Beginner’s Guide to Solar Panels

In recent years there has been a dramatic surge in attempts to reduce individual carbon footprints to protect and preserve the environment that falters each day due to fossil fuel emissions. Through low emission housing, it is possible to strive towards a safer, long-lasting habitat, in a cost-effective and nature-preserving manner.

How does it work?

Solar Photovoltaics, or panels, capture the sun’s energy through photovoltaic cells. As the panels are made from semiconductor materials (usually silicon), once the cells have absorbed the sunlight, they create electrons (energy), which can be converted to electricity. This process does not require direct sunlight to function, meaning even when the sun is not shining, a considerable amount of energy can be created.

What are the benefits?

The main advantage of solar energy is that it is renewable, and sustainable: utilising nature’s provisions to provide for humanity, without depending on sources such as oil, which will eventually run out. As solar panels do not burn oil to release carbon dioxide, or other harmful greenhouse gases, they prove to be non-polluting — perhaps the most positive advantage of this form of energy. Along with reducing harmful emissions, solar panels can prove financially beneficial:

- Reducing energy bills and selling electricity — or, in fact, eliminating them. As energy is created on-site, the use of solar panels can be partially funded by the government. Using the ‘free’ electricity generated through home-fitted solar panels results in payment for every unit you generate. If surplus energy is created through the solar panel system throughout the year, it can be exported back to the National Grid through Feed-in Tariffs.

Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) were introduced in 2010 to encourage the uptake of renewable electricity-generating technologies, through financial incentive. Major suppliers, including British Gas, EDF Energy and E.ON are legally required to pay FiT’s, so generating green or renewable energy can result in financial reward.

- No maintenance — unlike standard electricity provided through generators, with moving and temperamental parts, solar panels require very little maintenance. Ensuring no dirt or debris collects on top of the panels can be easily avoided through a spritz with the garden hose, keeping the panels clean and away from obstruction (from objects such as trees and lampposts) is the only maintenance required when creating solar energy.

This blog was contributed by Tim at Trivselhus by Esh. Find out more about Trivselhus by Esh’s sustainable, energy efficient homes at www.trivselhusbyesh.co.uk/why-trivselhus