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Home » Energy saving

5 reasons to use solar panels at home

Submitted by on Tuesday, 27 March 2012 Loading Add to favourites  4 Comments

solar-panel

As you know, we love our solar panels here at Chez Green.

We currently have two small panels that run the downstairs lighting but we plan to install more as finances allow.

During the winter we had several power cuts; living in a small village it’s not uncommon for us to have such blips in the electricity supply. These cuts have made me reflect on the wonders of microgeneration technologies, so today, I want to share some of the main reasons for why I love solar!

Energy Efficiency

Every time you use a solar panel to generate electricity you’re reducing your carbon footprint and increasing the energy efficiency of your home.

According to MyRedlandRoof, suppliers of solar power roofs, an average domestic solar energy system will provide about 40% of the energy requirements for a household. The Energy Saving Trust say a typical home solar PV system could save over a tonne of CO2 per year.

The thing I’ve noticed most about having solar panels is that we’re now more naturally energy conscious, especially during the winter. We know that we have a certain amount of electricity stored for lighting and once we use it all – the lights go out!

Money saving

It goes without saying that once the solar panels are installed there is little to do except sit back and start saving money. Every ten years or so you need to replace the inverter, and we’ve chosen to buy a new battery, but apart from that solar is maintenance free.

Self-sufficiency

I like the feeling of being ‘off-grid’, even if it’s only for our lights. I enjoy the sense of independence and self-sufficiency. None of us know what the future holds: how reliable our energy supplies will be or how much energy will cost, so I feel good about putting these self-sufficient measures in place.

Power cuts

As I mentioned earlier, we live in a village that is prone to power cuts. Several times the council have cut trees and severed an overhead power line, or storms have brought down others, plunging us into darkness!

It’s a great feeling to be able to continue ‘as normal’ in regards to lighting. Sure, candles are romantic, and torches are fun but it’s not so much fun when you find the torch has run out of batteries or you’ve misplaced the matches…

Adds value

I’m not sure of the exact figure but it seems certain to me that solar panels are an asset to your home. More and more of us, even if we’re not ‘green’, look favourably at saving money, so for every panel we buy means we’re adding value to our home.

One source reckoned solar panels add around 4% to the value of your home, while another said an average rate was £10k per house. Either way it looks good to me.

Do any of you have solar panels at home? What do you love most about them?

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4 Comments »

  • Saffie says:

    I’ve been thinking about whether or not they add value to the house too Mrs G. I guess they must do, I mean who isn’t going to love the idea of free electricity. My concern is whether you need to get up there to clean them?

  • Sarah Dean says:

    Most roof mounted PV systems are self cleaning as rain water tends to remove any surface dirt on the glass. During summer when rainfall drops and dust and bird droppings can stick , it may be worth getting them cleaned to reduce any shading on the panel. The ones with Mrs G in the photo are actually solar thermal rather than PV and after 5 years we havent had to clean them once – they’ve looked after themselves. Hope that helps, Sarah.

  • Mr.Green says:

    Hi Sarah, thanks for your comment. I guess the angle (pitch) of the roof plays a big part in how well they ‘self-clean’ as well as how well they convert sunlight to electricity. If the roof is a steep pitch, they seems to clean easier and shed leaf debris, whereas a shallow pitch is not so favourable. Our main problem is that our panels become covered in snow when it falls which renders them useless untill the sun melts it. We do have them mounted on a fairly shallow pitch roof however. The advantage is that during the summer months, the angle of incidence of sunlight is almost exactly 90 degrees, so efficiency is well up.

    One day, I want to make or buy a solar tracker and see how much more efficient the panels become. Any advice from http://deanandsun.co.uk much appreciated!

  • Sarah Dean says:

    Sure Gray and the little ones would be delighted to help you build one! Our SAP calcs use 30 degree pitch as optimum for catching rays