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SOLAR

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Solar Panels work absorbing the energy given off by the sun and this is converted to DC (Direct Current). A solar inverter will then convert the DC to AC (Alternating Current), which is used by most home appliances. As there is a constant flow of energy, anything over what the household is using can be fed back into the power grid or stored in Lithium-ion solar batteries to be used later.

Solar panels not only provide a greener source of energy to power your home, but they also provide value to your property if you ever look at selling in future and provides a substantial reduction to your energy bill.

 

With an increasing amount of people wanting to have solar panels installed, due to the rising energy costs or because they want to reduce their carbon footprint another advantage of having solar panels installed is that the value of your property will also increase. With the reduction of the energy costs, it is estimated that you can save between 15-25% on your yearly energy bills with the installation of solar panels.

Solar Batteries Increase the Efficiency of Solar Panels. As the Solar Panels will be working all day to generate electricity you have two options: You could sell this excess back to the grid for between 6 to 9 pence per kWh, which is then sold back to other households for a greater price. The other option being storing this power in a solar battery so that it can be used in your household at night or in the event of a power outage at no extra cost to yourself.

SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC (PV)

SYSTEM DIAGRAM

SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC (PV)

VIDEO EXPLAINER

SOLAR THERMAL SYSTEM DIAGRAM

SOLAR THERMAL VIDEO EXPALINER

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With any domestic PV system, there will be times when the electricity you generate is more than you can use or store, so the surplus will be exported to the grid to be used by somebody else. If you want to be paid for exporting, you need to make sure you’re getting an export payment. If you were able to claim the Feed-in Tariff (this closed to new applications at the end of March 2019), then you will be getting export payments as part of that. If not, you need to find an energy company that will pay you for this surplus.

 

Following the closure of the Feed-in Tariff scheme to new solar PV system applicants in March 2019, the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) was introduced to provide financial support to small-scale renewable energy generators for the electricity they export to the grid. The savings from solar PV with the SEG are considerably higher than without it. In Great Britain, the Smart Export Guarantee pays you for the electricity you generate. In Northern Ireland, you can get paid for any surplus you export – usually estimated based on how much you generate. Several organisations offer this service, so if you’re interested, we recommend researching their offers to find one that works for you.

Solar PV systems need little maintenance. Keep an eye on nearby trees to ensure they don’t begin to overshadow your system. In the UK, panels that are tilted at 15 degrees or more benefit from being cleaned by rainfall, which helps to ensure optimal performance. Debris is more likely to build up if you have ground-mounted panels, or if you live in an area with more dust in the air. In these cases, you might need to have the panels cleaned occasionally. Once fitted, your installer should leave written details of any maintenance checks that you should carry out to ensure everything is working properly. This should include details of the main inverter fault signals and key troubleshooting guidance. Ideally, your installer should demonstrate this to you once the system has been installed

Keeping a close eye on your system and the amount of electricity it’s generating (alongside the weather conditions) will help you understand what to expect and alert you to when something might be wrong.

The panels should last 25 years or more, but the inverter is likely to need replacing sometime during this period, at a cost of around £800 (depending on system size and the manufacturer). Some inverters have online monitoring functions and can warn you by email if the system fails.

 

Most inverters have warranties of five years as a minimum, which can often be extended up to 15 years. Speak to your installer about the likely lifespan and benefit of an extended warranty. You might find that a 15-year warranty costs almost as much as a replacement inverter, so consider it carefully.

Solar Thermal System uses the energy from the sun to heat up the water in your home. This works by the Solar Thermal panels absorbing the energy from the sun to heat the transfer fluid, contained within the panel. This is then pumped to the hot water cylinder, to help in heating up the water for your home.

The difference between a Solar Thermal System and Solar Panels

Both systems use the sun energy to provide something to your home, with Solar Panels using the radiation emitted from the sun to produce electricity, whereas the Solar Thermal System will use the heat given off by the sun to assist in heating your home.

As the energy provided by the sun is free, this in turn means that using the Solar Thermal System to heat water would also be free. On average Solar Thermal Systems cover 40-60% of the total hot water consumption with the most efficient times of the year being the summer and spring. On average the Solar Thermal System can reduce your annual bills for heating water by £345.