Solar power has many advantages as a source of renewable energy. Here are just some of the advantages of solar power generation.
1. It’s Eco-Friendly & Sustainable
Like other renewable energies, solar power is entirely ‘clean’ as it doesn’t release any harmful emissions or pollutants. In fact, solar power does the opposite and contributes massively to reducing CO2 emissions produced by fossil-fuel powered energies. The Energy Saving Trust estimates the average UK home with a solar PV system installed could reduce carbon emissions by 1.2 to 1.7 tonnes per year. Multiply that by the current estimate of 800,000 homes utilising solar PV panels and the numerous solar parks in operation across the UK, and that’s a significant reduction in the UK’s carbon footprint.
Unlike fossil fuels, solar power is also completely sustainable and abundant enough to last us for as long as the sun exists. According to scientists, the sun will continue shining for approximately 5 billion years, meaning we won’t run out of solar energy for as long as we occupy planet earth.
2. It Reduces Energy Bills and Pays For Itself
Once solar panels are installed, homeowners can begin generating their own electricity for free. By signing up to the government’s Feed-in Tariff scheme, your energy supplier will actually pay you for each unit of electricity you generate, whether you use it to power your home or not. Alongside this, depending on how much energy the solar panels are generating, it is possible to sell or ‘export’ unused electricity back to the national grid. This will of course vary and depend on factors including the time of year, hours of sunlight during the day and your electricity usage. But at certain times of the year, it is highly likely excess electricity will be produced and sold back to the grid.
Thanks to the FIT scheme, generating your own electricity helps offset some of the solar panel installation costs and contributes to reducing your electricity bills. Over a period of 15 to 25 years the solar panels will have paid for themselves and then begin making a small profit.
3. It’s Accessible for ‘Off the Grid’ Consumers
Solar power is ideal for those living in remote areas where access to the national grid is difficult or not possible. Solar panels can be used to generate electricity in any location that has access to sunlight, making it a very flexible and accessible method of energy generation. This is particularly useful for caravan or motorhome owners or those living in extremely remote areas for example.
4. It Reduces Reliance on Imports and Creates Jobs
Solar power generated in the UK reduces the need to import electricity from abroad. This not only creates energy industry jobs in the country, but makes our energy supply and prices more secure, since foreign energy can vary in price as supply and demand changes.
Solar power jobs are another benefit of solar generation. The solar industry currently provides around 16,000 jobs in the UK and the renewables sector as a whole is expected to create up to 500,000 jobs overall by 2020.
5. Maintenance is Minimal
Apart from cleaning the panels a couple of times per year and occasionally replacing parts such as the cables or inverter, solar panels are very easy to maintain and require little ongoing maintenance. As they do not use any moving parts, the general wear and tear of solar panels is minimal and mostly caused by the weather. They also tend to last 25 to 30 years before they must be replaced, although many solar panel suppliers will provide annual service checks for peace of mind.