The power industry is experiencing a massive shift as people are looking for alternatives to supporting their power demands. In the UK, for example, consumption fell by 6% in September 2019 compared to the previous year – with the lowest level of electricity usage being recorded in 15 years. This was mainly attributed to people switching to solar power, with more and more businesses, households and even some public sector bodies choosing to go green.
While the trend in reducing electricity consumption is a positive one, it doesn’t mean that the UK is free from its problems. The country still relies heavily on fossil fuels, with about 90% of power coming from these sources, with about 10% being generated from renewable sources. The UK government has committed to ensuring that 100% of electricity is generated from renewable sources by 2050 – with about 50% of current power demands being met by solar energy. This will require significant investment in new solar capacity.
In other parts of Europe, such as Germany, the proportion of electricity generated from renewable sources jumped from 12% to 27% between 2018 and 2019. This is mainly because of the increasing cost of fossil fuels, coupled with the growing popularity of electric vehicles. Renewable power sources such as solar energy, in particular, are popular because they’re sustainable and don’t emit harmful gases. The government is also playing its part by providing financial assistance for households and businesses to invest in sustainable energy sources.
It’s an open question as to whether these significant investment in renewables will have negative impacts on prices or availability – though, undoubtedly, it’ll reduce your carbon footprint.
Regardless of whether you choose to go solar or not, it’s definitely the future of power generation.
Why Are People Choosing Solar Power?
If you’re considering going solar, it’s important to understand why people are choosing this particular option compared to others. Broadly speaking, three factors are causing a reduction in the demand for traditional power generation: climate change, grid congestion and cost.
First, let’s look at the environmental impact of traditional power generation. Fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas, are causing serious problems, with people citing global warming as the main culprit. These fuels release carbon dioxide, which is a major contributor to global warming. The government is keen to reduce its carbon footprint, so it’s placed a heavy emphasis on renewable energy generation, as well as energy efficiency and reducing waste – all of which help to reduce your carbon footprint. Switching to solar power, therefore, is a quick and easy way to cut your carbon footprint and help to lessen the impact of climate change.
Second, let’s consider the impact that grid congestion has on power generation. Modern living requires power, and as the population grows, so does the demand. The UK government has invested heavily in new power plants and infrastructure to cope with this increased demand – with about 10 new power plants coming online in the next few years. This has resulted in a lot of stress on the power grid, with frequent outages and frequent disruption to electricity supplies. People are fed up with having their power cut off, especially as there’s so much demand during the day, so it’s essential that we keep the lights on! Going solar, therefore, is a quick and easy way to reduce your energy bills, as well as avoid the stress and strain that comes with having the power supply fail.
Third, let’s move away from the environmental impact and look at the cost factor. Electricity prices are steadily rising, as more and more people are turning to cheaper and more sustainable alternatives. Renewable energy sources such as solar are, generally, much cheaper than fossil fuels. When you compare the price of electricity generated from a solar farm to the price of that generated from a fossil fuel power plant, you’ll see that the trend is definitely in the right direction. People are looking for ways to save money, so going solar is a popular choice, as well as a quick and easy way to reduce your energy bills.
How Long Does It Take To See Returns On Investment?
The question of how long it takes to see returns on investment in going solar is an important one – especially, considering the fact that a significant amount of investment is needed. Most residential solar power systems are built with panels that generate electricity for about 15 years – with some systems lasting as long as 25 years. Large commercial systems can produce electricity for up to 30 years – with the initial investment, in some cases, being repaid within the first year. The length of time that it takes to see results will, largely, be determined by how big your system is and how big a role solar energy plays in your home. Going solar, therefore, is an investment that’ll pay for itself quickly – especially, if you’re looking for ways to save money. It’s also a popular option for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint and save the environment, with a significant impact quickly being visible through the reduction in your electricity bill and waste.
Choosing to go solar, however, is a significant commitment and, as such, not for the faint-hearted. You’ll need to do your research and make a decision as to whether or not this is the right option for you. It’s also important to set a date for when you want to switch over to solar – as this will affect the size of the system that you need. Ensure, also, that you’re buying quality panels that are designed to last the lifetime of your system – and, preferably, produce more energy than you’re actually using. The last thing that you want is for your system to malfunction and cause you unnecessary stress and anxiety. Consider all of the above before making a decision and, as mentioned above, be sure to consult the experts at GFK for more information.