What Is A Solar Panel?
Solar panels are pretty common nowadays. They are a collection of solar cells which are designed to collect light coming from the sun and convert it into heat or energy. These cells are also known as photovoltaic cells and to produce electricity they use photons.
How Do Solar Panels Work?
Photovoltaic Effect is the primary procedure responsible for producing energy in solar panels.
Solar cells are mounted so that they get sunlight for most part of the day. The Silicon, Phosphorus, and Boron layers in cells absorb as many photons as they can. Energy produced in these cells is in the form of Direct Current which is converted to Alternating Current through other important equipment of the solar system i.e. inverter.
If you intend to use solar power after the sun has gone down you may need to install batteries to store the current to be used later.
Are Solar Panels Viable in the UK?
Solar panels do not need the sunlight hitting hard to produce electricity. The United Kingdom is known for its grey and cloudy weather but it does have more than enough sunlight to get full efficiency of solar panels.
If we access the monetary benefits, solar panels can save you £100 to £300 a month, depending on the size of your setup and the area you reside in.
Lastly, solar panels are always worth trying because they protect the environment and reduce carbon footprint.
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Panels?
We are using fossil fuels at an alarming rate to produce energy. This source of energy is bound to go scarce soon. There are few other options as all of them have their own problems.
Solar energy is being preferred over other solutions because it is environmentally friendly. A lot of effort is being made to promote this energy source but like everything in life it has some drawbacks too.
We have tried to make a list of pros and cons of solar energy, to help you if you are thinking of going solar.
Advantages of Solar Energy
- Solar Works in Different Climates
Contrary to common belief solar panels can work in many climates. It is available every day in all parts of the world, and unlike other sources of energy, you cannot run out of it.
You will be surprised to read that they work even better in colder temperatures. Heat can reduce the voltage produced and therefore harm solar panel efficiency.
Moreover, the latest technology has enabled solar panels to work and produce electricity even if they do not receive direct sun exposure, which means they can work in low light conditions.
- Solar Panels Increase Real Estate Value
According to an online real estate marketplace, homes with solar panels tend to sell for 4.1% more than homes without them.
After monitoring 22,000 home sales a study was conducted by a well-known laboratory in the United States. This study concluded that almost $15,000 was added to the value of homes with a PV system.
- Alternative Energy Source
No one can deny the environmental benefits of solar power. When talking about solar panel pros and cons this factor can outweigh many drawbacks.
It is a truly renewable source of energy and this energy is clean, pollutant-free, DC, seldom, and does not emit any greenhouse gas.
Mainstream banks, fortune 500, oil companies, governments, and schools around the globe are going solar to reduce their carbon footprint and energy costs.
- Reduces Electricity Bills
If some of your energy needs are being covered by the solar system, then your electricity bills are bound to drop.
There is an even better scenario, in case your solar system is connected to the grid and they are producing more electricity than you consume, this excess electricity can be exported back to the grid and you will receive payments for it.
This saving is directly proportional to the size of your solar unit. Like if you have a commercial set up it can have a very big impact on your energy bills.
An average household solar unit can save you £10,000 to £30,000 in 20 years.
- Low Maintenance Costs
Solar energy systems are a long-term investment this is why a reliable manufacturer will offer 20 to 25 years of warranty. Solar panels built nowadays are pretty tough, they can withstand harsh weather conditions and do not require a lot of maintenance.
For optimum results, solar panels only need to be cleaned a few times per year. This cleaning procedure can be performed yourself or you can hire a specialized local company. Cleaning companies will carry out this job for £25-£35.
Other than solar panels the inverter and the cables also need maintenance. Luckily, a good inverter can also run smoothly for at least 5-10 years.
So, the bottom line is that after the initial cost you can expect very little spending on the maintenance and repair because of the pretty long solar system age.
Annual carbon dioxide released through burning of fossil fuel is 21.3 billion metric tons. This staggering number of gas emissions is one of the leading causes of global warming.
On the other hand solar is pollution free and its environmental effects are negligible.
Disadvantages of Solar Energy
- High Initial Cost
Experts around the world are trying to develop cheap solar equipment, but as of now the solar panels, inverter, batteries, wiring, and installation can cost you more than £14,000.
So, electricity bills can save you money in the future but the initial solar panel installation cost is quite steep.
- Solar Doesn't Work at Night
Switching to solar energy does not mean that you can completely rely on it. It means that you still have to be connected to the grid because in case of limited sunlight solar panels will not produce electricity.
Another option is to install batteries that can store enough energy to power households all night long.
- Solar Panels Aren’t Attractive
When you have designed your dream home why would you impact its beauty and aesthetic with not-so-good-looking solar panels? This is a big drawback for some.
Solar panels always came with bulky silver frames and only a few limited colors. The good news is that solar panel trends are changing. Today, sleek and better-looking panels are available. These new designs sit flush with the roof surface and in some cases replace the existing roof too.
Homeowners also have the option to choose from different color options so that they can maintain the outlook of the home and get clean energy too.
In some cases the solar system can be seen from the street or road nearby, this issue can be resolved by considering different sections of the roof, there is always a better option where you can hide all the solar setup.
- Inability to take it With You When you Move
In theory, it is possible to transfer solar panels to new buildings but it is almost never recommended. Once a solar system is fitted it would take a lot of time, effort, and money to dismantle it.
Another problem is the danger of damaging panels and roofs during the process of removing and refitting.
Solar systems provide major financial and ecological benefits. The decision to go solar depends on many factors like location, usage, and availability of expert solar contractors in your area. But if you think of it as an attempt to save the world and slow down the effects of climate change, you will never hesitate in giving it a shot.