiency relies on its position and how much sunlight is available. Your property’s roof might not have the right space suited for the job. Your solar panel system is also limited to the amount of space you have. While you can opt to have ground-mounted panels in your garden to scale up your input, they do take up a lot of space and aren’t the most attractive feature in a garden.
Is Solar PV worth it?
That’s the big question. When it comes down to the savings you’ll make on your energy bill, it completely depends on how much of your energy consumption solar panels can cover. You can get a general idea of how your energy expenses will look. If you’ve got your average energy consumption at hand, you can find out how much you can save with solar energy using the calculator on the Solar Energy Trust website here.
The fact remains that Solar Panels do reduce your carbon footprint. For the more environmentally conscious people, solar power is the best way to power your home and go about a smarter, greener way of living. If you have an electric car, using solar PV as your car’s power source further lowers the impact you make on the environment. For a carbon-free way of living, then solar power is worth it.
Get the facts straight from the source
At Dynamic Solar, we don’t hide from the facts about Solar PV. Our team is on hand to answer any questions and address any concerns you have. You can drop us a line here or get in touch with us on 01202 985325.