Home & Garden Green Living

Solar Panels, Your Home And System Size

So, you've decided that you want to do your bit to help the environment by installing solar power.
Well, either that or you've realised the fantastic potential benefits they can make to you financially, given the various government schemes on offer.
Indeed, solar panels will pay themselves off over time.
There are two government schemes for renewable energy generation with solar systems in the UK.
The first of these is known as the Feed In Tariff.
It is a gradual payment back over time - it isn't an upfront grant, so you will require a large upfront investment.
However, it means you will generate approximately £1,000 per year, although it will depend on the size of the system that you install.
If you go for a larger system, it will require a larger up front investment.
This is obvious - the cost of buying more solar panels will be significantly larger.
However, the labour costs will also be slightly larger, but not by a very large amount - per solar panel installed, with a larger system, labour costs will represent a smaller percentage.
This is known as economies of scale.
For this reason, larger solar panel installations will actually tend to pay themselves off more quickly than smaller solar panel systems.
It sounds great doesn't it? However, they will require you to have a bit more money upfront, but they are a better investment because you'll earn a higher percentage back.
When considering your system size, it's important to bear in mind if this will fit onto your roof itself.
Ideally, you will fit the system onto a south facing roof.
If your roof is slightly off south facing, then you could install it, but you will make a small loss in the efficiency.
Realistically, installing a solar power system on an East/West facing roof is unlikely to be financially viable, although it would obviously still help the environment to some extent.
Another important factor is not only the space available in terms of the size of your roof, but whether or not there are any obstructions, such as windows or skylights actually in the roof itself, or large chimney stacks.
Shading is also an important factor.
If any areas of your roof are shaded for a large portion of the day, then it really is not a good idea to install a system on those areas.
Once the system is actually installed, then it's also important to make sure that you don't let the roof become over-shaded, so keep chopping back anything that will obscure the sun.
In reality, this is not often a problem because roofs are normally not shaded because trees would have to be very large.

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