Is your house suitable for installing solar panels?
Before installing solar panels it is important to consider whether your house meets some key criteria. Firstly, it is important to consider whether you have a suitable roof area of between 5-10 square metres for installation of the solar panels. The panels will perform best when placed on a south facing surface at an angle of 30 degrees, which is free from shading, maximising their exposure to the sun. To encourage installation of solar panels planning permission is not normally required for installations on private dwellings, however confirmation should be sought from your Local Planning Authority.
Which type of solar panel to choose?
There are two main types of solar panels which may be considered for a residential dwelling. Solar Heating Panels absorb heat from the sun and use it to heat water for your home. Essentially the solar panel can be used as a replacement for your current boiler during daylight hours, with your boiler only being required at night or at times of low solar radiation.
Alternatively, Photovoltaic Solar Panels use solar radiation from the sun to generate your own supply of electricity.
Cost and potential benefits?
Solar Heating Panel systems can often manage 60% of your homes hot water needs. To install a solar heating system would cost approximately Â£4500.
The average household consumption of power is 3000-4000 kWh per year. To install a 2kW Photovoltaic solar panel system is likely to cost approximately Â£10,000, meaning that is would take potentially 15-20 years to re-coup the initial cost. However, these kind of estimates are based on today's energy costs which are likely to rise significantly in the future. A good quality solar panel system will last for over 30 years so the installation should be viewed as a long term investment. It is also worth considering that the cost of installing solar panels is likely to rise in the future.
Government 'feed-in' tariff scheme
To encourage more people to generate their own renewable energy, the government will pay people 41 pence per kWh, who generate their own energy. Users also get paid for any unused energy which is fed back into the national grid. Is it possible to make money from the Feed-In Tariff scheme but this depends upon the amount of power your home uses, and the size of the solar power installation on your property. As an example, an average home which consumes 4000 kWh per year, and has a 2kW solar installation, will generate savings of approximately £800 per year.