With the sun having provided energy for the planet for as long as it has existed, it follows that the invention of solar panels has been one of the greatest technological achievements of our lifetimes.
Things You Might Not Know About Solar Panels
1. Panels can be made from slate, tiles and lightweight films, each of which has benefits and disadvantages, so it is worth doing some research prior to investing.
2. Technology is improving so quickly that there are now flexible panels that can be used for tents and caravans.
3. Maintenance is vital, but you should get 25 or more years out of your panels.
4. A warranty of ten years is not unusual.
Prices are coming down as technologies are developed.
5. There are even options now to earn an income from your panels by selling excess energy back to the National Grid using the Feed-in Tariff (FiT), and loans and grants are available so panels are now more easily installed than ever before. FiT tariffs can help individuals offset the initial outlay and also the ongoing maintenance.
6. If you’re willing to give up some of your profits from a FiT, you might even be able to get free installation.
7. Most people would pay more for a house that comes with solar panels already in place.
How Solar Panels Work
Put very simplistically, light and heat from the sun’s rays arrive on earth and can be converted into energy using photovoltaic cells, made of silicon currently, that use electrons to generate electricity.
8. For Northern Ireland solar panels, the good news is that consistent bright sunlight is not required and the UK climate is as good for producing electricity as anywhere else in the world.
9. Fitting the panels is surprising easy, though it does need to be done by an accredited surveyor.
10. Building your own panels is also possible, even with limited DIY skills.
The Energy Saving Trust goes into more detail about the benefits of installing solar panels.
As we continually strive to use more renewable energy, solar panels in Northern Ireland will change the face of energy, both for domestic and commercial uses.
Expect this resource to grow as more and more people look to install panels on their property.