Solar panels have become the go-to home upgrade for those looking to save money on their energy bills, as well as help the environment. But are solar panels worth it? We find that in the vast majority of customer consultations, solar panels are worth the investment. Solar panels make your home more energy efficient, they reduce household bills and can also lead to you earning money on your energy usage – although there are a couple of things to be aware of if you’re trying to determine whether solar panels would be worth it for you.
First, a south-facing roof makes the installation of solar panels more worth it, simply because the orientation of the panels means they will be operating at maximum efficiency. That’s not to say you can’t have solar panels on roofs that don’t face south, just that they work even better if they do face that way. In fact, experts say the further south you live, the more you can save through solar, because of the enhanced panel operation that comes with more sun.
Assuming your roof isn’t too shady for any other reasons (such as overhanging trees), the benefits of solar panels are there to be had. The biggest one is that you can sell solar power generated by your panels back to suppliers through the Smart Export Guarantee or platforms such as Social Energy. This means you can earn money through your solar panels. Also to be considered when weighing up whether solar panels are worth the investment is the fact that a good system can, like an EV charging point, add value to your home, as more and more buyers see energy efficiency as a desirable quality in their new house.
In simple terms, solar panels work by capturing the UV rays of the sun, allowing them to be converted into electricity for use in your home. Solar panels contain something called photovoltaic (which is where solar PV gets its name) cells, spread between layers of materials, each of which has different properties that cause them to become energised when hit by light from the sun.
The movement of particles within these material layers builds a charge via the so-called ‘photoelectric effect’, creating the current needed to power your home. To do that effectively, the solar PV system needs to be connected to an inverter, which will change the direct current generated on your roof into alternating current, for use inside the home. This vital last bit of the process is what turns the raw power made on your roof into usable electricity for boiling the kettle or watching the TV inside the home.
If you’re also wondering, ‘how do solar panels work on cloudy days?’, the answer is that any visible light is enough to trigger the reaction described above. So, solar panels work in exactly the same way as usual on cloudy days, it’s just that they are able to produce more charge when the sun is shining brightly.
There can be considerable differences between the cost of different solar panels, but as with many household investments, it’s worth remembering that when it comes to quality, efficiency and operation, you get what you pay for with solar panels. Most people find that striking the best combination of solar panel power output and roof coverage is the most cost effective way of investing in solar power.
How much do solar panels cost? A lot depends on the quality of materials used and the power output rating of the panels. Brands who use higher quality or more complex materials in their panels, or who offer higher capacity solar panels, are able to command a higher price per panel. But while they might seem pricey, they’re likely to perform better in the longer term. Cheap solar panels, meanwhile, might seem like a bargain but might not deliver in the ways you expect.
The best way of pricing up solar panels is to work out how many you will need. In most cases, you’ll want at least enough panels to cover average household electricity consumption, which is 3,800 kWh. Buying 10 panels each with a 400 kW capacity will be enough to meet that need, all you need to do is choose between the different manufacturers and find the solar panels that fit your budget.
The best place to install solar power is on the south-facing section of an unshaded roof. This gives the panels the best environment in which to generate electricity. Other orientations (having the panels facing a different direction) of solar panels will still work, and contrary to popular belief you don’t need constant sunshine beating down on them. But for best results, a sunny south-facing roof is the best place to install solar panels.
Why do solar panels work best when facing south? Well, in the UK, south-facing gardens get more hours of direct sunlight than those that face other directions. When sunlight (or daylight) hits the solar panels, it stimulates photons inside them, whose movement leads to the generation of electricity. So, the more light that hits the panels, the more energy they can make.
The best place to install solar panels should also be a location free of shade, for example that are cast by overhanging trees. Large shadows covering your panels will inhibit their ability to produce electricity from light.
Yes, solar power can be stored, as long as you have the necessary equipment to do so. All you need is a solar power storage battery capable of drawing electricity from your PV panel system and saving it for later use. Using a battery like this is the only way that you can store solar power and prevent it leaving the system if it is not used.
For years, there has been a question that crops up every time the topic of solar panel installations is discussed – can solar power be stored? The motivation for the question is obvious. Lots of people were excited by solar panels and their money-saving potential, but knew that if they weren’t there to use the power when it was made, it would go to waste. People wanted ways to store solar power, so that it could be used at night and during storms.
The solar power storage batteries that make this possible don’t just let you store solar power. They also open up a whole new realm of possibilities when it comes to saving and earning money, by providing you with the opportunity to sell and trade excess energy your system produces back to providers, meaning you can earn money on your usage. Can solar power be stored? Yes! And it can also be sold off to increase savings. What’s not to love?
The installation and use of solar power batteries has boomed over recent times, but if you’re one of the customers yet to adopt this exciting technology, you might be wondering: are solar power batteries worth it? The simple answer to this question is yes, solar power batteries are worth the investment, although the benefits can vary depending on your energy usage patterns.
Solar power batteries work by storing excess energy generated when it’s sunny and making it available to use at night and during storms. If you’re out during the day, this means you can still use the solar power your system has generated, rather than letting it go to waste. It is for this reason that 65 percent of people with solar power batteries say they had theirs installed, followed by a fifth who said they wanted to save money.
Another factor in determining whether solar power batteries are worth investing in is the fact that they can be used to enable grid trading over a platform such as Social Energy. This lets you sell and trade excess energy back to the grid, meaning you can save and earn money on your electricity usage – another compelling benefit that might make solar power batteries worth it for you.
For many people thinking about making the switch to solar power, one of the key questions is ‘can solar power run a house?’ It’s understandable: after all, why would you want to invest in something that won’t repay you in the expected way? Well, the good news is that, yes, solar power can run a house – and can even be used for other things like charging electric cars.
Of course, there is some subjectivity in the answer to the old ‘can solar power run a house’ question. Households with very large energy consumption may find that they need to top up their usage with electricity drawn from the mains supply, to cover every last boil of the kettle or spin of the washer dryer, but the vast majority of need will be met by the solar power system itself. Smaller households who consume less energy in general will largely find that their electricity needs are totally met by solar power.
It is worth nothing that solar PV systems – the type where solar panels are used to generate electricity to power the home – cannot be used to run or warm a boiler, so you will need some element of gas supply to meet that need.
Solar panels and home electric vehicle charging points are two of the most popular home improvement measures of the past few years, often being invested in together by energy and cost-conscious homeowners. But the two systems sitting alongside each other begs a key question: can solar power charge an electric car? Well, the answer is yes.
‘Can solar power charge an electric car?’ has been a common question among forward-thinking consumers for some time, not least because of the cost-saving and environmentally friendly implications of linking the two systems together. Charging an electric car with solar power not only saves money by using the sun’s rays to power your EV, it also reduces the car’s carbon footprint and running costs.
To charge an electric car with solar power efficiently, you will need a solar power storage battery, so that electricity generated by your system during the day can be used to charge your car at night. In this scenario, you’re effectively using free electricity to charge your car – much cheaper than drawing from the grid or using a public charger! You can still charge an electric car with solar power without using a battery, but you will have to charge it up during the day, and with some charge times sitting at around seven hours, this could be an issue.
One of the most common questions people ask about solar is a simple one: will solar power work on cloudy days? It’s called ‘solar power’ after all, implying that the sun is an important part of its production, so you can understand why people would want to know this one. So, does solar power work on cloudy days? Or only when it is sunny?
The simple answer is that yes, solar power works on cloudy days. As the photons inside solar panels that are responsible for creating electricity can be stimulated by any visual light, they work in the same way as normal on cloudy or overcast days. Basically, if it’s light enough for you to see the solar panels, it’s light enough for the solar panels to work.
Of course, solar panels work best on really sunny days. Why? Because those little photons that move around to create charge are forced to move more when the light, UV and heat levels go up. Busier photons means more charge being built up. But it doesn’t mean it has to be sunny for them to move at all.
Solar power helps the environment by using natural means to generate clean, green, renewable energy. Unlike old fashioned ways of generating energy, such as through coal-fired power plants, there are no greenhouse emissions generated by the household production of electricity.
In fact, the generation of electricity has now become so efficient that it has officially been classified as the greenest way, in terms of carbon emissions factors, to heat and power your home. This is one of the reasons why countries such as the UK are using less and less gas power and are, in some cases, shutting coal power plants down.
Project Solar UK is proud to be the UK’s number one solar power company, with five-star customer reviews that show why we’re the nation’s favourite. We’ve linked in our Trustpilot page to our website so you can see all of our reviews, with full transparency guaranteed. We’re proud of our pre-sales and aftercare processes and could not be happier to see the hard work of our teams translating into happy customers and glowing reviews.
We also use SunPower Maxeon solar panels in our installations, which are the best on the market. SunPower is renowned as the best solar panel producer in the world, so it makes sense that we should want to partner with them.
When you choose to work with Project Solar UK, you’re getting the UK’s best service, best support, best materials and best workmanship while we’re at your property. It truly is the best of everything!