July 24, 2024
How much money could installing solar panels save you?


Most people need to save money at the moment, and anything that makes it easier to do that at the same time as helping to save the planet has got to be a winner.

And that’s why solar panels are becoming an increasingly popular choice for homeowners — installing the panels provides you with free, renewable, low-carbon electricity, and you can also sell any surplus energy to the grid, or store it for later use.

(Alamy/PA)

Lower energy bills

A new survey by solar energy experts Solar Together found 35% of respondents who don’t have solar panels say it’s likely they’ll switch to solar energy in the next five years, while a third of people who already have the panels got them mainly to cut their carbon emissions, and another third (31%) who already have solar power had it installed mainly due to the rising cost of living and surging energy bills.

Of those who’ve already made the shift, almost half (47%) say their energy costs have plummeted since they had solar panels installed, and a further 37% have noticed a moderate decrease in their energy bills.

Solar panels not only cut down your energy bills but add value to your property too

George Frost, manager at iChoosr, which delivers Solar Together group-buying solar energy schemes, says: “It’s becoming increasingly affordable for homeowners to invest in solar panels and, as a result, we have seen more and more people making the decision to invest in solar energy…solar panels are a great long-term investment — they not only cut down your energy bills but add value to your property too.”

So could you have solar panels installed on your home — and how much money would you save on energy bills?

Where can solar panels be installed?

Solar panels can be installed on sloping or flat roofs, or even on sheds and garages or in gardens.

It says an unshaded, south-facing roof is best for maximum performance. But panels can still be installed on east or west-facing roofs, although solar panels on north-facing roofs aren’t recommended.

“Installation is simple and there’s little maintenance.” says Joanna O’Loan, knowledge manager at the Energy Saving Trust. “Most home solar systems can be installed within two to three days and the panels themselves should last at least 25 years without needing maintenance.”

Some of the associated electronic equipment, such as a PV diverter switch, which powers your immersion heater to store hot water to use later, will probably have to be replaced earlier, she points out.

Does it need to be sunny for them to work?

Solar panels don’t need direct sunlight to work, and can generate electricity, even on cloudy days.

What about the cost?

Each house and solar panel system is different, but O’Loan says: “The costs and savings vary based on your location, system size, and daily electricity usage.”

In addition, the EST points out that most homes installing a solar panel system will be advised to also install a battery to store any excess electricity the panels generate to use when it’s needed. This means householders can take advantage of time of use tariffs to benefit from cheaper energy prices.

(Alamy/PA)

How long might it take to recoup the cost of solar panel installation?

The time it takes to recoup the initial cost of installing solar panels is often referred to as the payback period, explains Keith Newey, managing director of  Powerland, which provides solar energy products. “The payback period typically ranges from six to 10 years,” he explains. “This period depends on several factors, including the amount of sunlight your location receives, the efficiency of the panels, and your household’s energy consumption.”

He says the payback period can be reduced by money earned by exporting surplus energy back to the grid.

 Why are they good for the environment?

Electricity generated by solar panels cuts the amount of fossil fuels we need to burn, says O’Loan, cutting carbon dioxide emissions by up to one tonne per year for a typical home solar panel system. “Solar panels generate clean, green electricity throughout the day, every day,” she adds.



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