British Gas

British Gas

November 02, 2011 05:00 ET

What You Need to Know About Buying Solar Panels

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Nov. 2, 2011) - Solar panels offer a fantastic way to decrease your carbon footprint, but they also help you to make savings on your utility bills in the long term. Solar photovoltaic (or Solar PV) panels are a fantastic to first step to alleviating stress placed on the national grid. Solar PV panels are used to generate electricity from the energy of the sun and this electricity can be used to power numerous household appliances and lighting.

Solar PV panels can be used on buildings with roofs or walls that face, unobstructed, up to 90 degrees of south. If the solar PV panel is in shadow for parts of the day it will not generate its full capacity of electricity, but it will generate electricity, none the less. It should be noted that these systems are more expensive than normal water-heating systems, but although they have a higher price tag, they do accumulate more savings over time. According to the Savings Trust, these solar PV panel systems (tested with a 2kWp unit) could save you nearly £200 per year on your electricity bill and could provide you with up to 40% of your annual electricity needs.

One of the main benefits of solar panels is that they qualify for what is called feed-in tariffs. These schemes guarantee payments for all the electricity that you system generates, meaning that you could potentially even make money by installing one of these systems.

With it being quite an expensive investment, it is vital to know what you are buying and how you should go about deciding on a system that meets your home's demand. These systems vary in price, ranging from £8,000 to £14,000 depending on the size of the system, however the structure of the building to be installed on is also considered. That is because some systems use solar tiles as opposed to normal solar panels.

Before buying a solar PV system you should check that the company installing them has the correct expertise and track record. You should also establish the numbers involved, from projected savings to an estimated payback time and even the profits you could make from the feed-in tariff. These factors will determine whether a solar PV panel will in fact be a viable option.

You must also examine your roof with regards to its tilt and orientation to check how close it is to ideal; ideal being a perfectly south facing roof with a tilt of 30 degrees.

Consider these factors before making such a serious purchase, but if you can afford it could help save, perhaps even make, money as well as having a positive effect on your home's carbon footprint.

Contact Information