In the UK, solar panels are becoming an increasingly popular choice for home and business owners looking to save on their energy bills and reduce their environmental impact.
Since their invention in the 1950s, solar energy technology has advanced enormously. Today, there is a wide range of solar panel systems available that not only reduce electricity costs by up to 65% but also blend seamlessly with many common UK roofing materials.
In this article, we’ll explain why solar panels are an excellent investment for both residential and commercial roofing and provide answers to many frequently asked questions so that you can make a more informed decision before making the switch to solar.
How Do Solar Panels Create Electricity?
Solar panels work by converting sunlight into electricity through a process called the photovoltaic effect.
Sunlight energises electrons in solar cells which creates a flow of direct current (DC) electricity. An inverter then converts the DC electricity into alternating current (AC), so that it can be used within homes and businesses.
Although direct sunlight provides the most optimal conditions for solar panels to work, they do not solely rely on direct sunlight. Even on cloudy and overcast days, solar panels are capable of converting diffuse sunlight into electricity which means that you can reap the benefits of solar energy all year round.
Do Solar Panels Work Well in the UK?
Absolutely. Not only do solar panels drastically reduce your electricity bills but they can also add value to your home or commercial premises.
Research conducted by Admiral found that properties with solar panels installed had a 25% higher valuation price than those without. So, if you’re ever planning to put your property on the market, solar panels are likely to give you an advantage over other vendors.
What’s more, the rainy weather that we get in the UK can actually help to optimise the performance of solar panels! This is because it washes away any dirt or debris that can prevent light from penetrating the surface.
What Are Integrated Solar Panels?
There are currently two main types of solar panels that are commonly used within the UK – integrated panels and on-roof systems.
Integrated Solar Panels
For homes and business owners alike, curb appeal is important and when seeking out solar panels, many customers want a product that is sleek and discrete. This is where integrated solar panels are a fantastic option.
Integrated solar tiles also benefit from being low maintenance and affordable so they are an excellent choice if you want a cost-effective option that won’t affect the overall appearance of your roof.
Plus, because of their quality design, they tend to be weather and fire-resistant, providing you with excellent roofing protection.
On Roof Solar Panels
As you might expect, on-roof solar panels sit directly above your roof and are more visible than integrated systems.
Unlike integrated solar panels which replace your roof tiles, on roof panels are hooked onto the roof rafters and then your original tiles are fitted back into place.
Due to the elevation above the roof line, on-roof panels have a bulkier appearance so they’re becoming increasingly less popular. In fact, most new homes today are built with integrated solar systems which are sleeker and create a more modern aesthetic.
Is My Roof Suitable for Solar Panels?
Luckily, most UK homes are suitable for solar panels because the average UK roof pitch is between 30 to 50°. In fact, even flat roofing systems can house solar panels when fitted with suitable drainage systems. This means that they can also be a great option for businesses with commercial roofing.
As we mentioned earlier, solar panels are designed to produce electricity when exposed to both direct and indirect sunlight; however, if you’re fortunate enough to have a south-facing roof then you’re likely to make some big savings! With a roof that is exposed to sunlight for a large amount of the day, your panels will generate even more electricity.
Are Solar Panels Affected By Shade?
When investing in solar panels, another important consideration is shade. If your roof sits adjacent to, or below a large tree, this will block sunlight and, ultimately, reduce the efficiency of your solar system.
To prevent shading issues and ensure that you get the most out of your solar panels, it can be worth cutting back any obtruding branches or positioning your panels only in areas that receive regular sunlight.
Any reputable solar panel installer will help you to combat shading issues by carrying out a thorough assessment of your roof prior to installation.
How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?
The number of solar panels needed for your roof will depend on considerations such as your roof size, orientation, solar panel efficiency, energy consumption, and available sunlight.
If you have a larger roof with optimal orientation and high panel efficiency, you may be able to reduce the number of panels required. However, it is best to consult with your local solar installer to determine the exact number of panels needed based on your specific situation and local regulations.
Do Solar Panels Require a Battery?
Not all solar energy systems rely on batteries to operate, however, they are highly recommended because they allow homeowners to become more self-sufficient and reduce reliance on the national grid.
What are the benefits of solar panel batteries?
Having a battery for your panels allows you to save up excess energy which can be utilised at night or during a power outage. This can provide an added convenience, energy security, and potential cost savings in the long run.
If you want to get a quote for solar panel batteries, contact us at S&J Bath Solar Energy and we’d be happy to help.
Solar Panel Grants for UK Homeowners
Between 2013 and 2015, the government offered a loan scheme to UK residents, allowing them to claim funding for energy efficient home improvements. Although this scheme is no longer available, if you have PV panels installed, you may be eligible to claim back money for the energy that you don’t use via the Smart Export Guarantee.
The SEG is a government backed initiative that enables owners of small-scale renewable energy systems, including solar panels, to receive payment for excess electricity they export to the grid. If you want to find out how you can make a saving, check out the official government guidelines for SEG.
How Do Solar Panels Help the Environment?
Solar panels play a significant role in helping the planet by promoting clean and renewable energy.
By harnessing the power of sunlight, solar panels generate electricity without producing harmful greenhouse gas emissions or contributing to air pollution. This reduces the reliance on fossil fuels, which are major contributors to climate change.
Because solar power is a renewable energy source that is virtually limitless, we can use it for many years to come which allows us to move towards a more sustainable future!
Where to Buy Solar Panels in the UK
Did you know that as well as roof repairs and installations, S&J Roofing now offers UK solar panels?
In order to offer more sustainable energy options and help our customers to save money on their electricity bills, we recently set up our sister company S&J Bath Solar Energy.
At S&J Solar Energy, we use the latest Marley SolarTile products which blend seamlessly into your roofing system. With outstanding performance, fireproofing and advanced wind resistance, you get peace of mind knowing that you’re investing in a premium quality product that will be installed by experts. If you’ve got any questions about solar panel installation or want to get a quote for solar panels in the Bath area, do not hesitate to contact us on 01225 951223 or fill out our contact form.