The comprehensive guide to solar panels

As the world moves towards sustainable energy solutions, solar panels have emerged as one of the most promising technologies.
  • Posted by Emily Jade
  • 6 min read (830 words)
  • Last updated 19 Mar, 2024

As the world moves towards sustainable energy solutions, solar panels have emerged as one of the most promising technologies for homeowners wanting to save money while reducing their carbon footprint.

How solar panels work

Solar panels work using the photovoltaic effect, which converts sunlight into electricity using semiconductor materials such as silicon. When sunlight hits the solar panel, the photons in the sunlight knock electrons loose from atoms in the semiconductor material, generating an electrical current. This direct current (DC) is then converted into alternating current (AC) by an inverter, which can power your home’s electrical appliances.

Solar panels for home

Installing solar panels on your home can bring numerous benefits. Not only do solar panels reduce your carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels, they also increase the value of your property, and help provide energy security.

Solar panels with battery storage vs. without battery

Installing solar panels can significantly reduce your reliance on the grid, and adding battery storage allows you to store excess energy generated during the day for use during peak demand periods, or at night when sunlight is unavailable. Battery storage systems provide even greater energy independence and lifetime savings, however they do bring additional upfront costs.

Will solar panels save me money?

Yes! While the initial investment may seem daunting, solar panels can significantly reduce or even eliminate your electricity bills over time.

Can solar panels power a house?

Yes, solar panels can power an entire house! As long as the system is appropriately sized to meet your home’s energy needs, you can generate enough electricity to cover your home’s power requirements.

Will solar panels work on a cloudy day?

Yes, solar panels can still produce electricity on cloudy days. While direct sunlight is optimal for solar panel performance, even diffused sunlight on cloudy days can generate enough electricity to power your home.

Will solar panels work in winter?

Contrary to popular belief, solar panels can still generate electricity in the winter months. While they may not work as efficiently as they do in the summer – due to fewer daylight hours and potentially cloudier skies  - modern solar panels can convert sunlight to electricity even in cold temperatures.

Solar panels to charge electric car

If you own an electric vehicle (EV), solar panels can be an excellent way to offset the energy consumption required to charge your car. Installing solar panels can generate renewable energy to power your EV, further reducing your environmental impact and transportation costs.

Solar panels on flat roof

While pitched roofs are more common for solar panel installations, it is possible to install solar panels on flat roofs using specialised mounting systems. There are some additional factors to consider, such as tilt angles, shading and wind load calculations.

Solar panels VAT exempt

Solar panel and home battery installations are currently 0% VAT rated as part of UK government incentives to promote renewable energy adoption. This exemption can significantly reduce the upfront cost of installing a solar system.

Solar panel installation

If you’re thinking about installing solar panels on your property, it’s essential to work with reputable companies that have experience and expertise in the field. A professional installation ensures that your solar panels are properly positioned and your inverter set to maximise energy production.

We’re proud to be MCS accredited installers for both solar panels and home batteries. We’re also Which? Trusted Traders, Trustmark endorsed & registered with HIES.

Which solar panels are best?

There are a huge range of solar panels available – monocrystalline and polycrystalline being the main options. Monocrystalline panels are generally more space-efficient and perform better in low light conditions, whereas polycrystalline are usually cheaper. Researching reputable brands and consulting with solar experts can help you make an informed decision.

We recommend Qcells solar panels. German engineered, Qcells monocrystalline solar panels boast innovative all-weather technology, giving you optimal yields whatever the weather. They combine cutting edge cell separation and innovative module design backed by a 25-year product and performance warranty.

Are solar panels worth it?

The decision to invest in solar panels ultimately depends on your circumstances, including your energy consumption, location, and budget. However, for many homeowners, solar panels offer a worthwhile return on investment by reducing electricity bills, increasing your property value, and contributing to a greener future.

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