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6 Commonly Asked Questions about Solar Energy

Q. How does solar power work?

When the sun shines onto a solar panel, the energy from the sunlight is absorbed by the PV cells in the panel. This energy is then converted from a DC to an AC current, which is what most households utilise, by passing it through an inverter. Following this, the electricity is either used in your house, stored in a battery, or sent back to the grid.

Q. Can a PV System increase the value of my home?

Yes, studies have shown that solar homes sell for 3-5% more than comparable non-solar homes. This means that if you are considering a solar installation, but are unsure as to whether you will be in your property long enough to see a full return on your investment, you can take comfort in the fact that you could regain most, if not all, of your investment when you decide to list your home.

Q. How long will my system last?

Most solar panels come with a warranty of between 25-30 years, and so this should act as a rough benchmark for your system's longevity. That being said, you should still expect to need to replace parts of your system throughout its lifetime, so this should be taken into account when working out the total cost of the system throughout its lifetime.

  • Battery warranties - 10-15 years

  • Inverter warranties - 5-10 years (extensions available)

Q. Do solar panels need bright sunshine to work?

No. Solar panels don’t need direct sunlight to function properly, they just require some level of daylight in order to generate energy. That said, the rate at which solar panels generate electricity varies depending on the amount of direct sunlight and the quality, size, number and location of panels in use, which is why creating the most efficient design possible is so important before having a system installed.

Solar panel technology is even effective in winter, an example being in February 2022, when solar was responsible for generating more than 20% of the electricity across the UK.

Q. What are the financial benefits of having a solar installation?

When you install a solar energy system on your property, you save money on your electricity bills and protect yourself against any fluctuation in energy rates. The total savings that you will experience is still dependent on the utility prices and policies in your area, however solar energy is a wise investment no matter where you live. On top of this, there are a number of schemes available, such as the SEG (Smart Export Guarantee) scheme, which allow you to earn money for what you export from your system, therefore adding to the potential financial benefits of installing a PV system.

Q. Can solar energy be stored?

Yes, in a domestic PV system solar energy can be stored for future use in an electric battery, meaning that if your system produces an excess on any given day, you can can save it to use at a time when you are not producing as much energy, like at night or in a power cut. Today, most solar energy is stored in lithium-ion, lead-acid, and flow batteries.

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