Solar panels are worth installing if you are looking for a long-term investment. If you have solar panels on your roof, you can generate electricity for free. Solar power is generated by converting sunlight into electrical energy. When you have a good amount of sunlight, you will have a good generation. Since electricity is vital to us, generating electricity free can really reduce costs and increase savings.
Besides saving your electricity bill, you can also sell electricity to the electrical grid. There is a government-backed initiative called Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). It allows small-scale power generators to sell their electricity to the electric grid. The utility provider will pay for the low-carbon generation supplied to the utility lines.
So, besides the savings, when you sell the generated electricity to the grid, you can break even quicker.
Installing solar panels on one’s roof will only be worthwhile if that person gets higher returns to cover the investment quicker. As explained earlier, the return is the addition of electricity bill savings and income gained through selling electricity to the utility provider.
Therefore, there are two factors to consider, making sure your solar PV installation is worthwhile.
• Electricity consumptions of your home
• The size of your solar PV system
According to statistics, an average household with three people consumes 242 kWh of electricity per month. Based on the climatic conditions in the UK, average solar PV generation in the UK is around 59 units per kW of power per month. So, if you do the maths, an average household needs around 4kW of solar power to cover their electricity needs.
But the requirement may vary based on several distinct factors like no of residents in the house, amenities, and how long they use electrical equipment.
Size of the Solar PV System
The size of the solar PV system you can install on your roof depends on many factors.
• How much you can spend?
• The size of your roof
• What sort of return you are looking for?
Solar power is not for you if you are looking for quick returns and short paybacks. It is more like a long-term investment. It might take several years to break even. But afterward you, every penny you receive will be pure profits because there is very little maintenance involved in Solar PV systems.
The size of your roof is another decisive factor that can limit your return through solar. A solar panel has an area of around 2 square meters. If we assume that the wattage of the solar panel is 450W, you will need around 9 panels in total for a 4kW system on your roof. That means at least you will need 18 square meters (194 square feet) of roof area. If you have a larger roof, you can even consider installing a much larger system.
According to the solar PV market in the UK, you have to spend somewhere between £6000 to £8000 to install a 4kW system. By saving the electricity bill and selling extra generation to the grid through SEG, you can save approximately £270.00 each year. The saving might differ from one area to another. It will also differ from one utility provider to another.
The table given below shows the yearly electrical energy output of solar PV systems of varied sizes in the UK.
These are average values for each system size. There can be significant differences between these values based on your location and the utility provider.
The table below gives average savings for each system capacity, varying from 3kW to 6kW.
However, solar power is not only about monetary gains. It gives low-carbon electricity to the national grid. In other words, it reduces the burning of fossil fuels like coal to generate electricity. In this way, it helps both the environment and society as a whole. Therefore, solar is more about sustainability than just about profits. Solar gives a wonderful opportunity to all citizens to contribute to sustainability, which is a national need in the UK.