- Cut your electricity bills. Sunlight is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation, your electricity costs will be reduced.
- Sell electricity back to the grid. If your system is producing more electricity than you need, you can sell the surplus back to the grid through buy back tariff.
- Cut your carbon footprint. Solar electricity is green renewable energy and doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants. A typical home solar PV system could save over a tonne and a half of carbon dioxide per year – that’s more than 30 tonnes over its lifetime.
How do solar panels (PV) cells work?
PV cells are made from layers of semi-conducting material, usually silicon. When light shines on the cell it creates an electric field across the layers. The stronger the sunshine, the more electricity is produced. Groups of cells are mounted together in panels or modules that can either be mounted on your roof or on the ground.
The power of a PV cell is measured in kilowatts peak (kWp). That’s the rate at which it generates energy at peak performance in full direct sunlight during the summer. PV cells come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most PV systems are made up of panels that fit on top of an existing roof, but you can also fit solar tiles.
Cost and savings in the Channel Islands
A 4kWp system can generate around 4,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year in the Channel Islands. It will save nearly two tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.
It is always more efficient to use the solar energy onsite rather than exporting it back to the grid. If your home or business has a high electrical demand then you will find your return on investment much quicker. Batteries are an ideal way of capturing all the energy produced by the solar and stored electricity can be used throughout the night.
The average domestic solar PV system is 4kWp and costs £5,000 – 8,000 (including GST at 5 per cent).
Solar PV needs little maintenance – you’ll just need to keep the panels relatively clean and make sure trees don’t begin to overshadow them. In the UK panels that are tilted at 15° or more have the additional benefit of being cleaned by rainfall to ensure optimal performance. Debris is more likely to accumulate if you have ground mounted panels.
Once fitted, Isle-eco will leave written details of any maintenance checks that you should carry out from time to time to ensure everything is working properly. This will include details of the main inverter fault signals and key trouble-shooting guidance.. Keeping a close eye on your system and the amount of electricity it’s generating (alongside the weather conditions) will familiarise you with what to expect and alert you to when something might be wrong.
The panels should last 25 years or more, but the inverter is likely to need replacing some time during this period, at an estimated cost of £800.