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Last updated: 10 June 2024

Maximise Solar Energy on the Summer Solstice: Tips for UK Homeowners

Why June's Long Days Are Perfect for Solar Energy

Solar panels on a rooftop capturing maximum sunlight during the summer solstice.

As the summer solstice hits on June 21st, the UK is set to experience its longest day of the year, with up to 16.5 hours of daylight. This period is a golden opportunity for solar energy enthusiasts and newcomers to maximise their solar power generation. 

The extended daylight hours and clearer skies mean solar panels can produce more electricity. This significantly reduces energy bills and contributes to a greener environment.

This abundance of sunlight means your solar panels can generate more electricity on this day compared to other days of the year. For instance, in London, you can expect around 30-40% more solar energy production in the summer solstice. This is compared to an average day in December.

Whether you're a seasoned solar power user or a newcomer, this guide will help you optimise your home solar setup. You'll harness the sun's power just in time for the sunshine surplus.

The Solar Surge: Energy and Savings on the Solstice

The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year, with up to 16 hours of daylight in the UK. This extended period of sunlight allows solar panels to generate more electricity than on other days.

For instance, on the summer solstice of June 21, 2022, the UK generated 8.67 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of energy from solar farms and solar roof tiles. This energy was enough to power a million homes for the day or make hundreds of millions of cups of tea. This remarkable output highlights the potential savings and energy generation that can be achieved during this peak period.

On this day, solar panels can generate up to 30% more energy than the winter solstice, when the sun is at its lowest point in the sky and daylight hours are shorter. Solar energy can significantly reduce energy bills. On average, UK households with solar panels save at least £630 annually. The savings can be even higher during the summer solstice due to increased energy production.

According to data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a typical residential solar panel system can produce around 6-8 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity daily in the summer. Depending on the location and system size, this production can increase to 8-10 kWh or even higher on the summer solstice.

This means you can use the summer solstice's abundant sunlight by optimising your solar setup or installing a new system. This will help you maximise your energy savings and environmental benefits. Increased energy production translates to higher savings on electricity bills. On a well-optimised system, the savings on the summer solstice can be significant, potentially reducing your energy costs to nearly zero for that day.

With its long daylight hours and abundant sunshine, the summer solstice presents an opportune time for UK homeowners. It is an ideal moment to evaluate if it is worth getting solar panels. A typical household with a well-designed solar panel installation can save between £210 and £514 per year on electricity bills. This makes solar panels a worthwhile investment, especially when considering their long lifespan of 25-30 years.

Calculating Energy and Cost Savings

Solar panels on a rooftop capturing maximum sunlight during the summer solstice

Let's break down the potential savings and energy production for a typical solar setup on the summer solstice compared to an average day in the UK.

System Size: 5 kW

Average Daily Sunlight Hours: 4.5 hours (average day), 6 hours (summer solstice)

Energy Production: 22.5 kWh (average day), 30 kWh (summer solstice)

Cost Savings Calculation:

  • Average Electricity Rate: 24.5p per kWh
  • Daily Standing Charge: 60.1p per day

Energy Cost Savings:

  • Daily Savings (Average Day): 22.5 kWh x £0.245 = £5.51
  • Daily Savings (Summer Solstice): 30 kWh x £0.245 = £7.35

Total Daily Cost Savings Including Standing Charge:

  • Average Day Savings: £5.51 - £0.601 = £4.91
  • Summer Solstice Savings: £7.35 - £0.601 = £6.75

Monthly Savings Increase:

  • Assuming 30 days in June, with 29 average days and 1 summer solstice day:
    • Average Day Total: 29 days x £4.91 = £142.39
    • Summer Solstice Day: £6.75
    • Total June Savings: £142.39 + £6.75 = £149.14

    Optimising Your Solar Setup for the Summer Solstice

    If you're new to solar energy, the summer solstice is an excellent time to explore the benefits of harnessing the sun's power.  To make the most of the summer solstice and maximise your solar energy production, consider the following tips:

    1. Panel Positioning and Angle:
      • Angle Adjustment: Ensure your solar panels are angled correctly. In the UK, the optimal angle is generally around 30-40 degrees to capture the maximum amount of sunlight. South-facing panels are ideal as they receive the most direct sunlight. The angle of the panels should be close to your location's latitude to ensure year-round efficiency.
      • Cleaning and Maintenance: Dust, debris, and bird droppings can significantly reduce your panels' efficiency. Regular cleaning ensures maximum light absorption.
    2. Energy Storage Solutions:
      • Battery Storage: Invest in a solar battery storage system. This allows you to store excess energy generated during the long daylight hours for use at night or on cloudy days.
      • Smart Energy Management: Use smart inverters and energy management systems to optimise energy use in your home, reducing waste and solar panel efficiency. Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS) help monitor and optimise energy usage. These systems can automate energy consumption, ensuring that appliances run during peak solar generation times. This reduces reliance on grid power.
    3. Maximising Daylight Hours:
      • Timing Your Energy Use: Schedule high-energy activities such as running dishwashers, washing machines, or charging electric vehicles during peak sunlight hours. This will maximise the use of solar energy.
      • Net Metering: Take advantage of net metering policies to sell excess energy back to the grid, providing a potential source of income. The UK’s Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) ensures homeowners are compensated for the surplus energy they export. 

    Maximising Solar Energy Impact and Savings 

    Solar energy not only reduces electricity bills but also contributes to environmental sustainability. By generating renewable energy, homeowners can decrease their carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels

     The summer solstice provides the longest duration of sunlight, which is crucial for solar energy systems.

    The UK government aims to increase solar capacity five-fold by 2035, highlighting the growing importance of solar energy in the national energy mix. 

    The initial cost of solar panels investment may be high, but the ROI will offset the cost over time. For instance, the initial setup cost for a 4kW solar panel system in the UK is around £5,000-£6,000. Long-term savings and potential income can offset this investment over time. This is essentially beneficial compared to last year's cost, which was £9.000-10.000. The BEP for a 4kW system is only eight years now, and the ROI is between £10.500 - £11.500.

    On the Summer Solstice, a typical 4kW solar panel system in the UK can generate up to 30 kWh of electricity. This is enough to power an average household for a day or more. With solar power, you can save up to £200-£400 annually on electricity bills. 

    Moreover, selling excess energy back to the grid through net metering can provide additional income, potentially amounting to £100-£200 per year.

    Savings and Energy Comparison: Summer Solstice vs Other Days

    To understand the impact of the summer solstice on solar energy savings, let’s consider a typical 4kW solar system in the UK. Here’s a breakdown of potential energy generation and savings:

    DayHours of DaylightPotential Energy Generation (kWh)Estimated Savings (£)
    Summer Solstice16-1724-2810-12
    Typical Summer Day14-1520-248-10
    Spring/Autumn Equinox1215-186-7
    Winter Solstice7-88-103-4
    This data means a 4kW system can generate 24-28 kWh of electricity on the summer solstice. Considering the UK's average electricity cost is approximately £0.15 per kWh, this translates to a daily saving of £10-12. With 14 -15 hours of daylight, the same system produces 20-24 kWh, saving around £8-10 daily.

    Let's compare the impact of the summer solstice on energy generation and savings. We will do this by considering the following data:

    MonthAverage Daylight HoursAverage Solar Energy Generated (GWh)Potential Savings (£)
    January82.550
    April136.0120
    June (Solstice)168.67173
    September125.5110
    December72.040
    Note: Savings are estimated based on average UK electricity prices and typical household consumption

    Let's calculate the annual savings for each system size based on housing style:

    House SizeSolar System SizeSystem Cost (£)Annual Energy Production (kWh)Annual Savings (£)Daily Average Production (kWh)Solstice Day Production (kWh)(Assuming 1.5 times average)Solstice Day Savings (£)
    Small; 1-2 bedrooms2kW£2,500 - £3,5001,700£416.504.656.98£1.71
    Small; 1-2 bedrooms3kW£4,500 - £5,5002,550£624.756.9810.47£2.56
    Medium; 2-3 bedrooms4kW£5,000 - £6,0003,400£833.009.3013.95£3.42
    Medium; 2-3 bedrooms5kW£7,500 - £8,5004,250£1,041.2511.6317.44£4.27
    Large; 4-5 bedrooms6kW£9,500 - £10,5005,100£1,249.5013.9520.93£5.13
    Large; 6+ bedrooms10kW£10,000 - £11,0008,500£2,082.5023.2934.94£8.56
    Large; 6+ bedrooms12kW£12,000 - £13,00010,200£2,499.0027.9541.93£10.27
    Current data as of publication rate date, the average cost of electricity in the UK as of 2024 is as follows:
    Variable Cost: 24.5p per kWh
    Daily Standing Charge: 60.1p per day
    These figures reflect the current Energy Price Cap (EPC) that runs from 1 July 2024 through 30 September 2024

    This table outlines the potential daily savings on the summer solstice for each solar system size. The savings during the solstice are significantly higher due to increased solar production.

    Key Points Seasonal Variation in Solar Energy Production

    Solar energy production is highest during the summer, particularly around the summer solstice. This is due to longer daylight hours and higher sun angles. This results in significant energy savings during these months compared to winter.

    1. Summer vs Winter Production:
      • Solar panels produce about 40-60% less energy during December and January compared to July and August.
      • On average, 65% of annual solar energy output is generated between March 21st and September 21st, while the remaining 35% is produced between September 21st and March 21st.
    2. Peak Production Months:
      • May, June, July, and August are the peak months for solar power production due to longer days and higher sun angles.
      • The summer solstice around June 21st marks the highest point of solar energy production in the year.

    Getting Started with Solar Energy

    The summer solstice presents an ideal opportunity for those considering transitioning to solar power. It is a great time to explore this renewable energy source. Here are some critical steps to get started:

    1. Assess Your Energy Needs: Evaluate your household's energy consumption patterns and determine the appropriate size and capacity of a solar PV system to meet your requirements. Assess your home's solar potential by considering roof orientation, pitch, and shading. Professional evaluations can provide detailed insights.
    2. Choose the Right System: Select a solar panel that fits your energy needs and budget. Consider factors like panel size, wattage, and technology used. Monocrystalline solar panels, for instance, typically offer better efficiency and space-saving benefits than polycrystalline solar panels.
    3. Find a Reputable Installer: Research and choose a certified installer with a proven track record. Read reviews, ask for references, and ensure they are licensed.
    4. Installation and Connection: After being selected, the installer will position the panels and connect them to the electrical grid. This includes setting up an inverter to convert DC to AC electricity.
    5. Monitor and Maintain: After installation, monitoring systems track performance and conduct regular maintenance to ensure optimal efficiency.

    Stand Out: Embrace the Solar Revolution

    The summer solstice is not just a day of maximum sunlight; it’s a symbol of the potential of solar energy. It presents a prime opportunity for UK homeowners to maximise solar energy production. 

    Moreover, homeowners can significantly increase their energy savings by optimising panel placement. Additionally, using energy-efficient appliances represents another avenue to boost savings. Consequently, installing battery storage and monitoring energy usage can further augment those savings.

    Whether you are an experienced solar user or a novice, the present moment presents an opportune time to join the solar revolution. Maximise the sunshine surplus.

    Embracing solar energy reduces energy bills and contributes to a more sustainable future. Making it a worthy investment for every homeowner.

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