(Photo courtesy of 'RattyandSquirrel' from the Frugaldom forums.)
The following is a guest post explaining a little more about solar panels, something that several of our forum members already have fitted to their homes.
These days everyone is concerned with the impact their energy consumption has on the world around them. Along with the rising cost of electricity, solar panels are quickly becoming a popular choice for home-owners looking to get their energy from different sources.
Contrary to popular belief, solar panels don’t actually require direct sunlight as the photovoltaic cells inside them react to natural light. This means that even on a cloudy day the panels can generate electricity, at least 40% of their potential energy yield.
Solar panels use photovoltaic (PV) cells the sun’s power and convert it into energy, which can then be used to power the home, workplace or even farms and industrial sites. Any excess electricity is fed back into the national grid, for which the owner of the solar panels is then reimbursed.
The Government introduced the Feed-in Tariff (FiT), which gives home-owners more options when installing their solar panel system. For anyone able to buy their system upfront, they could see large returns on their investment, with an estimated profit of over £15000 over 25 years for some. This is through the FiT scheme as well as the savings on electricity bills – between £70 and £130 a year.
For those less fortunate, they can have their solar panel system installed for free and hand over the rights to the FiT on that system to the installer, who maintains the system throughout its lifetime after installation. Meanwhile the home-owner saves on their electricity bill safe in the knowledge that they are doing their bit for the environment.
In spite of these benefits, many are still put off by visions of the old solar panels, large aluminium framed panels. Solar panels have come a long way in the last few years and new options have become available that are more aesthetically pleasing than the older styles.
Solar PV panels are now produced in an array of roof tiles that can be incorporated with a low visual impact and blend in seamlessly with their surroundings. Home-owners now have more choice over the colour and size of the solar panels, with all black or red roof tile style panels available in all sizes.
Panels can be installed on existing roofs, without the need to perform a full re-roof, as solar panel installers can replace existing tiles with solar ones, blending them into the rest of the roof.
With increasing electricity bills and government incentive schemes like the Feed-in Tariff, there has never been a better time to switch to solar energy. Converting sunlight into green energy reduces your carbon footprint, makes savings on utilities bills and should mean guaranteed payments on electricity for life.
Although we are much less likely to find companies prepared to fit solar panels of any description free of charge to our Scottish homes, it isn't completely impossible. In this economic climate, striking a deal somewhere should be possible. Give it a go, speak to the relevant company and glean all the information you can before seriously considering your options for a future safeguarded from escalating electricity bills.
If any of our members can provide me with a photograph of their solar panels so I can include it in this post, please send me it via the Frugaldom forums. It would be a great help, as many people still haven't seen these up close and installed. I know at least one of you is having them fitted right now. (Hope work is going well.)