Photovoltaic (PV) solar power systems are among the most popular and innovative renewable energy sources available today, due primarily to their clean, green nature and the fact that they provide electricity generation without the need for fossil fuels or nuclear power.
For homeowners looking to take the leap into becoming more self-reliant, off-grid, and independent, solar power is the ultimate solution, providing an inexpensive, clean, and sustainable energy option. If you’re curious as to whether or not solar power is the right fit for your home, keep reading.
What is Solar Power?
Solar power systems function by harnessing the power of the sun through the use of photovoltaic (PV) solar cells. Essentially, PV solar cells are semiconductors that convert light energy directly into electricity through the process of electron-hole pair generation. This process is also known as the photoelectric effect.
PV solar cells are used in a wide range of products, from small form factors such as mobile phones and tablets, to large form factors such as solar panels and solar farms. When connected to an inverter, a standalone PV solar cell can generate enough electricity to power various appliances such as homes and businesses.
The benefits of solar power are numerous and far-reaching, making it a popular choice for homeowners who are interested in reducing their environmental impact and becoming more self-reliant and independent.
The payback time for a solar power systems is often underestimated, making it potentially one of the most attractive and innovative renewable energy options available. The fact that solar power systems do not need to be constantly maintained makes them even more appealing.
Why is Payback Time Important?
One of the major benefits of a solar power system is that it often has a short payback time compared to other available options. While it takes a while for traditional power sources to pay for themselves, solar power systems provide excellent value in terms of both their initial costs and the amount of electricity they generate compared to their price.
This is why, as the costs of creating and maintaining a traditional power station steadily rise, the appeal of alternative energy solutions such as solar power becomes even more attractive.
In Which Areas of the Country Can I Place a Solar Power System?
There are a number of areas of the country where it’s ideal to place a solar power system, depending on your specific needs and lifestyle choices. If you’re considering a PV solar system to power your home or business, keep reading.
A standalone solar power system is best placed in sunny regions, such as California, Florida, and Arizona, as these tend to have the lion’s share of the country’s sunny weather. If you’re located in a more northern climate, you can still make use of the power of the sun through the use of solar thermal energy, whereby heat is either collected or stored for use at a later date.
How Many Kilowatts Can My Solar Power System Generate?
The amount of power your solar power system can generate is largely determined by how large and how efficient it is. The larger your system, the more electricity you will be able to generate. The more efficient your system is, the more power you will be able to generate for a given solar resource.
There are a number of factors which can affect the efficiency of your system, such as the materials used in its construction and the layout and design of its components. The efficiency of your solar power system will determine how quickly it is able to pay back its investors and become profitable, as well as how much electricity you will be able to generate.
What is a Typical Cost for a Solar Power System?
The cost of a solar power system depends on a number of factors, including the size, capacity, and efficiency of the setup, as well as your area’s solar resource and whether or not your government provides any financial incentives to promote renewable energy. Generally, you can expect to pay between £3,500 and £8,000 for a 400 Watt system, which would be considered small. Larger systems typically cost between £10,000 and £20,000 or more.
How Long Does it Take For Solar Power To Pay Back?
The payback time for a small solar power system can be significantly longer than that of a large system. While it takes a while for a traditional power station to pay for themselves, a 400 Watt system would generate enough electricity to light up a 100-watt bulb for about four to five hours a day, depending on the solar resource and how efficiently you have it configured. A 600 Watt system would be able to light up a 200-watt bulb for nearly six to seven hours a day.
Large solar farms and corporate installations built on large plots of land can take years to pay back, due to the vast amounts of solar energy they encompass. Some large solar farms even take decades to pay off.
How Much Does a Good Quality Battery Pack Cost?
Apart from the solar power system itself, another crucial component required for its operation is a good quality battery pack. If you plan on using your solar power system for longer than eight hours a day, you will need to invest in a good quality battery pack to store the excess electricity generated. The costs of a good quality battery pack vary between £500 and £1,000.
The more electricity your system produces, the more expensive premium battery packs become, due to their additional cost and limited number in existence. This makes a quality battery pack an essential investment if you want to keep your solar power system functioning for longer than eight hours a day. Batteries are most often composed of lithium ions, which are also found in rechargeable batteries, such as lithium-ion cells. If you want an inexpensive but reliable battery pack that’s also environmentally friendly, look no further than alkaline batteries, which are relatively simple to manufacture and maintain.
Do I Need To Purchase My Own Transmission Line?
Electricity does not always need to be transmitted over great distances, as many power stations are situated close to where the majority of consumers reside. However, in some cases, where great distances need to be covered, a transmission line is used, allowing electricity to be transmitted from a power plant to a consumer. If you live far from the regional electricity supply, you will need to purchase your own transmission line to connect to the National Grid.
The cost of a standard transmission line can vary between £1,500 and £3,000, depending on whether or not you want to purchase one mile or two miles of overhead line.
Who Is My Best Bet For Affordable Solar Energy?
With the cost of creating and maintaining a traditional power station continuously rising, along with the need for more affordable and sustainable sources of energy, more and more people are looking to invest in solar power systems.
The best bet for affordable solar energy is through government schemes and financial instruments, such as loan and grant schemes. Due to the government’s support for renewable energy, subsidies and financial incentives are available to help homeowners and businesses make the switch to cleaner energy sources. Wherever possible, it’s ideal for homeowners and businesses to become more self-sufficient, reducing their dependence on expensive energy providers.
As the costs of traditional forms of energy continue to rise and the climate crisis continues to loom, more and more people are looking to reduce their impact on the environment through sustainable energy sources such as solar power. For those considering a switch to greener energy sources, especially those located in warmer countries, solar power can be the cheap and easy answer, providing an affordable and sustainable energy solution.