Guide to buying solar panels for your homes
Solar panels are touted as the future of energy. After all, the sun is non-exhaustible and harnessing its immense power for all our energy supplies makes sense. If you are thinking of rationalising your energy consumption and bills, consider installing solar panels at your homes to see the big difference.
A good chunk of our electricity bills goes towards heating water for showers, baths, cooking and providing heat against the cold. You might start with a simple solar panel for heating water and or for a few lights you have in the house. To ensure a rational decision, consider the following:
- Solar panel or solar photovoltaic (PV)
One of the first decisions you need to do is to determine if you can install a solar panel for water heating or a PV. PV panels are more expensive with investment costs starting at £7600. They are often labelled as investments because the energy you produce can be distributed to the national electricity grid for a fee. In contrast, solar panels for water heating are mostly for your consumption.
- Do your own research
Bear in mind that installing solar panels involve wiring and connecting your pipes to the panels and so on. Hence, you might want to ask an electrician or plumber to see how this all works out. Contact a solar panel company that also installs them to see if it does not involve too many modifications in the home which could still cost you money. For PV panels, you need a solid and big roof. Make sure that your home is well insulated including double glazing, wall, loft and roof insulation.
- Find out if you need permission to install solar panels in your home
As a rule, domestic solar panel systems do not require permits from the local councils. This applies more to commercial installations and heritage sites buildings.
- Canvass prices
It never hurts to canvass prices before buying materials. A solar panel typically costs from £3,000 to £5,000 giving you potential savings of up to £80 a year. At this rate, you have to calculate the life span of the panels and the maintenance costs involved. Panels require simple cleaning and wiping and this might be difficult to do when they are installed on the roof of your house.
Take advantage of the government incentive programmes which will give you rebates on solar panels installations. For solar water heating panels, the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) provides guaranteed tariffs and a one time payment to help set up the system. Solar panel photovoltaic system installations benefit from the feed-in-tariff (FIT) scheme which guarantees payments for 20 to 25 years. At the same time, participate in any project that might involve testing renewable energy sources for home insulation not only to decrease energy expenses, but also contribute to a greener planet.