Are Solar Panels worth installing in the UK?
Installing solar panel systems in the UK is a significant investment, even though solar installation prices have come down in recent times. There are many variables that dictate the cost of a new installation, however, depending on the system you install, you should see a positive ROI at some point before the setup needs replacing.
If you can afford to convert your energy consumption into a renewable option, there are many advantages. The more people, families, and businesses that convert to renewables, the better it is overall for the environment. We as a nation also become less dependant on our current energy providers (many owned by non-UK corporations) and will gain a sense of energy security over time.
Solar panel systems in the United Kingdom can provide on average around 40% of your home’s electrical energy, although this can be over 100% of your required electricity needs (depending on the size and type of installation).
How we can all help
Whether you move to renewables or not, we can all still make a difference in saving energy and reducing carbon. The easiest way to reduce carbon is by not wasting the energy that we already have and import into our homes. We should all do this as a Plan A, as there is no Planet B! According to the Association for Decentralised Energy, the UK wastes £9.5 Billion on energy with the majority being wasted on heating our homes. With minimal effort we can all save energy and some easy fixes could be to
- switch to energy-efficient LED lightbulbs
- seal up any gaps around your home
- turn appliances and lights off when not in use
- wash clothes at lower temperatures
- draughtproof your home
- only use the water needed when boiling your kettle
Simple changes like these can make a huge difference but you can obviously do more. If you want to find out how your building is working from a thermal perspective, then fill in the form below and get booked in for a thermal inspection and survey by our qualified thermographers. Also, find out more tips and tricks to save energy and reduce carbon emissions from the Energy Saving Trust. You can also get some great advice leaflets on conserving energy from the centre for sustainable energy here.
The Lifespan of Solar Panels
Generally, solar panels can last 20-25 years, however, technology is improving at a rapid pace and even systems installed only five years ago are using now obsolete tech. Although panels can last 25 years (and even beyond in some cases) they will lose efficiency and output over time. On average solar panels lose approximately 20% efficiency by the time they reach 25 years old.
Disposing of Solar Panels
If you were an early adopter of solar as a renewable source, the likelihood is that your equipment will be near or at the end of its lifespan. While we expect our panels to not degrade or delaminate during their lifespan, this causes us issues when the units come to the end of use. The construction of solar panels as a product with a 25-year lifespan means that they are built to last, however, this also makes panels difficult or almost financially impossible to recycle. The International Renewable Energy Agency estimated that in 2016 approximately 250,000 tonnes of solar panel waste was generated. With the growth of renewables over the last 20 years and with the product having an approx 25-year lifespan, IRENA forecasts up to 78 million tonnes of solar panel waste being produced by 2050.
With this in mind, we should do everything we can to keep them in tip-top condition by regular maintenance.
Contact us now to find out how maintenance can make a difference in saving energy and reducing carbon.