How Many Solar Panels Do You Need to Charge a Lightbulb?

Solar Power - All Night Long... A solar storage battery can provide solar energy day or night

Solar panel output depends on a wide variety of different factors, from panel efficiency, to the amount of panels in your system, to where you live in the UK, and many other things.

So why does it matter how much electricity our lightbulbs use? Well it has been stated by energy conservation groups that our lightbulbs account for 20% of our electricity bills – so how many solar panels do you need to power the lightbulbs in your home?

How Much Electricity Do Appliances Use?

Home Appliances Electricity Usage – kWh/year Cost Over Year
Fridge-Freezer 427 kWh £62
Plasma TV 658 kWh £95
Desktop PC 166 kWh £24
Electric Cooker 317 kWh £46
1 Lightbulb 109 kWh £12

To calculate the usage of 1 lightbulb we knew that a 60 Watt lightbulb would use up 0.06kWh of electricity per hour. We decided by looking at each of the seasons that 5 hours was a good average for the amount of time a lightbulb would be on each day. This worked out as 0.3kWh per day and 109kWh per year.

 

But Who Has One Lightbulb?

Nobody! We had a look online and decided that 9 lightbulbs is a good average amount of lightbulbs for many homes and bungalows. Accounting for all of those lightbulbs we can work out that these cost us upwards of £108 per year in electricity costs! AND that is if you remember to turn them off!

 

How Much Sun Does A Solar Panel Need?

You might think that solar panels need red-hot summer sunshine to work but this is not actually true, whilst solar panels are more efficient on clear sunny days they still produce electricity on cloudy, rainy, foggy or cold days.

On average across the whole year we get around 4 hours of bright clear sunshine a day, which equates to 1460 hours of sunlight across the year. (So to calculate your panels minimum output 4 hours of sunshine a day is a good place to start).

So with 9 lightbulbs in our home, running for 5 hours a day on average, this means we would need 981 kWh of electricity to power them for the whole year.

 

So, to figure out how much electricity we need from our solar panels we divide our lightbulbs electricity requirements by the minimum sunlight our panels will get each year:

981 kWh by / 1460 hrs of sunlight per year
= 0.67 KW’s

After this we must know the KW’s each of our solar panels can produce. So if we get a high efficiency 120W solar panel, this equals 0.12KW’s. So we divide the energy we need by the amount of energy each solar panel can produce to find out how many solar panels we need.

0.67KW / 0.12 KW
= 5.58 panels.

Which means that you would need 6 solar panels to provide the electricity needed for 9 light bulbs in your home for a whole year.

12-16 Panels

Most UK solar panel systems are made up of between 12-16 solar panels, averaging at around 3.5 KW’s for the whole system. So, if you opt for a standard solar panel array you wont just be saving on the 20% of your bill made up by your lights. You would be saving considerably on the costs of every single appliance.

How Many Panels Would Fit On Your Roof?

BUT! We Only Use Lightbulbs At Night!

 Well, most of us are out of the house during the day and most of us only use our lightbulbs in the evening… but thanks to solar storage batteries you can benefit from your solar electricity day and night.

A solar storage battery will store electricity generated by your panels during the day for use in the evening. As soon as the sun goes down and your panels stop generating, your solar storage battery would discharge the electricity it has stored across the day.

Battery manufacturers claim that you can cut your bills by a further 50% with a solar storage battery, as you would be buying less electricity back from the grid during peak hours.

How Much is Solar Storage?

How To Stop Your Energy Bills Becoming Larger Than Your Mortgage…

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In the UK we pay more on our energy bills than most of Europe. On top of that our energy bills have been steadily rising over the last 20 years. It only makes sense that as the demand for energy grows so will the cost of our bills.

Can We Trust Our Energy Providers?

Many people do not know that recently the wholesale cost of energy has fallen for the energy companies but we as consumers have not seen the difference in our energy bills. We all need electricity and heating but the companies in charge do not seem concerned about providing a fair service at a fair cost.

So, What Can We Do?

Can our homes become our own personal power stations? well actually, many UK homes already have. With solar panels popping up all over you may have wondered why they are considered a really great investment.

One reason solar power has seen a boom in recent years is that the price of installing solar panels has come down massively. Solar panels are now more affordable than they have ever been. Here are four more of the best reasons for installing solar.

 

  1. Cut Electricity Bills in HALF

    Average estimates state that you can save up to 50% off of your yearly electricity bills with solar panels. You would also be protected against any future electricity price-hikes as you would rely less on energy companies by providing your own free electricity.

    You can save even more with a solar storage battery. With this you can store the electricity your panels make for use in the evening. This way you can use your free electricity during the night and spend less on bills.

How Much Could You Save?

  1. Tax-free Money For Solar

    The government still offers a tax-free incentive to homes with solar panels. You are paid a small rate for each unit of electricity that your panels produce… for 20 years. You should act quickly though as this scheme will not be in place forever.

    It is vital that you find a properly accredited solar installer otherwise you would not be able to claim the government scheme. There are many solar cowboys out there so you need to ensure that the company you choose is trustworthy, reliable and highly recommended.

  2. Increase The Value of Your Home

    Estate agents now consider solar panels as something that can add value to your home. This is because the many benefits of solar can make a home more desirable.

  3. Easy Peasy

    Once solar panels have been installed you can pretty much leave them to it. They last 20-30 years with little maintenance. So just sit back, relax and let your solar panels do the work.

If you want to avoid solar cowboys click on where you live on the map below to get a fast, free, online quote for solar panels in your postcode.

map

– Click Here For a Fast, Free, Online Quote –

 


 

4 Surprising Reasons Why UK Homeowners Are Turning To Solar…

solarandfam1
In the UK we pay more on our energy bills than most of Europe. On top of that our energy bills have been steadily rising over the last 20 years. It only makes sense that as the demand for energy grows so will the cost of our bills.

Can We Trust Our Energy Providers?

Many people do not know that recently the wholesale cost of energy has fallen for the energy companies but we as consumers have not seen the difference in our energy bills. We all need electricity and heating but the companies in charge do not seem concerned about providing a fair service at a fair cost.

So, What Can We Do?

Can our homes become our own personal power stations? well actually, many UK homes already have. With solar panels popping up all over you may have wondered why they are considered a really great investment.

One reason solar power has seen a boom in recent years is that the price of installing solar panels has come down massively. Solar panels are now more affordable than they have ever been. Here are four more of the best reasons for installing solar.

 

  1. Cut Electricity Bills in HALF

    Average estimates state that you can save up to 50% off of your yearly electricity bills with solar panels. You would also be protected against any future electricity price-hikes as you would rely less on energy companies by providing your own free electricity.

    You can save even more with a solar storage battery. With this you can store the electricity your panels make for use in the evening. This way you can use your free electricity during the night and spend less on bills.

How Much Could You Save?

  1. Tax-free Money For Solar

    The government still offers a tax-free incentive to homes with solar panels. You are paid a small rate for each unit of electricity that your panels produce… for 20 years. You should act quickly though as this scheme will not be in place forever.

    It is vital that you find a properly accredited solar installer otherwise you would not be able to claim the government scheme. There are many solar cowboys out there so you need to ensure that the company you choose is trustworthy, reliable and highly recommended.

  2. Increase The Value of Your Home

    Estate agents now consider solar panels as something that can add value to your home. This is because the many benefits of solar can make a home more desirable.

  3. Easy Peasy

    Once solar panels have been installed you can pretty much leave them to it. They last 20-30 years with little maintenance. So just sit back, relax and let your solar panels do the work.

If you want to avoid solar cowboys click on where you live on the map below to get a fast, free, online quote for solar panels in your postcode.

map

– Click Here For a Fast, Free, Online Quote –

 


 

Top 5 reasons how solar power can save the world

1. The research and development monies now going into solar energy are great enough to fuel innovation and bring down prices rapidly. First Solar expects solar generation manufacturing costs to fall from 63 cents a watt to 35 cents a watt from now through 2017!
2. Honda is experimenting with a zero-carbon home. It includes a direct DC recharger for an electric car so as to cut down on energy lost to heat during the DC to AC conversion. Charging would take only 2 hours, direct from sunlight.
The opening of Honda Smart Home US, showcasing technologies that enable zero net energy living and transportation
3. Thin-skin solar panels will be installed directly on the cars, and a canopy recharger will fill them back up, economical cars are the future (not the Prius)
 
4. Even poor countries of the global South like Pakistan are finding it affordable now to create enormous solar parks. Bahawalpur faces blackouts and a deficit of 4 gigawatts of electricity. It will soon get 1 gigawatt of electricity from solar and other renewables.
5. There are new technological advancements in Solar Power almost everyday and and a giant flow of ideas of how Solar can save the world which come as abundantly as the actual resource! Japan want to put a solar panel ring around the moon which can have the potential to power a 1/3, THIRD of the world’s energy demands. MIT are researching  solar panels that can grow from bacteria making them more affordable. A group of scientists also want to build solar plants in our oceans as the solar energy is greater there. The amount of solar energy that hits our Earth in an hour is enough to power the world for a year. Surely we have to harness this great natural, renewable resource?!
6. Okay okay, I know I said 5 but TOP 6 doesn’t have the same ring to it, sorry for lying my dear Sirs and Madams but this one is important! After seeing the way Russia is bullying Western Europe over opposition in Brussels to Russia grabbing Ukrainian territory, with Russia threatening to cut off natural gas, many countries will be encouraged to invest in renewable energy sources that cannot be cut off. Thailand is investing in 3 gigawatts of solar energy, not only because its government wants more electricity but because it wants more energy independence! The falling price of solar panels will give a further economic motive for going green, but tensions in the ASEAN countries over the possibility of gradually being reduced to Chinese puppets are real– something Obama is trying to address on his current trip to Japan and other countries of the far east. The alternative to solar, hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to produce natural gas, is not affordable in many countries; it uses enormous amounts of precious water, damages the environment, and produces huge methane emissions that threaten deadly climate disruption. Solar gives both cost savings and security, as well as a brighter climate future.
I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!

NEW RHI LAUNCHED:

 

Earn £3,690 per year for heating your own home

After months of speculating and lengthy delays, the domestic RHI has launched in the UK TODAY, WHOOPIE – rewarding home-owners choosing to heat their homes with renewable technology with high tariff payments. This is great news for eco-green buffs as they will be rolling in money, waving their cash around like they just don’t care!

What is RHI?

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is the world’s first long-term financial support programme for renewable heat.
The RHI pays participants of the scheme that generate and use renewable energy to heat their buildings. By increasing the generation of heat from renewable energy sources (instead of fossil fuels), the RHI helps the UK reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet targets for reducing the effects of climate change.

Similar to the popular Feed-in-Tariff enjoyed by PV solar panels, the RHI will pay people for generating their own heat energy AND they get to heat their home efficiently – slashing their heating bills dramatically! I cannot convey the level of excitement I am currently in.

thermo banner Speculations of an imminent launch rose considerably when the minister for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker has announced via Twitter:
“Excellent progress on domestic RHI. All set now for launch by Easter.”
This is excellent news for those that already have, or who are considering RHI approved renewable heating, as they will see annual earnings and savings (payable for 7 years) of:
– £3,690 for ground heat pumps
– £3,390 for biomass boilers
– £1,280 for air source heat pumps
– £600 for solar thermal systems

It’s worth noting that currently, the hybrid solar panels (PV-T) that generate both electrivity AND hot water are not eligible for the RHI tariff.

Always check your system will be RHI eligible and use an MCS accredited installer.

Finally the government have got something right! The amazing thing about it is you will be independent, you won’t have to rely on those energy providers with sky-rocketing prices and you will be paid for doing it!  Just think of what you could do with a couple of grand left over at the end of the year..

I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!

Costs and benefits of different Solar Panels

If you’ve ever wondered how much you would need to invest to harness the sun’s energy for your own personal use, this blog will give you an idea of the costs and benefits of each system. On the simplest level, there are two types of solar panels. Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels which produce electricity, and solar thermal panels which produce hot water.

Solar Photovoltaic

Panels which convert the sun’s energy into electricity use solar voltaic cells to capture it. They do not need direct sunlight to work, generating electricity even on cloudy days (though not as much). The cells convert the energy into electricity which can be used in the house, or sold back to your own electricity supplier. Details on tariffs can be found here
In May 2012, the Department of Energy and Climate Change assessed the costs of solar PV, based on the average 3kWp (kilowatts peak) system that is installed. The average cost of installation was found to be £7,700. Whilst larger systems cost more, they are actually more cost effective in terms of the savings they produce. If you are wondering how much a Solar panel will cost you, you can click here for a FREE quote from your region!
On average, a 3kWp system has been found to generate 2,500 kilowatt hours of electricity every year. This is equivalent to about 3/4 of the average household’s electrical needs for a year. A larger system could therefore exceed the household’s requirements, with the extra being sold onto grid.
So the obvious benefit is that once you have paid for the installation your bills will be significantly reduced. If you are producing more electricity than you need you can sell it back to the grid. Furthermore, if you are eligible for the Feed-in Tariff scheme, this could generate savings and income of approximately £750 per year (based on rates applicable since April 1st 2014). Here you get paid for both the electricity you generate and use and that which is sold back to grid. At this rate, the average payback is around 14 years.
There is very little maintenance required. As the panels are tilted at an angle, they should be cleaned by rain water. Being dirty will impair their performance, so if necessary you can contact window cleaning companies to wash them for you. The panels should last for 25 years, although inverters might break before then. 

Solar Thermal

Solar thermal panels work in conjunction with a hot water cylinder, so you must make sure you have a suitable one, or room to fit one, if you are thinking of installing this type of panel. The panels heat water that is circulated through a coil in the hot water cylinder, transferring the heat to the domestic hot water stored in the cylinder. If the panels are not able to produce enough hot water, an immersion heater or boiler will top it up. Once again there are the benefits of cutting you bills and reducing your carbon footprint.
The average cost of this system is £4800 and it produces moderate savings. In the summer it will produce most of your hot water. In the winter, it will need the boiler or immersion heater to produce most of it.
Maintenance costs are low and they come with 5 or 10 year guarantees. As with solar voltaic, they need to be kept clean, though hopefully rainfall will achieve this. You should also check it, or have it checked, for leaks. Leaks of the antifreeze in the panel will have a strong smell so should be noticeable. The pump may need changing after 10 years or so at a cost of around £100.
Studies have shown savings of around £55 per year (230kgCO2/year) when replacing gas heated hot water and £80 per year (510kgCO2/year) when replacing immersion hot water. However, savings will vary from house to house, depending on which way the panels are facing and which part of the country they are located.
 

Solar PV/T

It stands for ‘photovoltaic thermal’. It’s basically a hybrid solar panel consisting of photovoltaic (electrical), or PV, and thermal (heating) functionalities – usually separate – which will contribute towards a house’s electricity demands while heating hot water. 
 
PVT is essentially a photovoltaic collector that produces heat as a byproduct. The panel absorbs photons (electro­magnetic radiation) from the sun, and an inverter changes this direct current (DC) into an alternating current (AC), suitable for use in the home. The process naturally generates heat, which is transferred via an aluminium heat exchanger – located on the back of the collector – to a closed circuit through which runs an antifreeze heat transfer fluid (a mix of water and glycol); the fluid takes the heat to the hot water cylinder. When set up correctly, this process actually aids the functionality of the PV module, as it causes the heat in the cells to dissipate — and PV cells are more efficient when they are cooler. The best place to find this exclusive technology is at Newform Energy 
 
There is one potential problem in that heat output can be three times the electricity output. If we assume a 4kWp system, a standard PV array of that size would produce 3,000 to 3,200kWh of electricity each year. A PVT system will produce over 3,500kWh of electricity and up to 10,500kWh of hot water each year. That sounds fine, as an average house with four people in it will need about 4,000kWh for hot water and 8,000 to 10,000kWh for space heating. But, and it is quite a big but, PVT will produce around 50% of that hot water in the three summer months — some 5,250kWh when we actually need only 1,000kWh. So what do we do with the rest?

Conclusion

 

Clearly from a financial perspective, solar voltaic panels produce far greater savings. Continual improvements in technology and falling installation costs are also bringing the payback time down. PV/T would be more ideal but obviously it does cost a little bit extra and aren’t guaranteed as long as PV. Whilst this blog has looked at costs and benefits in financial terms, what it cannot measure is the importance to you of going green. However, if the environment is your priority, the fact that your investment will pay back in time is a comforting bonus. After all you only need solar panels the size of Ireland to power the entire WORLD! So do your part! 
 
 In no way am I saying ‘pave over Ireland with solar panels’ think of the leprechauns!
 
I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!

Solar Panels, not just for your average Hippie?

Solar Power was once deemed only for the eco-green world, TO SAVE THE PLANET and so on. Not to be taken so seriously by your average Joe. But times are changing and it’s becoming a big financial gain, becoming more public with 500,000 UK roofs with Solar Panels, its about time it got fully advertised.

First UK Solar advert to air here

The UK saw it’s first Solar Panel advert recently from Eclipse Energy, right after everyone’s daily dose of Emmerdale! Though a tad cheesy it proves that Solar Power is a more serious, mainstream business. Being targeted at the general, public ideally wanting to save a few quid!

Pioneering the way forward in the Solar Panel business is Chris Cash (Managing director of Eclipse Energy) who thinks that marketed the right way, it can become big industry. And rightly so! Solar Power is accessible to almost any home-owner with many rewards and benefits. Cash is paving the way forward showing the average Joe how Solar Power can help them.

Many other companies are stepping forward into the ‘light’ that Cash has so kindly shown, with companies like Spectrum Energy talking about their adverts coming out soon. The Solar business is finally coming into it’s own. It has been steadily rising for a while now and I won’t be surprised after a mass of adverts that it will finally hit it’s stride, making solar industry boom!

How much can you earn from solar in your town?

 

From April 1st the Feed-in-Tariff, that pays you for generating your own electricity from solar panels (whether you use it yourself or not) will drop to 14.38p/kWh, but what does that mean in your area?

 

Based on the Energy Saving Trusts’ calculations you can see how much you should expect to earn and save in your region each year:

  • Scotland: £624
  • North East: £635
  • North West: £650
  • Yorkshire: £643
  • East Midlands: £655
  • West Midlands: £661
  • Wales: £667
  • East of England: £672
  • London: £688
  • South East: £718
  • South West: £742

Remember, these are estimates for a 4kW system, and the FiT is index-linked and should increase year upon year with inflation.

Not installed solar panels yet? Find prices here.

Who will get paid by the RHI and by how much?

EPC - small changes

Are you confused by the Govenment’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)? You’re not alone.

The RHI scheme will begin for the domestic market in 2013 and will pay homeowners a tariff, similar to the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT), for installing renewable technologies like solar thermal technologies, air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps.

It is likely that any of these heating methods installed since 2009 will be eligible for the RHI provided they satisfy the installation criteria.

The UK Government published their consultation on domestic RHI in September 2012. The key proposals in the consultation are:

  • Indicative tariff ranges for air source heat pumps (6.9-11.5p/kWh), biomass boilers (5.2-8.7p/kWh), ground source heat pumps (12.5-17.3p/kWh) and solar thermal technologies (17.3p/kWh) that are MCS certified and meet relevant required standards, including specific emission limits for biomass systems.
  • Payments for householders over seven years for each kWh of heat produced for the expected lifetime of the renewable technology and based on deemed heat usage.
  • Tariff levels set to provide a better return for householders living off the gas grid.

The UK government has also confirmed that people who have installed equipment under RHPP 1 or 2 (which offers people up to £1250 towards the cost of installation) will be eligible for support through the RHI providing they meet the eligibility criteria of the full RHI scheme. In addition, the UK government are proposing that consumers who installed a renewable heat installation since 15 July 2009 will be eligible to apply for the domestic RHI.

This means that anyone installing these technologies now will be able to claim up to £1,250 towards the cost of installation and then receive the RHI payments next year for 20 years, AND they will be reducing their heating bill considerably.

Solar Panels are “contagious”

Keeping up with the Joneses used to mean getting a bigger car to match your neighbours’ or making sure your lawns are neat and tidy – but in the 21st century, it means going solar.

EPC - small changes

A recent study suggests solar  is “contagious” as people are more likely to install PV panels if their neighbours have.

This is most likely down to the fact that seeing panels on a neighbour’s house serves as a constant reminder that they’re enjoying big savings on their bills AND receiving regular tariff payments.