Solar Blinds: The Next Big Trend in the UK
Solar blinds or more precisely, solar panel blinds, are the latest technology improving our chances of going greener by transforming solar energy into electricity. These solar shades are actually solar panels transformed into window sunscreen blinds. Therefore, solar blinds come with all the advantages of solar panels and even more.
Why is it important to take advantage of solar power? Simply put, solar power is the next step towards a more sustainable future. In the UK, solar electricity is the fourth most used type of renewable energy. Solar photovoltaics alone have generated 12,857 GWh on the island in 2018, which accounts for 4% growth compared to the previous year.
That’s why solar blinds are expected to outperform solar panels in urban areas, as they are much easier to install by placing them on the windows and not on the roofs. But most importantly, the solar shades can reduce your electricity bills and also cut the operational cost of air conditioning by up to 30%.
If we managed to get your attention, you can keep reading our guide on solar blinds or you can fill in our non-binding form and we will contact you with further information and up to 4 personalized quotes.
What Are Solar Blinds?
As there are various types of solar panels, there are several versions of solar shades, as well. Therefore, a difference should be made between regular solar blinds and solar powered blinds.
Regular solar blinds resemble ordinary roller shades and are designed to reduce the sun’s heat, glare, and UV rays by using a specially designed fabric. Depending on the colour and the material of the fabric, the solar blinds can have different levels of UV ray and heat protection as well as see-through characteristics. All of these elements compose the openness factor of solar sunshades.
But what are solar powered window blinds then? The solar powered or, as otherwise known, solar panel blinds, are actually solar panels transformed in the shape of window sunshades. They fall into the category of photovoltaic (PV) systems, as they transform the sun's energy into electricity. This way, solar powered blinds help you save money on your electricity bills with up to 70%.
What Do Solar Shades Do?
Considering the fact that solar sunshades transform solar energy into electricity, they also come with all the advantages and disadvantages of using solar energy. However, solar blinds are a step closer to improving some of the photovoltaic systems’ downsides. For example, reducing installation costs and relatively high space usage.
On top of that, there is a smart version of the solar blinds, which allows you to navigate the window shades remotely. You can do that by installing a mobile application on your phone. Furthermore, smart solar shades are integrated with home hubs such as Alexa and Google Assistant.
This feature allows you to open and close your smart solar blinds from a distance, receive reports on their performance, and also scan your windows. On top of that, the solar powered shades have a setting that supports automated rotation of the blinds according to the sunshine angle.
Do Solar Shades Block UV Rays?
The sunlight that reaches the ground comprises roughly 50% infrared, 40% visible, and 10% ultraviolet light. Usually, solar panels transform most of the visible, half of the infrared, and a small portion of the ultraviolet light. As solar shades are based on the solar panel technology, it is safe to say that just like those, the sunshades are able to absorb some of the UV rays.
Do Solar Blinds Endure Different Weather Conditions?
Solar powered blinds can operate under various weather conditions and temperature ranges. For example, they are suitable for geographic regions with temperature levels from -20ºC up to 60ºC with humidity of 20%, or from -10ºC up to 40ºC and humidity level of 80%.
The blinds can be installed both from the outside and the inside of the window. However, solar shades perform better when they are placed externally. Moreover, even though the blinds come with a storm protection mode, it is recommended the blinds to be fully retracted, when exposed to severe weather conditions.
Do Solar Blinds Reduce Heat?
Just like regular solar shades, when the solar powered blinds are fully closed, they can prevent the sun's heat from entering your house. Hence, it is estimated that solar blinds can help you save up to 30% of your air conditioning costs, as they provide you with active shading.
Solar Shades Openness Factor and Privacy Considerations
The solar blinds act as regular blinds and are fully retractable. Therefore, the shades will not stay on your way of enjoying the view. Moreover, when they are fully extended, they can act as an anti-robbery system. Besides, smart solar blinds come with a special mobile app for protection, which makes the blinds unappealing to thieves.
How Much Do Solar Blinds Cost?
The price of solar shades depends on the size of the window. For example, if your apartment has four average-sized (2m2) windows, it would cost somewhere around £3,700 to cover all windows.
On the other hand, the average household would need a 4kW solar panel system. The installation costs for the solar panels estimates around £7,000. Additionally, the PV system would require approximately 28m2 of rooftop space.
Of course, the amount of solar energy generated will not be the same. Therefore, you should consider your household’s electricity usage when making a decision.
|Window Size (cm)||Surface Area (m2)||Price||Estimated Energy Produced (kWh/month)|
|81×91||0.7||£320 or more||17.8|
|81×121||1.0||£450 or more||25.5|
|152×91||1.4||£600 or more||35.7|
|152×121||1.9||£925 or more||48.4|
|121×213||2.6||£1,130 or more||66.3|
|152×213||3.3||£1,570 or more||84.1|
How Do Smart Solar Blinds Work?
The solar powered blinds are photovoltaic systems, and just like rooftop solar panels and solar roof tiles, they convert solar energy into electricity. To do that, they harness the sun's rays and convert them into direct current (DC) electricity.
The DC electricity, however, is not useful on its own in a regular household. Therefore, a DC inverter transforms the electric power into alternating current (AC). The AC power is the one that we use for our electric appliances.
With that in mind, all you need to do is to connect your solar sunshades to the electric grid and the DC inverter will power your devices. Another big upside of the blinds is that they are grid-connected PV systems. This way, you can store the surplus energy in a solar battery for later use or you can sell it to your electricity provider via a two-way meter.
How Much Energy Can Solar Blinds Generate?
The generated energy by the solar window shades, of course, depends on the geographic region, season, and architecture of the building. For example, 1m2 of solar panel blinds can produce up to 100W per hour, which is enough to charge 30 LED light bulbs, a smartphone, or a laptop. In comparison, a regular-sized window (2m2) will generate over 1kWh per day.
It is very important to note that smart solar blinds are designed by using the sun-tracking characteristics of sunflowers. This means that solar shades will automatically adapt to the angle of the sun rays in order to harness and produce the optimal amount of solar electricity.
What Are the Advantages of Solar Blinds Compared to Regular Solar Panels?
Solar blinds are technically small solar panels that are installed on your windows instead of the rooftops and with this, they have their advantages over other photovoltaic systems:
- Solar blinds placement: First of all, solar blinds are the most convenient option for people who don’t have their own apartment, as they are easier to install and remove. Furthermore, they don’t require having a suitable, large rooftop space.
- Solar shades are cheaper than solar panels: As presented in the table above, the solar blinds could cost half the price of a solar panel system. Therefore, depending on your household’s electricity usage, they could be a better option for getting on the sustainability track.
- Better aesthetic design: There are some people that consider rooftop solar panels to be ugly and unaesthetic. Well, solar blinds are the exact opposite. They look like regular exterior sunshades and apart from that, the blinds come in different colours which allows you to pick the one that fits both your taste and the building’s design.
Where to Buy Solar Blinds? UK Solar Shades Suppliers
With the advancements in solar panel technology and the support from public subsidies, the future of solar power in the UK seems to be very bright. In addition, solar blinds don’t require rooftop space and help reduce the installation costs of solar panels. Therefore, if you are renting an apartment or your building doesn’t have a suitable roof, then solar sunshades might be the perfect option for you.
If you would like to receive more information on solar blinds and how you can save money on your electricity bill, you can fill in our non-binding form and we will provide you with up to 4 quotes. This service is free of charge and it can only benefit you.
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