Solar energy represents the current boom regarding renewable sources of energy. Solar panel installations have flourished even in unexpected places, like the cloudy UK. How can we explain this behaviour? Or better yet, why should one invest in solar panels?
1. To Be Nice to the Environment
Solar panels rely exclusively on the energy of the sun to generate electricity. This means that opposite to fossil fuels, solar panels use the renewable energy of the sun to create electricity which is then used by households and businesses. Moreover, photovoltaics are silent and green, different to other sources of energy that can be very noisy and pollutant, like coal, oil drilling and nuclear power. Solar panels do not release any greenhouse gases and don’t require/pollute water in the process of generating electricity.
2. To Save Money
Once installed, solar energy is completely free. Using solar panels as a source of energy will save you money on your bills since you will use less from your energy supplier. You can cover most or even all of your energy needs with solar panels, therefore you can save a lot in your energy bills. It is also true that solar panels only work during the day, so if you need electricity during nighttime you will have to use the energy from the grid. However, you can always organize your activities in such way that most of the energy-dependant tasks are done during the day.
3. To Make Money
Although it is commonly argued that solar panels are expensive, it is also true (and not frequently highlighted) that you can actually make money after some years of installing the solar system. As the solar energy generation doesn't incur costs, you will save large amounts on your energy bill during the 30-year lifespan of solar panels.
In the past, it was also possible to apply for the Feed-in Tariff, a scheme in which you would get paid for every unit of solar generated electricity passed to the national grid. While the scheme has ended now, those who signed up and were accepted before the 31st March 2019 will continue to benefit for a total of at least 20 years. For this reason, it is true that one could actually make money out of solar panels once they pay back, which in the UK normally takes around 7-9 years.
Moreover, technology gets better with the passing of time, and so do solar panels. This not only means that solar panel efficiency will increase, but also that the cost of producing these items will continue to drop.
4. For Your own Comfort
Once the solar system is installed, you can almost forget about it since there is very little maintenance required. Just one professional check per year will be enough to ensure that your panels are working to their maximum efficiency. It is also good to check once in a while that the surface is clean and has not been blocked by leaves or other obstacles.
Moreover, off-the-grid solar systems are a good option for cottages or remote buildings with no access to the national grid. In this case, solar panels are a great solution as they will allow you to generate your own and free electricity.
5. For Future Generations
Climate change and environmental impact have become important issues for most governments for good reason. If we do not reduce our carbon footprint, we are not only destroying the planet we inhabit, but also putting at risk the health and living conditions of future generations.
This explains why, like the rest of Europe, the UK has set its own green targets to be met by 2020. The government is designing different schemes and projects to increase the engagement of businesses, communities and people with energy sustainability. The so-called Feed-in Tariff (which has ended in 2019) and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI; continues to exist) are examples of such projects. Solar panels are a good option if you want to give good value to your money and be good with the environment at the same time.