The Low Down on Solar Panels
It is the general consensus that, for the sake of the planet and all who inhabit it, the switch to renewable energy is necessary, nay, imperative if we are to ameliorate the damage we have wreaked. To that effect, here is some information on one of the most popular kinds of renewable energy: Solar Panels.
How do solar panels work?
Solar energy is a way of harnessing the energy of the sun and converting it into use for household power. Live Science explains the technicalities by saying solar panels work “by allowing photons, or particles of light, to knock electrons free from atoms, generating a flow of electricity”. The semi-conductive materials which sandwich the solar photovoltaic cells together are energised when contacted by photons (sunlight). This direct current is then converted into usable household energy by being passed through an inverter, which either directs the energy for local use or to the national grid.
What are the benefits of solar energy?
- For a standard kilowatt peak system, the Energy Saving Trust Estimates savings of around £85-£220 off your annual bill compared to traditional energy sources.
- Government incentives: For example the FIT (Feed In Tariff) which currently offers 3.89 pence per kilowatt hour of generated energy or the Export Tariff, which currently offers 5.24 pence per kilowatt hour of energy sent back to the grid.
- Nuclear and fossil fuel plants require up to 60,000 gallons of water per mega-watt hour during the energy production process: switching to solar means there is no such requirement.
- In 2016, households were responsible for one quarter of overall greenhouse gas emissions – again, switching to solar energy would wipe out that portion.
- Forest fires and desertification are a knock on effect of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by traditional energy sources – solar energy has no such effect and could therefore help save the habitats of countless animals.
- The carbon dioxide which bleeds into the air as a result of traditional energy sources is absorbed by the oceans, affecting its PH balance and endangering sea creatures – this can be avoided by using renewable energy sources instead.
- Unlike fossil fuels – the sun will never run out! It is an abundant, infinite and clean.
Are they difficult to maintain?
Absolutely not, all you really need to do is keep them clean. There are a few options for this;
- Purchase one of the many panel-cleaning kits available online
- Employ a solar panel cleaning company to carry out the cleaning for you
- Install an automatic cleaning system
- Invest in nano-coating, which deflects dirt and damaging particles, meaning that the above aren’t necessary
Also, if you’re conscious of reaping maximal benefits from your solar panels, monitoring software can be installed to notify you of any issues, to help make sure your panels are operating at full functionality.