What Are Solar Panels?
Solar panels collect clean renewable energy in the form of sunlight, and convert that light into electricity.
Solar panels are comprised of several individual solar cells which are themselves composed of layers of silicon, phosphorous (which provides the negative charge), and boron (which provides the positive charge).
Solar Panels are available either as Photo Voltaic (PV) or Thermal panel types:
Solar PV are used for the creation of energy. There is a wide array of sizes and types of solar PV panels, you can choose from.
Thermal Panels are used for the heating of water and central heating systems only.
How Do Solar Panels Work?
Solar panels work by absorbing photons from sunlight and initiating an electric current. The resulting energy generated from photons striking the surface of the solar panel allows electrons to be knocked out of their atomic orbits and released into the electric field generated by the solar cells, which then pull these free electrons into a directional current. This entire process is known as the Photovoltaic Effect.
A solar panel system works with an invertor that is linked with your energy supply.
If you create more energy than you use, you can either keep it on-site using battery storage, or you can feed the excess energy back to the national grid and get a small payment for it.
In the UK, many house owners and business owners now use battery storage to link with their electric vehicle charging points.
Advantages of Solar Panels
Solar power is both a clean and a renewable source of energy, and have no moving parts with very little maintenance required.
Due to high energy prices, which are likely to stay with us for a while, the payback time for solar panel installation has dropped from around 8 years to 4 years or less. This makes solar a great investment, as our warranted products give you a minimum 25-year lifespan.
Once a system has paid for its initial installation costs, the electricity it produces for the remainder of the system's lifespan is absolutely free! For grid-tie solar power system owners, the benefits begin from the moment the system comes online, potentially eliminating monthly electric bills.
We can fit solar PV and Thermal panels to your roofs or gardens and fields. In addition to this, we have many other solutions that may suit you better, such as tubular solar solutions that you can lay flat on the ground or hang vertically off the side of a building.
Solar Panel Costs
Here at Gaeltel, we typically include the installation costs of solar hardware in our quotation. It is important to be aware that installation is charged on a per panel basis, so will reduce substantially the more panels you buy.
Based on the current energy prices (March 2022) a 10 panel, 400 watt array of solar PV would cost around £8,500 + VAT including installation. This would create enough energy to save you £35,000 over its warranted life time. If you allow for an annual price increase in electricity of around 6% per annum, your actual savings over 25 years would be in excess of £ 70,000.
Equally, a larger solution providing you with 50,000 kWh per annum - indexed with a 6% annual Energy price increase - would create 25 year savings of £875,000.
However, if your combined gas and electricity usage is in excess of £425,000 per annum there may be larger solutions that can save you more, such as Combined Heat and Power Plants (CHP) or Hydrogen Plants.