Wherever you live in the UK, solar panels are an option. Sunlight isn’t always necessary as you can still generate electricity on dull days; all you need is daylight, not sunlight.
While you don’t need to be in the full glare of the sun in order to generate some electricity, the further south you live the more effective the panels will be. It’s all down to daylight hours not hours of sunshine. Northern homes get slightly less, so where you live needs to be considered.
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that panels in Leeds could earn you and save a combined £295/year on bills, compared with around £325/year in Surrey and £280/year in Glasgow.
There are two types of solar panels; solar thermal and photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. The latter catch the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity, which can be used for electricity around the home including lighting, heating and general electrical items.
Installing PV panels allows you to earn money through generating your own electricity using a feed-in tariff, allowing you to not only save but earn too.
Ideally, in order to maximize what your panels can make, you usually need a south-facing roof. You can still get some benefit if your roof is southwest or west facing but it won’t be as effective. In addition, you need a roof that is unshaded between 10 am and p.m.
In order to get paid for your electricity and register the full feed-in tariff you will need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) grade D or above. An EPC grades a building on its energy efficiency with A being the highest. Your certificate will be valid for 10 years. The amount you get paid for generating electricity depends on your building’s rating. If you have an A rating, you will receive 4.39p/kWh. However, if your property scores a D rating or lower you will only be eligible for a rate of 0.87p/kWh though.
It’s worth making improvements to make your home rated as D or above, because the feed-in rate is guaranteed for 20 years once you have registered so it’s a worthwhile exercise.
The feed-in tariff is supported by a number of energy suppliers, as it’s mandatory for those with over 250,000 customers. Your energy supplier doesn’t need to be the same as the supplier that pays your feed-in tariff, so you are able to change providers whenever you want.
Once you have panels installed, they require little or no maintenance. The only expense comes from the need replace the inverter which is a key part of the mechanism, however you should only need to do this once in 20 years. At a cost of around £800. You could be covered by buildings insurance should they become damaged by adverse weather conditions so make sure you inform your insurance company once you have them installed.
If you would like some more information on solar panels, contact us at Archway.