Get paid to save energy by installing solar panels
- Feed-in Tariff scheme: more informationOpens new window
Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are often known as solar panels, and use energy from the sun to create electricity. PV requires only daylight, rather than direct sunlight, to generate electricity.
How solar panels work
When light shines on a solar panel, it creates an electric field across layers of silicon in the cell, causing electricity to flow. The greater the intensity of the light, the greater the flow of electricity is. Power can be used straight away or linked back into the power grid.
Installing solar panels
You can use PV systems for a building with a roof or wall that faces within 90 degrees of south. No other buildings or large trees should overshadow it. If the roof surface is in shadow for parts of the day, less electricity will be produced.
Solar panels are not light. The roof must be strong enough to take their weight, especially if the panels are placed on top of existing tiles.
Solar panels come in a variety of shapes and colours, including:
- grey ‘solar tiles’ that look like roof tiles
- transparent panels that you can use on conservatories or glass to provide shading as well as generate electricity
What solar panels cost
Most domestic systems are between 1.5 and 3 kilowatts (kW) and can produce around half a domestic property’s electricity requirements. For the average house, solar panels usually cost around £12,500 to buy and install, but can vary.
Solar tiles cost more than conventional panels, and panels that are integrated into a roof are more expensive than those that sit on top. If you intend to do major roof repairs, it may be worth considering PV tiles, as they can offset the cost of roof tiles.
How solar panels can save you money
Producing your own energy could be cheaper than buying it from energy companies. In addition, you can also sell any excess energy you generate to energy companies, using Feed-in Tariffs (FITs).
The FITs scheme guarantees a minimum payment for all electricity you generate, as well paying you for any electricity you export to the national grid. The Energy Saving Trust’s website has more information about FITs.
The solar panels most commonly installed by homeowners consist of eight panels, can generate up to 2.5kW and cost between £10,000 and £12,000. The Energy Saving Trust says these panels could generate about £700 a year from a Feed-in Tariff, as well as saving you about £100 a year on energy bills. In addition, you could make about £25 to £30 through selling unused energy back to the national grid.
Read more www.direct.gov.uk on solar panels here