Solar panels are a ‘no-brainer’ to ‘significantly reduce energy bills’ in times of crisis

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According to the Energy Savings Trust, solar electricity has many benefits. Not only do solar panels help households reduce their carbon footprint, they could also cut their electricity bills by the hundreds. However, installing solar panels in the first place is not cheap. Express.co.uk spoke to property experts to find out if it was worth it.

Explaining, first, how solar electricity works, Adam Male, Chief Revenue Officer at Online Rental Agent Mushroomsaid: “Solar panels absorb sunlight through photovoltaic cells to generate electricity, and are often most efficient when attached to the roof of a house, building within your property or in a space exposed to a lot of light throughout the day.

“Electricity generated by solar panels can be used throughout the home to power typical household appliances such as washing machines, refrigerators and our televisions.

“Any electricity produced that is not used in the household is then sent back to the grid.

“With the Smart Export Guarantee, homes with solar panels can be paid for the electricity they don’t use, which can help reduce energy bills significantly.”

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But how much exactly can households save with solar electricity?

According to the Energy Savings Trust, this depends on several factors, including the postcode, the slope and direction of the roof, the size of the solar panel and the estimated amount of electricity a family would use in a day.

A family living in London who are home all day and would therefore use more electricity than a family who are away all day would save around £505 a year with the Smart Export Guarantee.

Meanwhile, a family in the same situation living in Aberystwyth, mid Wales, would save around £485 a year.

The average home solar PV system is 4.2kWp and costs around £6,500.

But, in the long run, households could save thousands of dollars because solar panels are low maintenance and expected to last 25 years or more.

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Homeowners can use the Energy Savings Trust’s Solar Power Calculator before exploring the Smart Export Guarantee rates available on the Solar Trade Association website.

The Trust also recommended obtaining three quotes to compare costs and services, as well as to ensure planning permission from the council was considered.

Adam added that “Chancellor Rishi Sunak recently announced that homeowners will no longer pay 5% VAT if they consider buying solar panels, reducing it to 0% for the next five years.”

The property expert continued: “While the overall cost of solar panels is generally high, homeowners should start saving on their energy bills fairly quickly and the solar panels will indeed pay for themselves in the long run.”

Depaq Singh, Midlands-based property investor, developer and managing director of planning consultancy ProDesignagreed that solar panels can be an effective way for homeowners to save money quickly.

He said: ‘With energy bills rising again this year due to the current climate, I think it’s a no-brainer for homeowners to install solar panels on their property to try and ease the pressure on their budgets.

“With more homeowners increasingly working from home and therefore using more energy throughout the day, many are now turning to renewable sources to meet this demand.”

Depaq noted that installing solar panels can even “increase the value of a house by £1,800, according to a report by Solar Energy UK”.

But the first thing to do before investing in solar panels? Make sure your home is suitable.

Adam said: “If you live in a conservation area or listed building, chances are the solar panels will alter the character of the building, so check before proceeding.

“Solar panels can be weather dependent and work best in bright, sunny conditions. They can also work on cloudy days, but this can impact the amount of electricity produced.

“The appearance of your home is also worth considering. A south-facing roof or building is the optimal position for a solar panel to take maximum advantage of daylight, while a south-facing roof north will most likely sit in the shade.”

He added: “Once you have installed a solar panel on your property, make sure you register it with the company responsible for supplying electricity to your home, known as the grid operator of distribution (DNO).

“A DNO supplies utility companies with the electricity we use at home and needs to be told that your solar panels will export any unused electricity back to the grid.”

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