If you’ve bought a home and ‘inherited’ a solar energy system from the previous owners, you might be unsure about how this technology works.
In fact, many of our customers tell us that the first time they know there’s a problem with their solar panels, it’s because they’ve received a letter from an energy company to advise that the panels aren’t providing a feed of electricity. This is because most domestic systems are linked to a Feed in Tariff or FiT - essentially a kickback paid by their energy company for feeding electricity back into the grid.
As trusted plumbing, heating and electrical engineering experts, we’re here to discuss the benefits of maintaining or repairing the solar technology that may already be present in your home.
A quick introduction to solar panels
There are two main types of domestic solar energy systems
- Solar electric - also known as photovoltaic panels or solar PV panels - to generate electrical current
- Solar thermal panels - for water heating systems
Photovoltaic panels are fairly simple and tend to be more commonly used. When the sun shines onto a PV solar panel, energy is absorbed by the photovoltaic cells and this is converted into electricity to power lights and household appliances.
By contrast, solar thermal panels heat water for your home and - because these systems can be more complex - fewer homeowners currently have this technology in their houses.
The benefits of PV solar panels
1. Solar energy is green energy
Since the sun is an infinite energy source, solar power is renewable as well as being considered a form of clean and green energy.
The manufacture of solar technology increasingly utilises recycled materials – and PV panels tend to last for 25 years with little reduction in efficiency – so it’s fair to say that the relative environmental benefits of solar panels outweigh their impact.
Once installed, PV solar panels are a low emission form of energy – they don’t release harmful greenhouse gases into the environment, unlike conventional energy sources such as burning fossil fuels like coal and gas.
2. PV solar panels save money
With rising energy prices hitting the headlines, if working properly, solar power can be one of the more cost-effective energy sources for your home.
Once PV panels are installed, solar power is considered to be a very economical energy source. While energy bills may be subject to significant fluctuations – due to dwindling natural supplies, political instability and various other factors – generating power through solar electricity panels represents a far more reliable and predictable cost.
Any unused excess solar energy may be ‘fed back’ into the grid, under the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme. Energy suppliers will pay a set rate for every kilowatt hour (kWh) of excess energy that is generated from solar panels but isn’t used by you, the homeowner.
Alternatively excess solar energy may be stored in home solar batteries for future use. For example, as electric vehicles grow to be more commonplace, EV charging overnight on this battery represents a free charge.
3. Solar PV can be used alongside mains electricity and off-grid
Although the vast majority of UK homes have mains electricity, PV solar panels can be used to supplement this.
Solar panels are also a popular solution for those who are living ‘off-grid’. Solar power is suitable for remote areas that are not connected to energy grids.
4. PV solar panels increase house prices
With a push towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 – and numerous incentives to encourage consumers to make more sustainable choices – an efficient home that can generate some of its own energy is bound to be appealing to prospective buyers.
Harnessing solar power is a practical way to lower a property’s running costs and increase its value, while also reducing its environmental impact. According to a report on the financial benefits of a solar-powered future by Solar Energy UK, homeowners who have maintained their PV solar panels are likely to see their investment reflected in a higher sale price and this will be an ongoing trend.
As a clean and affordable solution, it's easy to see why solar technology has become the world’s fastest-growing renewable energy source. In fact, somewhat surprisingly, the UK is the seventh-largest solar power generator globally – only China, the USA, Japan, Germany, India and Italy produce more.
Are solar panels worth it?
It’s definitely worth maintaining your system - if your solar PV panels lose efficiency or cease generating current altogether then, effectively, you’re losing money.
Solar PV panels are a great way to reduce household costs while also supporting green energy production and the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
When to check solar panels
Once installed, solar PV panels require little in the way of major maintenance, although - as with other forms of power supply – components such as the inverter may fail over time. To keep your PV solar panels working efficiently, we recommend an annual clean and check. You should also flag a drop in generation as soon as you’re aware (your generation meter will indicate this).
If you have a solar thermal system then this should have an annual service, as you would with a boiler.
P. Blackhall: for solar panel repair, Edinburgh
Our engineers operate in Edinburgh and the surrounding areas and offer a range of specialist services for home solar energy systems:
- PV solar panels - check, clean, and repair to ensure they are at their most efficient
- Solar thermal systems - annual service and repairs
- Whether you’re interested in finding out more about the advantages of solar panels or you need to have your solar technology checked over, please get in touch today on tel: 0131 378 6168 or send us a message here