With ever-increasing energy costs and climate change being taken so seriously, it’s no wonder more and more people are looking to reduce their carbon footprint and go green. For those living in the UK, going solar is one of the best options as it can provide the majority of our energy needs whilst reducing our reliance on expensive foreign energy sources. But how exactly do we go solar? Well, luckily for you, we’ve got answers to all your questions! In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about how solar energy is used in homes. It shouldn’t take long for you to grasp the basics, and once you do, you’ll wonder why you didn’t go green before.
How Does Solar Work?
At its most basic level, solar energy works because the Sun provides light and heat to the Earth, and our planet naturally emits light and heat at night as well as during the day. As a result, at night time when the Sun is not directly above us, we’re unable to collect any energy because it’s either too dark or too hot outside to be able to harness the energy of the Sun. During the day, however, when the Sun is at its peak and can be easily accessed, we’re able to use it to generate electricity which powers our homes and businesses.
Thanks to this daily rhythm, we have two distinct peaks in terms of energy production. The first peak is during the day when the Sun is at its peak, providing us with perfect conditions for generating energy. This is followed by a second smaller peak during the night when the Sun is low in the sky and providing us with the least ideal circumstances for generating electricity.
Why Should You Go Solar?
There are so many benefits to going solar, not least the fact it’s completely free (assuming you have enough sunlight). We’d like to think that as a species, we’re finally waking up to the realization that climate change is a serious issue that needs to be tackled head on. The fact is that whilst we may have halted the rise in global temperatures for a few years, it’s entirely possible that we’ve actually created a brand new climate pattern that’s suited to the needs of an expanding population.
With fossil fuels becoming more expensive to access and countries such as China pursuing a low-carbon policy, going green is the clear way forward. For those living in the UK looking to reduce their carbon footprint, going solar is a perfect opportunity to power their homes with green energy.
How Much Does Solar Energy Cost?
On the surface, it might seem obvious that generating your own solar energy would be cheaper than buying it from somewhere else. But, as with most things in life, there are plenty of hidden costs involved that could knock a sizeable chunk of change from your wallet. Here are a few of the things you need to consider before you go green.
Cost Of Installation
If you’re going solar you’ll most likely need to have some sort of solar panel system installed. Depending on the size of your roof, this could cost anywhere between £500 and £5000. This includes everything from drilling holes in your roof to fit the solar panels and installing them, to connecting these to the electrical system of your house. Remember, larger panels produce more electricity, so if you live in a country such as the UK where you’re currently only allowed to generate up to 16kw (kilowatt) of electricity per year, you may have to upgrade your system to collect more energy. This could end up costing you hundreds of pounds.
Maintaining The System
As we’ve established, going green is certainly beneficial and will help to reduce your carbon footprint. But keeping your system clean and intact is paramount to maintaining its efficiency. You’ll need to ensure that any dirt or dust that collects around the panels does not disrupt their operation. This, of course, requires some form of cleaning or wiping the panels at least once or twice a week. The good news is that this is relatively easy to do and does not require any special tools or equipment.
The output of your solar system will ultimately depend on the size of the panels you have and where you place them on your roof. Smaller panels are cheaper to buy but produce less energy, whilst larger panels are more expensive but able to generate more electricity. As we’ve established, there’s a reason why more and more people are choosing to go solar; the benefits are simply too great to ignore.
Whilst we might be able to tap into the Sun’s energy for free, generating electricity on this scale will always come at a price. But for those living in a country where electricity is heavily subsidised, this could be more than made up by the savings on your energy bills. This, of course, depends on how much electricity you need to power your home.
Whether you’re a seasoned environmentalist or just taking the first steps towards a greener lifestyle, going solar is an excellent place to start. Not only will it benefit the environment by reducing your carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels, but it could also provide you with a steady and reliable source of energy which you might otherwise have to pay for.
Whilst we might be able to access the Sun’s free energy directly, generating our own solar energy means we’ll have more control over how we use this energy and reduce our carbon footprint. If you’re in the UK and thinking about going solar, check out the government backed loan scheme called Solar Loan which provides low-interest rates (4.84% fixed for 12 months) and generous terms (190 days free) which allow you to get started quickly and easily.