Save Money With Solar Energy

February 29, 2012 by Liam Raikes  
Filed under Family

While it is possible to save, and even make money with solar energy, this is a long way from being a get rich quick scheme. You have to be prepared to play the long game and wait for returns on your investment. If you are prepared to do that though then you can make a lot of money.

Save Money On Energy Bills

How much money you will be able to save is going to come down to the sort of system that is installed. You can either get PV solar panels or a solar thermal system, and in terms of savings every year you will be able to get over 100 with solar panels for your home.

As time goes by though you are probably going to see more and more savings, for the simple reason that conventional energy prices are predicted to carry on rising. Even as you produce the same amount of free energy, it will actually become more valuable and save you more.

Feed In Tariff

The feed in tariff is a government scheme which pays out for every unit of energy produced from your solar system. This scheme specifically applies to renewable electricity production, and it is in addition to the savings you’ll naturally be making as described above.

You will automatically qualify for this scheme if you use MCS accredited solar installers for the solar installation. Once the system has been set up it will take care of itself, monitoring how much energy you’re producing and paying you for every kilowatt hour of it.

This is a scheme that is guaranteed for 25 years, but solar cells add a significant amount to the value of your house so if you move before that time is up you will still be getting a financial benefit. It’s not possible to calculate precisely how much money would be generated of course, as it depends on the size and type of system. On average though it amounts to one thousand pounds a year.

Renewable Heat Incentives

You will be able to make use of the renewable heat incentive when it becomes available in 2011 for non-domestic users, and if you want it for your residence you’ll be able to use it from 2012. As with the feed in tariff, you’ll be paid for every unit of energy produced by the system.

In this case though, instead of electrical energy it will be heat energy. This is what applies to the solar thermal systems then, which heat your hot water.

Again, precisely how much you will get every year is impossible to say, and it might not be quite so much as you would get with a PV solar system but the installation costs should also be lower. The percentage return you will get is likely to be similar though.

What’s So Important About Renewable Energy?

Moving away from the personal financial gains for a moment, there is a wider societal importance to renewable energy. This comes in two areas, the environment and economic advantages.

By now everyone will have heard of the advantages to the environment in using renewable energy. It’s important in this respect because for every unit of energy produced cleanly, that is a unit of energy that does not have to be produced by burning fossil fuels. The reason that’s important is because through that’s how carbon dioxide is released, causing global warming.

While the survival of the environment is at stake, it is just as important for economic reasons because the economy is also at stake. Non-renewable energy forms will inevitably run out one day, so if we’re not using another form of energy to run the economy by that time it will completely collapse.

So it is very important that everyone that is able to gets involved with renewable energy sources like solar power, and there is an added bonus now for those that do as they will get a significant financial advantage.

You could obtain a free quote regarding solar panel installations for your home from the website Jonathan Raikes frequently writes articles at, Solar Energy UK.

categories:

Beginners Guide To Solar Power

February 7, 2012 by Liam Raikes  
Filed under Science

The function of a solar cell is very simple. It takes light, and it makes it into electricity. It’s very simple, but that doesn’t mean it is easy. Imagine if you were tasked to create something that could actually do that, most people wouldn’t know where to start. Well, by the end of this article, you’re not going to be an expert in how to build solar panels, but you should at least understand the principles involved.

How Does Light Become Electricity?

To answer this question of how it is that light becomes electricity, we have to be more clear about exactly what light is and what electricity is. There isn’t room to go into detail about this of course, but we can get a general idea.

A Photon

The most important thing to know about light when it comes to solar panels is that it can be viewed in two ways, as being made up of waves and as being made up of particles. In fact both is true, which is a bit strange, but this is something that has come out of quantum physics.

In terms of solar cells, the most useful way to think about light is as being made up of particles of light. That is what a photon is, it is the name for a particle of light. If you’re wondering how light can be thought of as being particle based, in terms of waves it is the smallest packet of waves that you can get (if that makes it any clearer!).

What Is Electricity?

Electricity consists of the uniform flow of electrons in a substance. The substance has to have certain qualities which allows this to happen, they have to be made up in a particular way. When the conditions are right, then we call that material conductive, because it can conduct electricity. This applies to metals mostly.

There is another type of material though which conducts electricity in a slightly different way. It still has to do with the electrons flowing, but this flow can be created by the existence of “holes” in which there should be an electron. This hole will attract an electron, so that is how electricity can flow as well. Substances that do this are called semiconductors.

Solar Cells

With this information, the way that a solar panel actually works can be described more easily. The first thing to know is that they are made of a semi-conductive substance, often silicone. The important thing about this is that when a photon hits the semiconductor which the cell is made of, it pushes an electron out of its orbit and this creates a “hole” in it, like the ones described above. This is what causes electricity to flow.

It’s not quite as simple as getting a semiconductor and hooking it up to some wires though. There are actually two halves, one of which has to be negatively charged and the other half has to be positively charged. In their normal state, these halves are balanced, but when light hits them the balance is upset and that is what makes the electrons move in a uniform way.

How The Solar Electricity Is Made Useful For Your House

A little bit more work has to be done before the electricity can be used in a house though. It comes out as direct current (DC) but houses run on alternating current (AC) so it has to be converted before it can actually be useful.

On the way to the converter, however, it makes a stop in a battery. This is a DC battery, and that’s where the electrical energy from the solar cells are stored, so that it can be used when needed.

If you are interested in becoming helping in the fight against global warming, go to Solar Energy UK to get more information about solar panels. That is the website where Cameron Knill enjoys writing more about renewable energy sources.

categories:

How Good Is Solar Energy In The UK?

January 7, 2012 by Liam Raikes  
Filed under Environment

With the UK not having a particularly warm or sunny climate, how much use can you get out of solar energy? That is what this article is going to explore. We’ll look at how solar cells work, what the environmental and financial benefits are, and so whether solar energy uk production is actually worth it.

How Solar Panels Work

With the UK being under cloud cover for much of the time, how much usage are you going to be able to get out of solar panels? The answer is a lot, because they do still work whether it is cloudy or not. That is not to say, however, that they do not work better, creating more electricity, when it is hot and sunny, but they do work. The reason for this is that they rely on light, not heat, to create electricity.

It is actually very complicated how this works, so this will only be a very brief overview. It comes down to the fact that they are made of light sensitive semi-conductive materials though. What this means is that when a photon (a particle of light) hits a solar cell it frees an electron. The flow of electrons is what electricity is, so solar cells can be set up in such a way that this creates a current of electricity.

The more energy the electrons are hit with though, the more electricity is created. So the more energy is in the light, the brighter it appears, the more energy the electrons will get. So they certainly do perform to a higher standard in warmer climates, but they will work just about anywhere.

The Environmental Benefits

On a global level solar energy is very important because of the effects that it has on the environments. Actually it would be more accurate to say that it is important because of the lack of effects it has. The normal sorts of energy that we use do have effects, we generally have to burn something and this can cause pollution and it usually means that carbon dioxide is being released into the atmosphere as well. This is the way that man-made global warming is created.

In terms of the environment, the main benefit they have is that they are clean. That’s why, strictly speaking, they don’t have any positive or negative effects on the environment. At least in isolation they do not, but when you consider that we have to get our energy from either clean or polluting sources, the more we get from clean sources the less we need polluting forms of energy. So that’s the way solar energy benefits the environment.

What Are The Economic Benefits?

It is an undeniable fact that one day non-renewable energy will run out. Even before that happens though, it will be too expensive to extract from the ground, meaning more energy will be needed to get it out than it will provide. When that happens, if we’re not already getting our energy from renewable sources the economy will collapse. We simply won’t have the energy for it to keep going. That’s the future benefits to the economy of solar energy.

On an individual level though, the benefits can be felt right now. These come in the form of savings, because you are not going to have to pay so much on energy bills when you are using solar energy. It also comes in the form of the feed in tariff though, which actually pays you money for the energy created. The reason this scheme is in place is to encourage people to use more solar energy so that we can get the aforementioned environmental benefits.

You can get a free quote on solar cells for your house from the website Oscar Watson also writes at, Solar Energy UK.

categories:

Getting Involved With Solar Energy

December 11, 2011 by Liam Raikes  
Filed under Environment

Although solar energy has its disadvantages, they are vastly outweighed by its advantages. At least, they should be. It is relatively efficient, compared to other renewable energy, and it is certainly relatively cheap compared with them. Also, individuals are able to get solar power for their own property.

Two factors are going to come into play when you are considering having this done. The major one in terms of practicality is going to be the issue of cost, can you afford it? Of course in that equation you have to take into account the savings you will be making in later years, not just the installation. The reason that you are probably going to be particularly interested in renewable energy, rather than some other financial investment, is the environmental benefits which using it accrues however.

Although the financial issue is more important in each individual practical case, the environmental concerns are potentially even more important if the worst case scenarios of not transitioning to renewable energy come to pass. If we cannot eventually transition to renewable energy then one of the following scenarios is virtually certain to occur. Firstly, we could run out of the fossil fuels, in fact as they are non-renewable sources that is certain to occur unless we choose to stop using them first. This will mean that we won’t be able to use electricity anymore, we won’t be able to use mechanical transportation, in short it will be a return to the dark ages. Before that occurs, however, we might get the effects of global warming, which could lead to such a shift in the climate that humans will no longer be able to survive on this planet.

When considering these scenarios, it might seem as if the financial aspect is going to be a distant second in terms of importance. However it is only when the technology is financially viable that people will, on a large scale, be able to use it. If we are able to create solar power as cheaply as we can get energy from oil, that will be the time when the transition will actually be made, so that is why the financial angle is actually just as important.

At the moment, however, there are many challenges to be faced in terms of the solar power that we are using. First of all, it is not very efficient. That means that for all the energy that the solar panels could potentially be getting from the sun, much of it is being wasted. That is why research is always being done in to how to make solar cells more efficient.

As already stated, the issue of how expensive solar installations are is also an important one. Although the government cannot really just give people free solar panels, they are doing what they can to make buying them a better investment, and therefore more attractive to people. Although this does not solve the problem that many people still will not be able to afford the installation costs in order to take advantage of the Feed in Tariff scheme.

If we were only able to power our homes with solar power, however, then it would only solve half the problem. There would still be the issue of all of the energy we use for transport. However we are able to put solar panels anywhere, even on cars, boats and planes. Eventually, therefore, just about everything could be powered by the sun.

The key questions now are whether the technological advancements in solar energy are going to come quickly enough to prevent global warming and economic collapse. Also, are people going to recognise the magnitude of the problems that are being faced and act accordingly by using renewable energy themselves? We are just going to have to wait and see what happens.

Daniel Rider enjoys writing about solar energy at Solar Energy UK.

categories:

Solar Energy Advantages

November 20, 2011 by Liam Raikes  
Filed under Environment

If someone told you that the future of the human race depended on our using more solar energy, you might think that they were crazy. If that were the case, then surely the politicians would be making more fuss about it, surely there would not be objections on aesthetic ground to sites being created, not if it is so important. However, through applying a little bit of logic, we can see that it is actually that important.

The reason that solar power, and indeed all forms of renewable energy, are so important is because of the drawbacks of the alternatives. At the moment most of the energy that we produce comes from fossil fuels. These are fossil fuels which pollute the atmosphere and which, one day, will run out. Actually though we will have problems before they run out, the way that the economy is able to run is that it has got access to cheap energy. As soon as we start running out of conventional energy sources then, it is going to become more expensive and the economy could completely collapse, leading to chaos.

The only way that we can avoid the problems caused by using non-renewable energy is by transitioning quickly to renewable energy. At the moment the most popular and widely used of this kind of energy of is solar power. This comes in the form of solar panels.

The way that solar panels are constructed is that they are formed of a collection of solar cells. To form a lot of energy, you can put the PV panels together as well, and make a solar farm. Or they can make solar cells which are actually extremely small, and they can be put in pocket devices, like calculators. The way that individuals can most effectively get involved, however, is by getting the ones that go on the roof of your house, so that you can power your home.

This is where a true sort of democracy, of power in the hands of the people, comes into play. There is no need to plead with the government to build solar power plants, or to encourage corporations to do so, all you have to do is buy solar panels for your own home. When enough people do that, our energy problems will be all but over.

The reason that everyone has not already had a solar installation, however, is the expense. To have solar panels installed on your roof is quite expensive. That’s why the government has introduced a scheme whereby you actually get money paid to you for the energy you produce with your solar cells. Not only will you be making the savings on your electricity bill then, you’ll also be making extra money. This makes them more profitable, and a more viable financial investment.

When we are talking about something as serious as the human race being wiped out potentially, considering financial matters might seem rather crude and inappropriate. However people cannot afford to ignore their finances, because that is what allows us to survive today. And of course if we did not survive today, then we would no future to speak of in any case.

The best thing about solar energy is probably that you have the opportunity to directly get involved in using it. You can stop being a part of the problem, reduce your carbon footprint, and make money at the same time when you get solar panels for your property.

David Brown writes at Solar Energy UK, where you can get more information and have solar panels installed.

categories: