Should you get solar panels for your home?

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solar-panelSolar panels are appearing on more and more suburban rooftops, and it gets you to thinking about whether you should join the neighbours and get them fitted on your roof too.

Solar panels provide energy for your home, making it more energy efficient and, in the long run, reducing the amount you spend on energy bills.

They can be quite costly though, so you need to do your research before deciding if it’s the right move for you.

Before you start considering big alterations to your home in the name of saving energy and reducing costs, make sure that you are doing all the small things that can make a big difference. For example, are you using energy saving light bulbs and are your kitchen appliances designed with energy efficiency in mind? You should also check that your gas and electricity supplier is giving you the best possible deal, and consider changing supplier or trying to negotiate a new deal if not.

Installing solar panels means you can generate energy to power your home at least in part, meaning you have to buy less energy from the grid.

If you are able to generate more power than your home needs you can even sell energy back to the grid. You can also get money back from the government for the electricity you do use, through their feed-in tariffs. This means that as well as reducing your energy bills, solar panels can actually make you some money. This will help offset the costs of installing the panels, or you can reinvest it into further efficiencies for your home.

So how do solar panels work?

Each panel is made from photovoltaic cells which conduct electricity and create electric fields across the layers of each panel. This produces electricity which can be used to power appliances, lights and other electronic devices in your home. Although direct sunlight is the most effective, solar panels can still produce energy on cloudy days.

Often the decision to invest in solar panels depends on whether you expect to live in your home long enough to see the financial benefits of your energy savings.

However, it is worth noting that solar panels can increase the value of your home, and if your home is the only one in your locality which does not have solar panels then its value could potentially be reduced. So you should definitely keep an eye on how many panels you see going up on neighbours’ roofs.

It is sometimes the case that companies will provide and fit solar panels for significantly cheaper than their usual prices if several homes in an area all opt to have them fitted at the same time. So if you are seriously considering solar panels you should meet up with your neighbours to see if anyone else is having the same thought. It could create a real saving for everyone in the community if you all take the plunge together.

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