Solar power has been with us for many years now, from the humble solar powered calculator through to the SEGS CSP installation in California's Mojave Desert (capable of producing an incredible 354 MW of power) - it is used to power all manner of devices and supplement grid supply in many areas. Although these massive solar power stations are incredibly interesting and capable of producing vast quantities of electricity (and the solar powered calculator is rather useful), the single most potentially life changing endeavour in solar panel technology lies in more accessible and affordable systems: domestic photovoltaics.
Photovoltaic cells convert light into electric current and are generally the technology behind domestic solar panel systems. Their affordability, durability and impressive efficiency makes them a viable power generation solution for literally millions of buildings across the length and breadth of the UK. The benefits of having a Solar PV are multitudinous and having a system installed will impact not only upon your carbon footprint but also have surprising financial repercussions.
The initial cost of installing a Solar Photovoltaic system is likely to be a relatively substantial investment, it is however very much an investment as opposed to an eco-motivated extravagance. The average home solar panel setup provides enough power to sustain your personal usage of electronic equipment, lighting and heating. In essence, by replacing the power you would obtain through the national grid a Solar PV system slashes your electricity costs from the off. Given the ever increasing energy prices in the UK, this saving is only likely to increase over time.
Due to a relatively recent governmental initiative, solar panels earn the homeowner money on two fronts. Any power generated that you do not use is siphoned off to the national grid - who pay you by the unit for your electricity. In addition to this, the government's 'feed-in tariff' earns you 41. 3p for every unit (kWh) that your system produces - whether you use it or sell it back to the grid. The feed-in tariff system essentially means that you are paid to power your home! Best of all, the feed-in tariff is guaranteed for 25 years - making it an assured source of income regardless of what the future may hold.
The combination of savings, earnings and carbon footprint reduction make domestic solar panel systems one of the most worthwhile endeavours a home owner can undertake. Conservative estimates point at a full return on investment likely to occur within 8-10 years of installation, meaning guaranteed income and savings for at least 15 years after the point at which you break even.
Why not find out if a Solar PV system is a viable investment for your home and reap the benefits for years to come?
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