Residential Solar Panels
The use of residential solar panels has become more popular in the UK in recent years. This is predominantly down to people being more conscious about their 'Carbon Footprint' (the sum of all emissions of greenhouse gases like CO2, created by an individual when going about their daily life). Solar Panels work by capturing the sunlight and turning it into electricity. Therefore, in the long term, solar paneling can save the consumer money as the source of energy (or electricity) for the home after introducing solar panels comes from the sun which, of course, is free. A solar panel contains photovoltaic cells which absorb the sunlight and convert it into electricity. The larger the solar panel is, the more cells they can contain and the more energy they produce. In most cases, solar panels are located on a roof and must face somewhere between East and West through South. Panels cannot be installed if they face North East, North or North West.
The main benefit of residential solar panels is that, in the long term they can reduce, or in some cases eliminate a household electricity bill. The panels are also easy to maintain as they are self contained and are proven to increase a property's value depending on the amount of money saved in utility bills each year. Another plus point is the reduction of a households effect on climate change, as solar panels use a renewable source of energy to the maximum benefit. Solar paneling can cut CO2 by around 1.2 tonnes. Also, in many cases, houses with solar roof tiles can generate more electricity than is needed at certain times of the day, and this can actually be sold back to local electricity companies. Some governments have recently introduced a 'feed-in tariff' scheme. This means that the government offer a fixed price paid per unit for every kilowatt generated and also, an additional guaranteed payment for every kilowatt exported to the grid.
The highest cost involved in getting solar power for the home is the upfront cost, which can range between £8,000 and £30,000 depending on factors such as how many hours of sunlight the area gets per day and how much on average the household uses in electricity. These things determine how much of the paneling is needed. This can be calculated by working out how many appliances are being used, the wattage of each appliance and the frequency of use of each appliance. The more photovoltaic cells needed, the more expensive the paneling will be.