Solar panels: Are they worth it?

Definition: Solar electricity panels, also known as photovoltaics (PV) the panels capture the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity which can be used at home. 

What is solar energy and how does it work?

Solar energy is when the source of renewable energy can be used to power our homes, businesses, and communities. Essentially the technology is used to turn daylight into energy, with each solar panel being made up of small solar cells that turn the daylight into electric current. There is a misconception that solar panels only work in full sunshine, whilst this is correct sunnier days can generate more power, and solar panels will create electricity during all daylight hours. It is also important to remember that you do not need to use the energy as soon as it has been generated. The energy generated in the daytime can be stored in solar batteries and be used whenever. 

Solar panels are one of the most recognisable forms of renewable energy sources, as energy prices rise, so does the number of homes creating their renewable power. Solar panels can be worth it if you generate enough electricity and stay in the same house long enough. Solar panels absorb the sun’s energy to generate electricity for free, which can help reduce your electricity bills significantly. 

What are the advantages of solar energy? 

Reduction in electricity costs - To cut your annual electricity bills by up to £400+ a year when generating your power through solar panels. 

Carbon footprint - Solar power is a great source of clean energy and will help in contributing to the UK’s carbon reduction goals. As well as combating climate change, the reduction in air pollution is one of the challenges we’re facing globally.         

Low maintenance costs – Solar energy systems generally don’t require a lot of maintenance and only need to be kept relatively clean. 

What are the disadvantages of solar energy? 

Affordability – Whilst solar energy will help to reduce your electricity bill, making the initial investment in the purchase and installation of the panels can be costly.

Weather – You would only receive maximum benefits on days of full sunshine however solar PV systems can still generate electricity on cloudy days too.

Overall aesthetics – Whilst many individuals may not like how the panels look on their roof there is now the option to instead use new designs like integrated panels. The integrated panels no longer sit on top of roof tiles, they fit in with the roof tiles, so the overall aesthetic looks natural. ·         Each house is different – Each property requires a detailed survey to ensure the right solar package for your home. 

Solar panel costs and output by system size 

System Size                                      Yearly Energy Output                   Estimated Costs
3 kW panel system                            2,700 kWh                                   £5,000 - £6,000
4 kW panel system                            3,600 kWh                                   £6,000 - £8,000
5 kW panel system                            4,320 kWh                                   £7,000 - £9,000
6 kW panel system                            5,400 kWh                                   £8,000 - £10,000

*The figures in this table are based on systems using 250W panels.

Important factors to take into consideration: 

The size of your house and the number of rooms will influence the electricity usage, in addition to the number of appliances operated. Investing in solar energy could help when selling your home in the future. Renewable energy could make your property more attractive especially when potential buyers may be interested in how the panels could save them money. 

1. Location – Is the house a suitable location for solar power? Some buildings will not benefit from solar panels as they are not located in the right area or position. Solar panels will be much more inefficient in a built-up area, with surrounding tall buildings, trees, and any other obstructions.

2. Energy usage – Different homes use different amounts of electricity, and it’s important to work out the required energy usage for your home. The size of your house and the number of rooms within the property will ultimately influence your electricity usage. Electricity may be used for heating in addition to several appliances operated will have an impact overall.

3. Quality of the existing roof – Before purchasing solar panels, your roof should be professionally inspected as the solar panels will be roof-mounted and will add extra weight. The weight of an average solar panel is 20kg, depending on the number of panels used, the added weight could be a considerable amount. Older roofs could be subjected to rot, damage and infestation, and therefore older homes would need to be assessed and examined.

4. Cost vs time – Homeowners should ask themselves how long they intend to remain on the property. It’s important to take into consideration that the cost reduction will take a few years for the cost of the installation to be offset by the savings. If homeowners plan to remain in a property for a long time, solar panels can be a good investment. 

5. Quality of the installation – It’s important to seek out a reliable and reputable solar panel installation company that has been in the business for some years and can provide customer testimonials. The solar panel industry is a fast-growing market; therefore, homeowners should be assured they will receive relevant warranties with their solar panel installation. 

Britmet’s PV solar systems 

Britmet lightweight roofing offers a range of PV solar systems for all types of buildings and will assess the solar package which best suits your requirements. Britmet’s solar solutions assess all the financial benefits and pass them directly back to the client with cost-neutral options available. Britmet’s solar solutions have over 30 years of experience in the manufacture and installation of all roofing systems. 


Date Posted: 21st July 2022

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