Solar panels are the subject of heated debate among homeowners because of a misconception about how they work.
Solar panels need daylight, rather than sunshine, to produce electricity. Solar energy is around us all the time in daylight hours which is why earth is warm enough for us to live on.
1 There are two types of solar panel
Photovoltaic solar panels, often referred to as solar PV panels, capture the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity that can be used in your home.
Solar thermal panels, on the other hand, cut down on your heating bills and also provide the energy needed for hot water. Both will require solar panel fixings that securely attach the panel to your roof.
2 You need a south-facing roof
Solar panels work best when they are positioned in the direction of the sun. In the northern hemisphere, that means having them facing south. This way the full arc of the sun, which rises in the east and sets in the west, is harnessed.
Providing your roof is unshaded between 10am and 4pm, there is ample opportunity to catch the solar energy.
3 The property needs an Energy Performance Certificate grading of D or above
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) rate how energy efficient a building is, with grade A being highly efficient, down the scale to G.
The more energy efficient your property is, the more benefit you will derive from solar panels. At a grade D rating, experts say that a property will benefit from the full feed-in payments that are made for any excess electrify generated by your panels that is sent to the National Grid.
4 You can still get the best offers on energy supply prices
Fitting solar panels does not lock you into your energy provider. The feed-in tariff is supported by a large number of suppliers. For the small amount of electricity that you may use after having the panels fitted, you can still get the best deal.
5 No matter where you live, solar panels will save you money
It is said that solar panels only function well in places drenched in daily sunshine but this is not the case. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that solar panels in Manchester could earn and save a household a combined £295 a year, while solar panels in London could save a combined £325 and £285 in Edinburgh.
6 Solar panels add value to your property
Homes with solar panels are energy efficient, which can make the property an attractive proposition to buyers.
Solar panels can also save you money. How much depends on the number of panels installed, whether your roof is south facing and how energy efficient your property already is.
This content is supplied by Balustrade Components, a company based in Cannock, Staffordshire, that stocks specialist fixings and clamps, including those used to attach solar panels to roofs.