Should You Install Solar Panels?

With energy bills on the rise, the answer to the question of whether a roof full of solar panels is a worthwhile investment is pertinent is a resounding yes. 

Solar panels have the potential to slash up to 90% off your energy bills, and this proportion is even more significant as gas bills continue to climb. Consequently, solar panel installations have surged by 45% in the last three years, with an 80% increase in the past year alone.

But how exactly can solar panels achieve significant bill reductions? Let’s find out more below!

Average Energy that Solar Panels Generate

A well-positioned 3.5kWp (kilowatt “peak” power output) solar panel system can generate over 3,000kWh per year. This nearly matches the electricity consumption of a typical household. 

If additional power is needed, your supplier can provide it from the grid as usual.

The Solar Energy Calculator from the Energy Saving Trust (EST) can precisely estimate your potential energy generation and how it impacts your bills based on your current usage.

To enhance your solar system’s performance and maximize returns, consider the following tips:

  • Install the system facing between southeast and southwest.
  • Set the panels at an angle between 30 and 50 degrees from horizontal.
  • Invest in a solar diverter to heat your water when the sun is shining.

These strategies, when applied with the guidance of your installer, can optimize your solar investment and increase its overall efficiency.

Average Cost of Solar Panels

Are solar panels worth the upfront cost? In short, yes. Solar panels have the potential to cut 90% off your energy bills, and installations have surged by 80% in the past year alone. 

Although the average UK solar PV system costs £5,000 and takes around ten years to pay for itself, it significantly reduces bills for many years afterward. And with falling solar panel prices, now’s the right time to invest.

Solar panels use semiconductor technology to capture the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity which can then power your home. A 3.5kWp system could generate over 3,000kWh per year. 

To maximize returns, placing the system facing southeast to southwest and at an angle between 30 and 50 degrees is advised. Additional strategies, such as investing in a solar diverter, can further enhance your solar system’s performance.

While savings on bills are the primary return on investment, you can boost them by signing up for the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), which donates excess energy to the grid. The SEG, introduced in 2020, pays you for the excess energy, contributing to additional savings on your bills.

Nowadays, solar panels have become more affordable, with prices falling by 88% since 2010. The Energy Saving Trust suggests an average cost of £4,000-£5,000 for a 3.5kWp system. 

That said, the costs may vary based on factors like house size, roof type, and panel type. However, it’s worth noting that some UK energy providers offer solar panel installations as well.

Once installed, a solar PV system typically has a lifespan of 25 years. It requires minimal maintenance, and cleaning is often unnecessary due to the cleansing effect of rainwater. Manufacturer warranties usually cover any faults, but it’s crucial to verify this before proceeding with the installation.

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