Solar panels have become an increasingly popular choice for homeowners in the UK, and for a good reason. Installing solar panels can help reduce household bills, generate electricity for your home, and even earn you money through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of solar panels for micro-home generation and energy storage and how they can help you save money, outline the space requirements, and planning permission conditions. Going green is no longer just a buzzword; it’s a lifestyle many of us embrace to make our homes more eco-friendly.
What are Solar Panels, and How do they Work?
Solar panels (PV) are devices that convert sunlight into electricity — consisting of photovoltaic cells that absorb light and convert it into electrical energy. The electricity generated by solar panels is DC (direct current), which is then converted to AC (alternating current) using an inverter. AC electricity is what we use in our homes to power our appliances, charge batteries for use at night, or send any surplus energy back to the grid.
Space Requirements for Solar Panels
The amount of space needed for solar panels depends on the size of the system and the amount of electricity you want to generate. For example, a 4kW solar panel system requires around 25 to 30 square metres of roof space. However, it’s worth noting that solar panels don’t have to be installed on a roof. They can also be placed on the ground or a wall using a solar panel bracket. South-facing areas are best, and any shading from buildings or trees should be minimised.
Planning Permission Requirements
In most cases, you won’t need planning permission to install solar panels on your property. However, you must apply for planning permission if your property is a Listed Building or in a Conservation Area. It’s also worth checking with your local council to see if there are any other requirements or restrictions.
Benefits of Solar Panels for Micro Home Generation and Energy Storage
One of the main benefits of installing solar panels for micro-home generation and energy storage is that they can significantly reduce your energy bills. In addition, by generating your own electricity, you’ll be less reliant on the National Grid, so you’ll have to buy less electricity from energy suppliers. If you are an electric car owner charging on a sunny day, you’re effectively storing energy for free motoring!
Earn Money with the Smart Export Guarantee
The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) is a government-backed scheme that allows you to earn money by exporting excess electricity back to the National Grid. Under the scheme, energy suppliers must offer a minimum tariff for each kilowatt-hour of electricity exported back to the grid.
Energy Storage for 24/7 Power
Connecting your solar panels to a battery storage system allows you to store excess electricity generated during the day for use at night. This means you’ll be able to power your home with solar energy 24/7, reducing your reliance on the National Grid even further.
Life Expectancy of Solar Panels and Batteries
The life expectancy of solar panels and batteries depends on various factors, such as the quality of the equipment, the amount of sunlight received, and how well they are maintained. On average, solar panels have a lifespan of around 25 years, while batteries have a lifespan of approximately 10-15 years. Unfortunately, from experience, inverters do not last as long as PV panels. However, there are insurance-backed guarantees available from many installers. Therefore, choosing an established energy provider installation should offer extra peace of mind and provide a gateway into selling surplus energy back to the grid.
Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) Technology
Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology is an alternative to home battery storage that allows you to use the battery in your electric vehicle to power your home. This means you can use the excess energy generated by your solar panels to charge your electric vehicle during the day and then use the battery in your vehicle to power your home at night. V2G technology is still in its early stages but could potentially revolutionise how we generate and use electricity.
UK Energy Providers that Offer PV Installation Services
Several energy providers in the UK offer PV installation services, including Octopus, Good Energy, Ovo, British Gas, E.ON, and SSE. These companies can provide a complete solar panel system, including installation, maintenance, and monitoring. It’s worth comparing prices and services from different providers to find the best deal.
Increasing issues with energy security, climate change, and rising prices make home energy generation a viable option for homeowners. Especially if you are an electric car owner or considering switching from fossil fuel-powered vehicles.