Sun is the greatest source of clean and inexhaustible energy. According to the Ministry of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, the total solar power installation in the United Kingdom was around 13.5 GW in March 2021.
Solar power is booming, and the installation of solar panels is growing at an increasing rate. A few factors drive the growth behind the popularity of solar energy.
First, the costs of solar power systems are sharply falling, making them quite affordable for consumers. Second, governments across the globe strongly support solar energy owing to its environmentally friendly nature. Solar power doesn’t emit heat-trapping gases or results in local air pollution.
Third, integrating wind and solar power into an electric power grid is easier than imagined. This allows for reduced electricity demand and storage for excess electricity.
How Can You Leverage Solar Energy
You can, too, leverage the benefits of solar energy by installing solar panels. Solar photovoltaic cells convert direct sunlight into electricity through the photovoltaic effect. In this process, the solar photovoltaic solar panels absorb light particles from the sun and liberate electrons, thereby generating an electric current.
You can also use a solar thermal collector to generate electricity. Solar thermal collectors use mirrors or panels to absorb the sunlight and convert it into a fluid. This fluid is later conducted through pipes for use in buildings, installations, and electricity production.
Benefits Of Solar Energy
Solar energy is inexhaustible and renewable energy that can be harnessed through solar panels and mirrors. Hence, more and more households, commercial spaces, and farms are switching to solar technology to produce electricity.
Below is a list of a few benefits you can reap via utilizing solar electricity.
Renewable Energy Source
Solar energy is a renewable energy source, unlike conventional energy sources such as coal, petroleum, and other fossil fuels. Installing solar panels becomes a somewhat practical and cheaper solution against climate change.
Furthermore, solar photovoltaic panels have a minimal carbon footprint, and their primary materials can be recycled numerous times.
Efficient Use Of Underutilised Space
Solar panels make use of space that otherwise might have gone underutilized. Solar energy conveniently uses underutilized land through photovoltaic solar panels in the area.
Solar farms are also known as photovoltaic power stations. They are a collection of vast, decentralized solar PV panels that supplies energy to the electricity grid. Solar farms provide power to households and spaces without the necessity of installing a rooftop solar power system.
Eliminates Your Electricity Bills
Solar panel projects save money as they result in decent electricity bills cut. Generating your very energy source allows you to enjoy an energy-independent status.
Furthermore, it’s cheap and efficient in the long run. And if you invest in solar batteries, you won’t need to subscribe to any electricity at all. Battery storage acts as energy storage and bank for your needs during nighttime and rainy days.
Off The Grid Electricity
Electricity is supplied from big power plants through extensive networks to the consumers. However, a proportion of energy is lost while traveling through the power lines due to resistance. Hence, long-distance electric transmissions result in power losses, which you pay from your pockets.
Solar power generation eliminates this traditional electricity transmission limitation and results in financial benefits. You can also earn money in the United Kingdom through Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) for generating renewable solar energy and supplying it to the grid.
Solar Power Creates Jobs
Solar energy is “native” energy because it is available everywhere on the planet, thereby reducing energy imports and creating local employment.
This green energy source does not emit greenhouse gases in energy generation processes, making it clean energy. For these reasons, electricity generation through solar energy contributes to sustainable development.
Self Cleaning And Low Maintenance
Solar panels boast very little maintenance and longer efficiency. They are usually fixed at an angle that keeps dust and dirt away. Furthermore, it’s usually washed off by rain in case of any accumulation.
Additionally, solar panels prevent the loss of energy which is inevitable if transmitted from a power plant. They are self-cleaning and highly efficient energy tools.
Factors You Need To Consider Before Installing Solar Panels
According to NASA, the sun is only about halfway through its life and still has another 5 million years to go. Solar technology has evolved substantially to compete against conventional sources of electricity generation.
However, It’s still not a completely energy-efficient source to meet your energy needs. It would be best to consider a few factors before switching to solar power projects.
Energy generated by the solar system is highly dependent on the local climate. It is the sunlight that gets converted into electrical energy through photovoltaic panels. Therefore, your solar system must be fixed in a location that gets ample sun.
Solar panels’ efficiency drops significantly during grey days. Hence, if you live in an arid or cold climate, you must consult with your local installers before diving straight into solar technology.
The solar power system comes in an array of sizes, each customized to serve a wide range of purposes. Not all solar panels work in a similar. Some are designed to reduce your energy bills considerably, while others completely eliminate them.
Therefore, before investing in a solar project, you need to figure out your energy consumption. Your energy consumption can be calculated through your monthly electricity bills or through a solar PV calculator. You can also contact your local solar installing services for consultation on this matter.
Before purchasing solar panels, make sure you get professional inspection done of your roof. Solar panels can add a considerable weight on your roof. Get a professional to ensure that there aren’t any security concerns.
Even though solar panels are labelled as ‘permitted development,’ all ‘domestic properties must acquire ‘planning permission’ for solar panel installation projects. Therefore, you need to contact your local authorities to obtain this permission before starting your installation process.
Energy Performance Certificate
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a must if you’re considering to install solar panels. An EPC displays the energy efficiency of a building, with ‘A’ being the most efficient and ‘G’ the least.
You can get this certification via any accredited energy assessing agency. Additionally, your certificate must display a rating of at least ‘D’ to be eligible for a Feed-in-Tariff.
Limitation Of Solar Power System
The grass always looks greener on the other side, which is the case with solar power systems. Solar power generation depends on various factors apart from the equipment involved. Furthermore, their functioning and efficiency are hindered if mindful maintenance isn’t scheduled.
Following is a list of a few factors that you must consider if you plan to install a solar power system.
Dust And Debris Accumulation
Dust and debris accumulate rather quickly on solar panels, which might be a considerable challenge. Solar panels can work effectively and efficiently for 25 years if they don’t gather dust. However, its efficient lifespan can be cut in half if the accumulation of dust and debris is not prevented.
Cleaning Can Be A Challenge
Although the solar panels are fixed and arranged in a manner that allows rain to wash them clean. However, there’s a possibility for the rainwater to get accumulated in the roof along with all the dirt and debris.
Furthermore, no matter what type of installation process you opt for, there’ll be the potential risk of water leakage. Hence, you might cut on the electricity bill but, at the same time, add to your plumbing bills.
Less Solar Energy
The efficient accumulation of solar energy by solar cells highly depends on the weather conditions. Although the panels can collect and store sunlight even on cloudy days, the efficiency drops significantly.
And unless you invest in battery storage, you might want to be wary of your energy usage as you cannot collect sunlight at night or after dusk.
Furthermore, if you want a working water heating system during winters, you might want to invest in thermodynamic panels.
Lesser Benefit On Return On Investment (ROI)
Even though solar panels are pretty affordable, the cost becomes relatively high with the installation.
In addition, the solar energy system can only convert about 20% to 25% of solar energy that hits its surface. This, again, is dependent on the visibility of the sun.
Thus, the return on investment of solar panels is rather long and cannot be expected fruit in a short period.
Solar energy is a must for achieving a low-carbon economy, free of burning fossil fuels and their deteriorating effects on the environment. It will become a major part of a sustainable future in a few decades.
Additionally, the conditions for solar energy development could not be more perfect. The sun bathes the Earth hourly with enough solar radiation to satisfy global energy needs.