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5 Aug 2023

How to switch to solar power and save money: A homeowner's guide

Anna Dearden
Home Sector Specialist

As a society, we are constantly looking for ways to do our bit for the environment. But if you’re thinking about switching to solar power, it can be a bit daunting when it comes to knowing where to start. Here’s all you need to know about converting to solar power and saving money at the same time. 

Why switch to solar power?

Switching to solar panels has a variety of benefits, including saving money and helping the environment. Solar power is a clean and renewable source of energy that can provide long-term stability and independence from traditional utility companies. 

With advancements in technology, solar panels are becoming more efficient and cost-effective, making them an attractive option for homeowners who want to invest in a sustainable future.

Converting to solar power: areas to consider to get the most out of your panels 

Switching to solar panels is a big investment, so it’s important to make sure that you’ve done your research before making the change. 

Make sure your property is suitable for solar panel installation

To determine if your property is suitable for solar panel installation, you should consider the following factors: the availability of sunlight, shading from surrounding objects, and the condition and orientation of your roof.

It’s also important to check your local building and area codes, and the availability of necessary permits and approvals for solar panels. It may also be helpful to have a professional assess your property and provide recommendations.

Consider how many solar panels you’ll need

Knowing the number of solar panels you need before investing in solar power is important because it determines the amount of electricity your solar power system can generate, which directly affects the cost-effectiveness and return on investment of your system.

The number of solar panels needed also depends on factors such as the location and orientation of your roof, shading conditions, and energy usage.

Explore grants and funding options

There are several government grants for solar panel installations in the UK, the first of which is the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), which provides payments for excess energy generated by household solar panels and exported back to the grid. Additionally, the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme provides funding for households on low incomes to have energy-saving measures installed, including solar panels.

Another great incentive is the Government Green Deal, which essentially offers funding for you to be able to make energy-saving improvements to your home. This could include insulation, double-glazing, and renewable energy systems. Your property could be eligible for the Green Deal, but you will have to pay this loan back.

Will you buy your solar panels outright or rent them?

If you have the upfront funds available, buying solar panels outright may be the most cost-effective option in the long run, as you will own the panels and will not have to pay for the cost of electricity generated by the panels. However, this option requires a larger initial investment.

If you do not have the upfront funds or prefer to minimise your upfront costs, renting solar panels may be a more suitable option. This typically involves paying a monthly fee for the panels, installation, and maintenance. The monthly fee may be higher than the savings from using the solar panels, but it also means that you will not have to pay a large upfront cost.

Don’t rush into it — compare suppliers and quotes

Rushing into getting solar panels without considering multiple options and shopping around for quotes and suppliers can result in overpaying for a system that may not be the best fit for your home or business. 

It is important to gather quotes from several suppliers to compare the cost and features of the systems they offer and ensure that you are getting the best value for your investment.

Anna Dearden
Home Sector Specialist
Combining in-depth research with an interest in all things home improvement, I aim to keep SpotDif readers up to date with interior design trends, renewable energy options, and more.
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