Pros and Cons of Solar PV Panels

by | Sep 19, 2023 | Advice, All Articles, Reduce Energy Costs, Solar Energy

The Main Pros & Cons of Solar Panels and Other Considerations

If you are thinking of getting  , then it can be quite difficult to form an opinion as to whether they are right for you.

In this article, we will look to set out the main pros and cons of Solar Panels, as well as adding the all important context behind them. We hope this helps answer some of the questions you might have.

So let’s start at the top…

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The Pros

  • You can save money on your electricity bills.
  • Independence from the Grid.
  • Generate additional income from the electricity you don’t use.
  • Generate a cleaner energy, reducing your carbon footprint and less reliance on fossil fuels.
  • There is no noise pollution. 
  • Can be added to and scaled up if required. 
  • Little maintenance required. 
  • Much more affordable than previously with more finance options available.
  • Different types of panels availabl, suitable for homes, commercial property or large-scale “solar parks” or “solar farms”. 

As you can see – there are many pros to having Solar Panel. So those are the perks, what are the considerations?

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The Cons

  • The weather can impact on the effectiveness of the solar panels.
  • Not all rooves are suitable.
  • Installation can be expensive.
  • Once installed, it isn’t really viable to move them with you.

Putting context into these pros and cons.

Now we’ve listed the pros and cons – or “considerations” as I prefer to call them – let’s take a bit of a deeper dive into how some of the main points raised need to be thought about.

Save Money On Your Electricity Bills

The amount you could save really does depend on two things;

1. How much electricity your panels produce and,

2. How much electricity you actually use.

Even here though with these two factors there are still many factors. There are online calculators you can use which will give you very rough approximates. The best way to find out your true potential savings is to speak an energy expert and have them carry out a free survey.

What we do know though is that energy costs are rising – and they’re only heading one way at the moment. They also won’t ever come back down to what they were 12 months ago.

Realistically, whether it’s your home or business, saving money will be a huge plus point for getting Solar Panels.

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Did you know?

Solar is one of the quickest growth of the renewable energy sector. Here in the UK we produced 14.6 Gigawatt of Solar Energy in 2021 – with this set to increase again this year. There are approximately 970,000 homes with Solar Panels. One of the largest growth sectors for Solar is business properties and farming. And finally, Cornwall currently has the most installations in the UK.

Generating additional revenue from energy you don’t use.

It is possible for you to generate additional revenue if you are in a position where you generate too much electricity for your needs.

Whether it’s your home or business under the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), you can sell any excess energy back to the grid and get a price-per-unit. 

There are conditions which need to be met for this however, with the main ones being; 

  • A renewable energy system which meets the SEG eligibility requirements.
  • A meter that can provide half-hourly readings – typically a smart-meter which your energy provider could provide for you if you don’t already have one.
  • You need to show that the installation and installer are certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS)
  • Apply directly to one of the SEG energy suppliers. They will determine your tariff and whether it is fixed or variable. If you aren’t sure, then please do feel free to drop us a line first.

Benefits of Energy Storage or Electric Vehicle for Generating Revenue.

Another option for generating revenue here is if you have a battery energy storage system or an electric vehicle which has the ability to import/export electricity. 

This is something that is happening more and more and we will be touching on this in future articles – with real-life case studies both from our own homes and our clients! 

If you can’t wait and would like to explore whether you could be saving money on this now – then please do get in touch!

Reducing your carbon footprint

The push to achieve Net Zero relies on people and businesses switching away from fossil fuels and to renewable energy.

More homes and businesses utilising Solar Panels is a great start. 

It is estimated that the average residential home saves between 1.3-1.6 MILLION tonnes of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere – EACH YEAR!

When you look at the impact Solar can have for business as well, the contribution towards Net Zero is not only welcome, it’s a necessity towards reaching the target.

The Variety & Scalability of Solar Panel Options

One of the main perks of Solar Panels is that there is pretty much a solution that can be right for your needs.

There are solutions available for homes, business property and even large arrays for land – whilst the panels can be used for generating electricity but also there is an option for heating water too. 

You can also scale up your solar panels by adding more into your set-up if you require.

Whatsmore, by adding in Battery Storage to store the energy you produce you can achieve full self-sufficiency, without needing to draw electricity from the grid – effectively removing that cost.

solar panels or solar farms

Low Maintenance

Once your solar panels are in place there are two key parts of maintenance to carry out; 

1. Keep them clean
2. Keep them unobstructed

That’s it. And to be honest, they won’t need much cleaning given that most dirt or debris would slide off the surface as they are placed at an angle.

Most Solar Panels come with a 25 year warranty these days and you can reasonably expect to get 40-year upwards out of them.

The Cost / Return on Investment

The Cost / Return on Investment aspect of Solar Panels once again generally depends on 3 things;

  1. the amount of solar panels required and ease of install,
  2. the amount of electricity involved and
  3. what you decide to do with it. 

The good news is the cost of Solar Panels has come down around 70% over the last 10 years or so – and they are likely to still further reduce in cost as they become more widespread. 

Financial support is available for both domestic and commercial/large-scale commercial and agricultural projects. We would be more than happy to guide you on the financial options available for your particular circumstances. 

The Weather

It sounds obvious, but the UK climate isn’t always the most consistent. It isn’t always windy and almost certainly isn’t always sunny. 

This can obviously have an impact on solar and wind power.

With solar panels though, whilst it’s true they are much less efficient during the dull, cloud days, they aren’t completely redundant – the panels just need daylight to work in some capacity – it’s just not as efficiently as those long days of clear blue skies.

When solar panels are less effective then it usually means you have to rely on the grid.

However, there is another option. If you combine solar panels with Battery Energy Storage Systems, you can store surplus energy you generate and use it during the times when the panels are not as efficient. 

weather affects solar panel effectiveness

Not all rooves are suitable

The best type of roof for housing solar panels would be defined as;

  • South-facing (or south-west/south-east)
  • With between 15-50° slope slant 
  • A strong, stable roof with adequate support
  • Access to the area below the roof to house the inverter
  • Free from obstruction such as other buildings, trees or other objects which would block out the light.

Anything outside of these would mean that the performance of the solar panels would be significantly impacted – or in the case of a weak roof, not safe – meaning that they may not be a viable option for you.

Too costly to take with you if you move

It’s something that you should consider if you are looking to get significant benefits from having solar panels.  

This would mean that if this is your first home, or if you are a business with plans of moving to different premises anytime soon, installing solar panels might not be worthwhile yet. 

However, whilst it might be impractical to take them with you, if you do have them installed and move at some point in the future, they will make your property more appealing to potential buyers. 

In Summary : Solar Panels are a bit of a no-brainer in the right circumstances.

The fact is that Solar Panels are going to be a huge part of the transition to the renewables for many decades. With technology improving and costs reducing they are becoming more accessible than ever too.

There are certain circumstances where they might not be viable, but on the flip-side, for many homes and businesses in the UK they will make a lot of sense.

If you have any questions about Solar Panels then please feel free to leave us a comment or “chat online” with one of our team. Similarly, if you have Solar Panels and would like to share your views, please feel free to get involved in the discussion too.

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