Since the beginning of time, people have been fascinated with the sun. We used it to tell time and relied on its warmth to grow our crops and sustain our population. But for years, we have been reliant on electricity to give us light in our homes and our businesses. This has created a huge amount of pollution, as well as driving up the cost of energy for everyone. Technological advancements have allowed us to harness the sun’s power using solar panels, creating a new age for power. Today, we wanted to give you a little insight into what solar energy is all about, and how it could benefit you at home, and at work.
What Is Solar Energy?
Solar power is a type of energy harnessed from the power of the sun’s rays. There’s no need to mine coal or oil, destroy landscapes or worry about shortages, it’s the greenest source of energy. Just like the wind, solar power is a virtually unlimited and in exhaustible fuel resource that does not require mining. And the best part is you can harness it yourself, all you need is the right equipment to be come energy self-sufficient, and help save the environment too.
The solar panels you commonly see installed on the roofs of private homes or business properties are PV cells make from layers of semi-conducting material. This is usually silicon but could be other things. These cells are activated when light shines on them, creating a small electrical field across all the layers. The stronger the sunshine, the stronger the electrical field becomes, and the more electricity is produced. Dozens of these cells are often placed together to maximise effectiveness, sometimes powering entire homes in the height of summer.
The cells used in solar PV are measured in a unique way called kilowatts peak (kWp). This measures the rate of electricity generation in full direct sunlight during summer. In real-world terms – a 4kWp system can generate, on average, around 3,800-kilowatt hours of electricity every single year. This is roughly the same as a typical household’s electricity consumption. But the reason it is fast overtaking gas as the preferred power source is this-it is cheaper top produce and can save nearly 2 tonnes of CO2 from being pumped into the atmosphere every year.
Living Off-The Grid
For most people, being able to fund their electricity bill using natural sunlight is a dream. It could save you hundreds over the course of a single year, and can come in handy in an emergency! But as well as the obvious benefits above, there are a few other great advantages to solar PV panels. While they might cost a little to install, the benefits vastly outweigh the drawbacks. Some of the benefits you will see from solar PV include:
Low Monthly Rates:
Despite the initial cost, installing renewable energy will save you plenty on your monthly power bill. Anything you produce yourself will cut back on what you need to pay the power company. If you produce more than you use, you can sell it back for a profit!
If you prefer wide open spaces, refreshing views of nature, or the peace of rural life to noisy, rude neighbours, you can benefit from renewable energy. Producing your own power will give you the freedom to live just about anywhere you want.
Positive Environmental Impact:
And of course, the environmental impact of choosing renewable power is huge. By going off-grid, you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint and doing your bit to prevent climate change. And the best part? All of those benefits apply to business premises as well as residential.
So if you own a business property, solar panels could be an incredibly good investment. Not to mention there are always grants available for businesses looking to install solar panels, working as an incentive to help reduce the Co2 emissions of our country. Just ask your local authorities what schemes they are running to find out how you could save money on the cost of installing solar panels.
As electricians, we’re always looking for ways to help our customers with cost-effective energy solutions, whether that’s fixing old wiring, rerouting or removing damaged fixtures or advising about solar panels. If you’re interested in knowing more about solar panels, just get in touch with the team today.