The truth about Solar Power – The myths and misconceptions

There’s lots of information across the web regarding Solar Energy and it’s “true costs”, particularly referring to Solar Panels – the costs, performance, and reliability.

The common misconceptions of Solar Panels may not be as accurate as you think…

Solar Panels are a lengthy process and a lot of hassle to install…?

The truth of the matter is that for an average sized property, the entire system can be installed and commissioned within a couple of days. Some jobs, of course, take longer due to the nature of the installation. However, this should all be accounted for when the job is evaluated and quoted. 

The regulations are constantly changing when it comes to renewable energy, so finding installers that are part of Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), is essential. This certification shows they are of the highest possible standard and up to date with legislation and industry standards.

When getting quotes for this, we would suggest getting 2-3 different companies to quote before committing to the installation.

Note – It is always worth contacting your Energy Supplier as some companies are now offering this as part of their service and the prices are very competitive. See here for more information.

Solar Panels only work when the sun is out…?

Converting Energy using solar power naturally involves sunlight. However, when the sun is overcast, sunlight can still be harnessed using the Solar Panels and converted into energy. 

This is partly down to Solar Panels converting energy from the light spectrum but mainly, wavelengths passing through the clouds. A small amount of rain can also help with the efficiency of your solar panels. Rain will wash off any debris and dirt so that the surface works at optimum efficiency.

Note – A useful tip when installing Solar at a property is to have a solar battery. This will allow for energy captured to be stored, this is helpful when you aren’t using as much energy as you’re harnessing. This stored energy can be used at night and cloudy days when the energy isn’t being captured as fast by the panels. It can be the difference between a little help with energy bills and becoming a completely self- sufficient off-grid property.

Solar Systems are very expensive – is it worth it….?

It is no shock that renewable energy is expensive at the moment due to its up-and-coming nature. However, in the UK, it can depend on different variables. For example, where you live, the installer you choose, and the type of panels you want. The average homeowner should expect to pay in the region of £7,000 for a complete Solar System. You may even be able to get a battery for this price too.

This may sound expensive, but actually, the benefits far outweigh the costs. For example, once installed, a Solar System should last at least 25 years. During which time, very little maintenance will be required (apart from a clean a couple of times per year). Many manufactures offer a 25-year warranty with their products which should cover any issues with the hardware, if they occur. 

Note – Always check the manufactures warranty length and the coverage before committing to buy any hardware as they can vary between the suppliers.

Another option to gather some money back could be selling the power back to the national grid. This can be done during times where the Solar Panels are generating more power than you are using, this stored energy can be sent back to the grid, and they pay you! This all helps with energy bill reduction and the payback time for the original installation costs.

I need planning permission to install Solar Panels…?

This is a common misconception when it comes to installation of a Solar Power system at a property. Solar Panel installations are considered to be “permitted development”. Which means, planning permission is not required to install panels at your property. Of course, there are some exceptions, for example, listed buildings. This means it’s always useful to check with your local planning office prior to committing to an install. 

The same applies for rental properties, but contacting your landlord is certainly a must, before installing solar panels. 

One final requirement is to register your property as a solar assisted property with your DNO (Distribution Network Operator). This is due to your system needing to be connected to the grid so you can potentially get some money back or use the grids power in emergencies if there is an issue with your installation. Usually, the installer will organise this for you as the job cannot be completed until this is carried out. Planning this project is important and the supplier should take care of everything. 

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