Solar panels are a solar photovoltaic system that converts the sun’s energy into electricity. Solar panels are constructed of a layer of thin semi-conducting material that is placed between a polymer resin and a sheet of glass. The semi-conducting material is energised when it is in daylight that then produces electricity.
A solar panel tends to be about 1.2 to 1.8 square metres in size producing between 180 to 250 watts. So, in order to produce 1kW of power, around 4 to 5 solar panels would be required.
Obviously, the more solar panels that you have installed on your roof the more expensive it will be to purchase the solar panel system but you will of course benefit by having a greater amount of electricity.
Normally, to install solar panels on your home’s roof, the installation company will need to erect scaffolding. Therefore when asking for a quote you should make sure that it includes the scaffolding costs.
Having erected the scaffolding it normally only takes a day to complete the installation of the solar panels on your home’s roof together with the rest of the system. The solar panel fixing brackets will be attached to the rafters in your loft so it is important that a surveyor has examined the rafters and the roof to make sure there are no issues that may impact on the installation. If everything is fine the solar panels will be attached to the fixing brackets.
A benefit of solar panels that is not always considered is the fact that they are relatively low in maintenance and, therefore, they have a potentially long life span – up to 25 years. You may need to clean the surface of the solar panels occasionally to remove dirt especially on low-pitched roofs.
Unlike solar hot water installations, these PV panels produce direct current (DC) electricity that, before being utilised in the home, needs to be converted to alternating current (AC) by the use of an inverter box normally located in the loft. Isolator switches are installed both after and before the inverter for safety reasons.
You will be able to monitor the amount of electricity being generated from a PV generation meter that will be installed in your property. In addition, the meter will let you know how much of your electricity that you have not used is transferred to the National Grid that will dictate the amount of money you will receive. If you choose to do this rather than store the surplus electricity for your own consumption a further cable will go to the consumer unit.
The cost of installing solar panels for the average home is in the region of £7,700 so it is not cheap but over a number of years it is possible to recoup your initial capital outlay and then start to make a profit if you decide to go down the option of selling your surplus electricity back to the National Grid.
So, as a starting point why not contact a solar panel installation company and get them to call around to your home to assess the suitability of you having solar panels installed and provide a quotation.