Solar panels have become increasingly popular among UK homeowners looking to reduce their energy bills and carbon footprint. Rising energy prices and growing concerns about climate change have prompted many people to seek out alternative energy sources. Solar has emerged as one of the most viable and accessible options. Installing solar panels on your roof allows you to generate your own clean, renewable energy. These clever systems harness the sun’s power and convert it into electricity that you can use to power your home.

Despite the UK’s reputation for cloudy weather, solar panels can still generate a significant amount of electricity, even on overcast days. In fact, the UK receives enough sunlight to make solar energy a viable option for most homeowners.

Advances in solar technology mean solar panels are more efficient and affordable than ever, making them accessible to a wider range of people. The UK Government has also played a role in promoting solar energy adoption. Initiatives like the Smart Export Guarantee scheme incentivise homeowners to install solar panels on their properties and allow them to earn money by selling excess electricity back to the grid, making solar an even more attractive investment.

This article takes a closer look at domestic solar panels and how they work. We’ll explore the science behind solar energy and examine the components that make up a solar system. Whether you’re considering solar panels for your home or simply curious about this fascinating technology, this article will provide you with a comprehensive overview of how solar panels work and why they’re a popular choice.

Solar panels: the basics

Photovoltaic (PV) cells are the heart of the solar panel. They’re made from silicon, a semiconductor material that can convert sunlight into electricity. Their silicon layers are sandwiched between metal contacts and encased in a glass and metal frame for protection. To generate a significant amount of electricity, you’ll need a solar array – a group of solar panels arranged together, usually on your roof. The panels are strategically placed to maximise their exposure to sunlight throughout the day.

When sunlight hits the PV cells, a remarkable process called the photovoltaic effect takes place. The photons in the sunlight knock electrons loose from the silicon atoms, creating an electrical current. The metal contacts in the solar panel capture this current and transmit it through the wires connecting the individual cells and into the inverter.  

The electricity your solar panels generate is direct current (DC), but the appliances in your home use alternating current (AC). The inverter converts the DC electricity into AC electricity. Once the inverter has converted the electricity from DC to AC, it feeds into your home’s main electrical panel, where it can be distributed throughout your home, powering your lights, appliances and other devices.

With your solar panel system up and running, you can start enjoying the benefits of free, clean electricity. Your solar panels will generate electricity whenever the sun shines, even on cloudy days. This electricity will power your home appliances, reducing your reliance on the grid and lowering your energy bills.

Net metering and feed-in tariffs

If your solar panels generate more electricity than your home needs, the excess will be sent back to the grid. This process is called net metering, and it can earn you money through feed-in tariffs. Your electricity provider will measure the amount of excess energy your solar panels generate and compensate you for it. This can further reduce your energy bills and, in some cases, even provide a small income.

While net metering is a great way to utilise excess solar energy, you can also store it for later use with a battery storage system. These systems consist of large batteries that can store the excess electricity your solar panels generate during the day. You can then use this stored energy to power your home at night or during power outages.

Maintenance and longevity

Solar panels are low maintenance but do require some occasional cleaning and upkeep to ensure they work at their best. Dust, dirt and debris can accumulate on the panels over time, reducing their efficiency. While you can clean your panels yourself with a hose and a soft brush, it’s usually safer to hire a professional cleaning service to save you from climbing up to your roof.

 

One of the great things about solar panels is that they’re built to last. Most solar panel systems have an expected lifespan of 25 to 30 years. Some can even last up to 50 years with proper maintenance. This means that once you’ve installed your solar panel system, you can enjoy decades of clean, free electricity.

 

For peace of mind, most solar panel manufacturers offer warranties and guarantees on their products. These typically cover the system’s performance and any defects in materials or workmanship. Some warranties even guarantee that your panels will produce a certain amount of electricity over their lifespan. Be sure to read the fine print and understand what’s covered before you buy. 

How can Electrical Innovations help?

Solar panels are a marvel of modern technology, harnessing the sun’s power to generate clean, renewable electricity for your home. They can help you reduce your energy bills and lower your carbon footprint. With a well-designed solar panel system, you can enjoy decades of free electricity and even earn money through net metering and feed-in tariffs.

So, why not take the first step towards a cleaner, greener future and explore our bespoke solar solutions? From solar panels to battery storage systems, we can help you harness the power of sustainable energy to save money and reduce your environmental impact. To find out more and for a free, no-obligation consultation and quote, get in touch today.