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?

Popularity rise in Solar Power, why?

Solar Power

Solar Power has grown incredibly in the recent years; with Britain now having 500,000 homes with Solar Panels, the business is booming! The general public are definitely opening their eyes to the brilliant benefits and opportunities that Solar Power has to offer.


Financial benefits

 Solar Panels obviously offer to cut down your electricity bills by becoming more dependent on solar power. The ever increasing prices of energy providers is clearly making people looking into Solar Power as it is an easy, cheap way of saving money. Also with the feed-in-tarrifs the government currently provides it makes it possible to earn up to £750 a year! Who doesn’t want extra money in their back pocket? From the financial side of things, Solar panels are definitely a great benefit to home-owners looking to save money.


Feel good factor

Solar Power is a clean, renewable energy which makes it GREEN! You can feel smug as you tell the world of how you produce clean energy which is potentially saving the Planet. Also speaking from personal opinion, there is nothing that makes you happier than seeing how much energy you’re producing, and there is nothing that makes me look weirder than grinning insanely when I see that electric bill cut down to size!

 The Buzz!

 There is massive spike in the amount Solar Power is making into the media recently. Various government projects getting behind Solar Power like how the U.S. Navy plan to beam down energy from orbiting Solar Panels. Or even how one of Britain’s biggest landmarks, Big Ben, could possibly be getting Solar Panels (Story here).

There is also gigantic leaps in the technological side of the Solar Panel world. With ‘mad’ scientists developing transparent solar panels, Solar panels that work better on cloudy days ! And even the revolutionary idea of the near possibility of being able to grow solar panels from BACTERIA. ITS ALIVE!!!

 With all these contributing factors, it’s no surprise that Solar Panels have been on the rise. There has never been a better time to get into the Solar Powered world, with so many people getting involved now, shouldn’t you as well? If anything you have read has interested you in Solar Panels, visit this excellent site here for a FREE quote on Solar Panels ! 


All links to the stories can be found above. If none work I will post them down here too


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.

What it might look like if every roof had solar panels installed

Ever wondered what the skyline would look like if every house had solar panels installed on its roof?

The Guardian ran a picture story earlier in the week regarding a massive domestic solar installation on 600 homes in Nottingham.

The large picture, accompanying the story illustrates perfectly just what the skyline would look like – click here.

photo credit: creativity103

Trainee electricians get free training on solar installations

Nottingham City Council reports how a group of trainee electricians took part in some free training which will benefit them when it comes to working on solar installations.

The training centred around working at heights and manual handling.

It’s part of a joint project between the City Council and E.On and Nottingham City Homes, which is hoping to install solar panels on 600 homes in the Aspley area of the city.

Carried out at E.On’s building services academy, the 10 trainees will have the knowledge to install and maintain panels.

photo credit: leon hart

Solar companies – why the MCS Certified bit is so important.

If you’re gathering quotes for a solar panel installation on your property, you’ve probably seen MCS Certified mentioned but what does it mean and should you be worried if your using a company that isn’t MCS Certified?

MCS stands for Microgeneration Certification Scheme – It means the company can be trusted to properly, and safely, install your solar panel system and that the resulting completed installation will be eligible for any Government ‘tariff’ incentive payments.

The MCS is internationally recognised quality assurance accreditation – a bit like the Gas Safe scheme for Plumbers and Heating Engineers.

But what if you’ve already had an installation carried out by an installer who wasn’t accredited?

Fear not, all is not lost. There are several installation companies that will out-source the final microgeneration certification to an accredited member so even if your installation has come and gone, all you need to do is get a MCS accredited company to ‘sign-off’ your installation and you’ll be able to use that certificate to apply for the Government Tariffs.

This includes DIY self installed systems.

This article appeared in our weekly homeowner newsletter (dated 18th July 2011). Click here to read the full newsletter.

Energy price hikes see surge in eco-improvements.

The UK could be about to witness an explosion of eco-improvements as Britain’s beleaguered home owners start looking for ways to reduce crippling fuel bill rises.

With British Gas’s price rises of between 16% and 18% affecting some 9 million homes from July, it’s small wonder there’s been a massive surge of interest in alternative, renewable energy sources.

Undoubtedly, the most popular method has been solar panels, both photovoltaic (electricity producing) and hot water systems.

Whilst the panels themselves will only save you typically around £80 a year off your current energy bills (not accounting for the proposed and subsequent price rises), the real return on investment comes from the Government Feed-in Tariff payments which can add another £800+ a year to your income/savings, depending on the size of system you have installed.

And the eco-renovation is guaranteed to continue well into 2012 and beyond as the forthcoming Green Deal, which will encourage property owners to make their properties more energy efficient – the savings you make being used to refund the money the installation cost – starts trials this October. The take up of such schemes is vital as the Government struggles to reach emission targets, the bulk of which can only be achieved if the UK’s housing stock is bought up to ‘spec on energy usage.

Take your first foray into eco-renovations by getting an instant online quote for installing solar panels on your property – visit Solar Panel Quoter now.

This article appeared in our weekly homeowner newsletter (dated 18th July 2011). Click here to read the full newsletter.

photo credit: christian guthier

Planning permission for solar panels.

Generally, (your solar panel installer will be able to advise you further), you won’t need planning permission for solar panels on the roof of your property, providing they don’t extend beyond the original plane of the roof or exceed the height of the original roof at it’s highest point.

But what if you live in a conservation area?

You’ll have to apply for planning permission, but providing the panels aren’t visible from the main highway or thoroughfare and don’t extend beyond the original plane of the roof, you shouldn’t have too many problems.

Many councils are committed to increasing the usage of renewables and cutting CO2 targets. So if your original application is turned down, it may be worth appealing against the decision.

The appeal process can be lengthy but ultimately rewarding if your application is upheld.

If your property is a listed building, then you’ll also need listed buildings consent, which is usually based on whether the panels are detrimental to the appearance or character of the property.

Solar Panel Quoter can help by not only providing you with an instant online installation quote, but also by recommending local installation companies that will have an in-depth knowledge of the areas particular planning issues, and if necessary, be able to help you with your planning application.

*This article first appeared in our weekly homeowner newsletter dated 23 May 2011. Click here to read the full newsletter.

62% of homeowners are aware of solar feed-in tariffs

With the Government’s feed-in tariffs one year old this April, a survey by one solar panel manufacturer has revealed a massive 62% of homeowners are aware of the feed-in tariffs and the financial benefits they can bring.

48% of the survey reckoned they were more likely to install solar panels because of the payments made under the feed-in tariffs.

Those figures will come as a welcome relief to the Department for Energy and Climate Change who have come under fire for recently announcing large reductions to the amounts paid by the tariffs for installations over a certain size.

Homeowners shouldn’t have anything to fear as the the cuts were aimed at larger commercial premises and ‘brown field’ sites where investors were set to make huge returns, at (the Government reckoned) the expense of the homeowners, the feed-in tariffs were originally set up to help and encourage.

Ofgem figures suggest that the average household with a photovoltaic solar panel installation will have saved around £900.

Between April 2010 and this March, there have been 24,744 solar installations registering to participate in the feed-in tariffs, resulting in over £4.5 million being paid back to consumers.

One homeowner, based in Lancashire reckoned her solar panel installation had earned her over £1,200 in electricity sold back to the grid. This was in addition to any savings off her regular energy bills.

There’s no doubt that the introduction of the feed-in tariffs has proved a huge boost for the solar panel industry and helped establish renewable energy as a viable source for many homeowners.

Get your own instant solar panel installation quote now from Solar Panel Quoter – click here.

*If we’ve wetted your appetite for renewable energy articles, be sure to visit our dedicated renewable energy blog – updated daily – click here.

photo credit: oregondot

You have questions about solar energy – we’ll try and answer them.

Amongst the 3,000+ homeowners that use our family of online home improvement quoting websites every week, there are a quite a few interested in solar panel installations, having used our solar panel quoting website.

Later, when our customer advisers speak with homeowners, it’s clear that many of you have questions about the how, why and where.

We’ve been working on a pack of information for our advisory team here at Price Engines Ltd (owners and administrators of the ‘Quoter family of websites) so that everyone has the right reference materials at hand.

But why stop there we thought? Why not publish the most common questions and answers that you, homeowners thinking of installing solar panels, ask us every day?

So starting tomorrow, we’ll be doing just that – answering your more common questions but don’t forget, after you’ve got your online quote, you’ll have the option of talking to our homeowner advisory team directly.

photo credit: photosteve101