Uses of Solar Energy for Your Home
Installing solar panels on your roof gives your home access to free, renewable energy from the sun, greatly reducing reliance on your energy supplier. But once that energy has been generated and stored, if you have a solar battery, how will it impact your day-to-day life?
What's it Like to Live With Solar Panels?
Imagine it, you've been through the process of getting solar panels installed to the roof of your house:
- You've chosen a brand of solar panel;
- compared free installation quotes through Solar Guide;
- hired a competitively priced, fully-qualified installer;
- and watched as solar panels were fitted to your roof.
Once installed, you get to enjoy the many benefits of solar power from reduced energy bills to lower carbon emissions. However, you won't really notice your energy savings until your electricity bill turns up, but you'll be experiencing the benefits of your solar panels from day 1.
So, just how will your day-to-day life change when your brand new solar panels are up and running?
What Can be Powered by Solar Energy?
Well, just about anything that runs on electricity really: TV, radio, lights... but rather than worrying about how much your next electricity bill is going to come to, your appliances will be running on free, renewable solar energy.
To help you picture life in a solar-powered home, we're going to take you through a day in the life of having solar panels and how you can benefit during the day, night and even when you're out and about.
Solar Power During the Day
When the sun rises on the first day after a completed solar panel installation, your attitude towards electrical devices, and maybe even life itself, will change.
After getting woken up by your solar-powered alarm clock, you can go downstairs to boil your solar-powered kettle, get milk out of the solar-powered fridge and drink your morning tea while flicking through mobile phone (that's fully-charged thanks to solar energy). Add solar thermal to the equation and not only will the electricity be generated from solar energy, but your hot water too.
So, during the day, you can use all the electrical devices around your home, safe in the knowledge that they're being powered by renewable energy. But what about when the sun sets?
Solar Power at Night
The sun might not be out at night but that doesn't mean you can't still make the most of its energy. Add a solar battery to your solar PV system and any excess energy generated during the day (there's likely to be quite a lot) will be stored up for you to use later.
Without a solar battery, any energy that isn't used will be sent straight to the grid, meaning that you'll have to rely on energy from your supplier until the sun rises again the following day.
With a solar battery, the stored up energy will be there to keep your home well lit by powering lamps, garden lights and security lights. It will also be able to give you free entertainment for the evening, namely by powering the TV. And will be able to do this all night long if you've got a solar battery big enough.
What's it like to watch a solar-powered TV? Just the same as watching a TV powered by electricity from the grid, minus the impact it will have on your energy bill.
Take Solar Energy With You
Quite possibly the biggest difference solar energy could make to your life is when you're not even at home. Not only can you charge your portable devices – mobile phone, camera or MP3 player – but an electric car too.
If you drive an electric vehicle, or are considering it, then thanks to the solar energy being generated by the panels, you could charge it at home for free. So, if you drive an electric vehicle already, you're reducing the electricity costs, while anyone thinking of switching to an electric vehicle will be cutting out ever-rising fuel costs.
How Much Energy Do Solar Panels Generate?
Having taken you through the potential benefits of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system, it's important to understand that depending on the size, make and model of the system, it will have a different output.
When considering which solar panels you'd like to have installed, you need to make a note of the power output. The higher the power output, the more electricity the panels will be able to generate for use around your home.
Power output is measured in watts (W) and solar panels typically have an output somewhere between 200-400W. You might find that solar panels with the higher output are the most expensive but in the long run they will help you to save the most on your electricity bills.
If you're looking for a system that will generate the vast majority of your home's electricity, then a 300W system will do the job. For tighter budgets then you might want to look towards a 200-275W system; while they have a slightly smaller power output you'll still be able to enjoy lower energy bills and a reduced carbon footprint.
The power output of solar panels doesn't mean too much without a bit of perspective, so we've listed the power required to run some common household appliances.
|Appliance||Potential Output (W)|
|Clothes Dryer||1,000 – 4,000W|
|Desktop Computer||100 – 450W|
|Dishwasher||1200 – 1500W|
|Fridge Freezer||150 – 400W|
|LED TV (49")||85W|
|LED Light Bulb||7-10W|
|Mobile Phone Charger||4 – 7W|
So, with a 300W solar PV system, you could comfortably watch the TV, have your phone on charge and know that the fridge freezer is running, all thanks to free, renewable solar energy. However, turning on the dishwasher or clothes dryer could require additional energy from your supplier.
Are Solar Panels as Effective in the UK?
While the UK might not be the sunniest of places, solar panels don't need direct sunlight to generate power for your home, so they'll still be generating power on overcast days, only not quite as much.
Finding the Best Solar Panels
Before deciding which solar panels to install on the roof of your home, it's important to look at the many makes and models available. To help, we've compared the best solar panels availableand found that LG are currently manufacturing the most cost-effective and efficient panels for UK homes.
Get Free Solar Quotes
Start your path to free, renewable energy by getting free installation quotes from up to 3 trusted solar installers in your area. Sourcing quotes from multiple places gives you the ability compare and choose the one that's best suited to you, your home and your budget.