Every technology has its pros and cons, and solar energy technology is no exception. From being one of the cleanest energy sources to being one with varying energy output every hour, day and season. Its reliability is justified by the fact that it directly depends on the sun, similar to its intermittency, which questions the same justification.

The pros of solar energy outweigh its cons by a fair margin. Like the fact that the amount (173000 Terawatts) of solar energy striking Earth continuously is 10000 times the world energy consumption [1]. The sun’s position to Earth keeps on changing, and we are alive because of that change. To harness and use energy from the sun is an evolved science.
Grey winters and overcast days usually make people in the UK a bit sceptic about the use and purpose of solar energy.

However, the UK is among the top 3 countries in the region to install solar power plants, after Germany and Italy [2]. Let us look at the things which make solar energy precious and which don’t.

Advantages of Solar Energy in the UK

Clean and Sustainable

Solar photovoltaic panels capture the light of the sun and convert it into electricity, whereas solar thermal panels turn that heat of the sun into hot water and steam. The solar energy process is so clean that the industrial revolution of the UK under smoke and pollution vanishes away from the common sight. A typical UK home can save 1.3 to 1.6 tonnes of carbon per year by installing a solar photovoltaic PV system[3].

A Renewable Source of Energy

The sun is the source of life on this planet, and it will always remain so. Solar panels generate electricity for at least 25 years as per the manufacturer’s warranty. Now, the sun renews itself every single day, and it will supply unlimited free energy to the solar panels for the years they are installed. The popular demand of the masses to offset the use of fossil fuels is pillared by technologies like solar energy, which is the most popular renewable source.

Pays for itself

Electricity from solar photovoltaic panels or heat from solar thermal panels does have initial costs for the system and its installation. Earlier in the UK, a scheme like Feed-in Tariff was very profitable and still are for people enrolled in it and new scheme like the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)[4] makes solar installations precious. Also, the fact that there is no expenditure on buying the actual source of the sun makes it a profitable choice. If a technology pays for itself and does good for the environment and you, your petrol engine on wheels will be envious
.

Profitable investment

The reduction in energy bills and support from the UK government to make solar energy a profitable investment is doing well for the people and the planet. The price of grid electricity is on a gradual increase with time, and people are saying no to coal. So solar panels if looked upon as an investment will generate electricity at the same rate for at least 25 years. After 25 years, the gap between costs of electricity produced from solar panels will be far less than the electricity supplied by the grid. This scenario makes solar energy a profitable investment, like government bonds etc.

Job creation and reduce import

Solar energy is a rising technology among the masses in the UK. As more and more people adapt to it, more workforce is required. This has started happening and Universities and Colleges have specific courses related to solar energy in their curriculum. The skilled workforce is joining this clean energy technology with great enthusiasm. On the other hand, with increasing, solar energy sources at home will reduce any obligation to import fuels from overseas.

Low maintenance

This technology only requires you to clean the panels for more efficiency. Dirty panels will not produce much energy, and cleaning them at regular intervals is desired. Other expenditures are covered in guarantees as per the component and its manufacturer’s discretion. Otherwise, solar systems just sit on the roofs or the ground and generate electricity or heat whenever the sun is there.

Solar Panels Quotation

Disadvantages of Solar Energy in the UK

It is Expensive

Even the prices of installing solar energy systems like solar photovoltaic in particular have fallen to a great extent in the last few decades. The price of solar energy systems are still expensive. For an average UK house with a system installation of 3-4 kW, the price ranges from £5000, to £6000[5]. Even government supports solar energy installations; the price bracket in which it lies is expensive.

Energy storage

Solar is only available when the sun is available, and the need for energy storage is obviously required for off-grid systems. In places where electricity grid network is not available or where the homeowner does not want to get grid electricity, energy storage in the form of batteries is required. Adding batteries to solar installation makes an ideal choice to completely use the resource, but also adds a high cost to the whole system.

Weather condition

The UK being an island is affected by varying climate conditions all across the year. Insolation level or the radiation of the sun in many parts of the UK is just adequate for a solar installation. A depth survey of site and location with appropriate system design and costing is required to install a profitable solar energy system. The low-temperature conditions in the UK make solar panels more efficient, but a good amount of sunlight is required to make them actually work.

Space and refurbishment

Large scale solar systems are best suited on the ground with no shade on them. Small scale solar on home rooftops requires an additional survey for the strength of the roof and amendments based on it to install a system. The load-bearing capacity of the roofs and wiring design of the entire system requires some refurbishments along the way. It is best suited to plan and install a solar system for new build constructions for better layout and reduced costs.

Sources:

[1] https://news.mit.edu/2011/energy-scale-part3-1026
[2] https://www.nsenergybusiness.com/features/solar-power-europe/
[3] https://www.forbes.com/uk/advisor/energy/how-solar-power-can-cut-your-bills-and-your-carbon-footprint/#:~:text=The%20Energy%20Saving%20Trust%20says,in%20the%20UK%20you%20live.
[4] https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/advice/smart-export-guarantee/
[5] https://www.theecoexperts.co.uk/solar-panels/cost#:~:text=Solar%20panels%20for%20the%20average,around%2020m%C2%B2%20of%20roof%20space.

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