There is a great deal of interest currently in using solar panels for your home, because there are a number of government incentives for home energy generation. Even though there is payback on investment on a varying number of years (depending on the initial outlay and which government grants are available at the time) the initial outlay is quite high, and if is being conside4red as a way of saving electricity there are a number of much cheaper options available which ideally should be fitted first, such as double glazing, cavity wall insulation and increased loft insulation.
Using technology to harness the power and energy of the sun to reduce energy needs in the home involves fitting solar panels, usually to the roof. Though these are complex technology they still can now be found at certain DIY stores.
There are two types of solar power system: solar water heating and photovoltaic (PV) solar panels.
- Solar PV Panels or solar electricity panels use the sun’s energy to produce electricity which can be used by the householder or exported to the national grid system. It is an expensive technology with a high capital outlay (at least £12,000 for most roofs), though initial government grants meant householders were attracted by guarantees to pay for all electricity generated whether it was used by the householder or exported to the grid
- Solar Water heating – although it uses very similar looking panels, uses the energy from the sun to heat up water – with tubes of water circulating through the panels there is heat exchange into the water which then feeds into the domestic hot water system. Solar water heating is much cheaper to install, and though there were no initial incentives, these may well be offered in the future.
Before taking an expensive home improvement decision it is worth taking expert advice and considering further any issues when installing solar power systems.