What are the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy?

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What is solar energy?

Solar energy is a source of renewable energy that we can use to power our homes, businesses, and communities. With new storage methods and greater solar energy capacity in the UK increasing3, there are many reasons why you should consider generating your own electricity with solar.

Here are some details on how solar energy works and the pros and cons of this renewable energy source, so you can decide whether it’s the right choice for you and your home.

How does solar energy work?

Solar energy is generated from solar PV (photovoltaic) panels installed on homes, buildings, and solar farms across the world. They all essentially use the same technology to turn daylight into energy.

Each solar panel is made up of small solar cells that turn the daylight into electric current, which feed through an inverter into your home or other premises to power your lights and appliances. And what’s more, you don’t need to use the energy as soon as it’s generated. The energy generated in the daytime can be stored in solar batteries so that you can keep on using the power whenever you need it, even once the sun has set.

There’s a misconception that solar panels only work in full sunshine, and while sunnier days will generate more power than cloudy ones, solar panels will create electricity during all daylight hours whatever the weather.

What can solar power be used in the home?

  • Providing electricity – Solar PV panels can generate the electricity you need to light your home and power your appliances. If you make your home more energy-efficient at the same time as installing your solar energy system, you could find that your solar panels provide the bulk of your electricity needs.
  • Charging electric cars – If you have a hybrid or electric vehicle, you can use the energy generated by your solar panels to charge your car at home.

What are the advantages of solar energy?

There are many advantages to powering your home with solar energy:

  • Reduce your carbon footprint – Solar power is a source of clean energy so using it to power your home will mean you’re contributing to the UK achieving its carbon reduction goals – a vital step in helping to combat climate change. Cutting your carbon footprint will also mean you’re helping to protect wildlife habitats, communities, and economies that are threatened by a warming climate.
  • A renewable source of energy – As well as helping to combat climate change, renewable energies like solar also help to reduce air pollution, which is one of the biggest challenges we’re facing globally.
  • Easy to install – Solar panels can easily be installed on your roof. It will usually take only a day or so for your home to be up and running on solar energy. But it’s important to remember that the tilt and direction of your roof will have an impact on how much energy you can expect to get from your panels. With a range of systems available we can help you optimize your solar system to best match your needs.

Are there any potential disadvantages of solar energy?

While there are obviously many environmental and monetary benefits to installing solar energy in your home, there are also some factors to consider before making your decision:

  • Weather dependency – Solar PV systems reach maximum efficiency when it’s sunny. So although solar PV systems will still generate electricity on cloudy days, you’ll get the maximum benefits on days of full sunshine.
  • Aesthetics – Many people think they don’t like how panels look on their roof but with new designs like integrated panels, you won’t be able to tell the difference. With sleek, black-on-black modern panels now available; in-roof panels no longer sit on top roof tiles, they fit in with the roof tiles so they blend in, looking more natural.
  • Every house is different – Due to trees or shading around your property detailed surveys can be carried out in advance to ensure the right solar package for your home including making sure it’s monitored and optimized for the best solar self-generation.

Powering your home with solar panels is better for the environment than using fossil fuels and can reduce your reliance on the grid. By also installing battery storage technology, you can maximize the full benefits of your solar panels by using the energy you generate when it best suits you. This means you’ll import less electricity from the grid, saving you money on your energy bills and allowing you to have power regardless of grid interruptions or outages.

Renewable energy is increasingly popular as we move towards living more sustainable lives and solar and the battery is right at the heart of this sustainable energy future.

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