There are multiple ways that we can obtain and integrate Solar Energy into our lives. With a little research and some experimenting, you can discover what methods of acquiring clean energy from the sun are most tailored to your needs and lifestyle.
If you’re interested in how you can reap the benefits of solar power then please read on to learn about five key ways of incorporating solar energy into your life. Whether that be for the home, a business or within the wider community.
1. Domestic Solar (Solar For Your Home)
Residents can utilise the natural energy generated from the sun through the installation of a home solar panel system. Typically, (but not always) Solar Panels are mounted on top of the roof of a property. These Photovoltaic Panels then capture the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity that can run your household appliances.
How Does Domestic Solar Work?
- Solar PV systems generate renewable electricity via photovoltaic cells that are made from layers of semiconducting material. These cells make up the solar panels.
- When light shines on this material, electrons are knocked loose, creating a flow of energy. The more sunlight, the more energy that can be generated.
- The electricity generated is in direct current (DC). However, the electricity used for powering your household appliances is alternating current (AC). Your very own solar panel will come with an inverter, converting all DC to AC.
Discover more about How A Solar PV System works.
Are there any special requirements to harness domestic solar?
A key consideration when having domestic solar panels installed is space. Generally:
- A roof area of 10-20 square metres would be able to deliver between 20% and 45% of a typical household’s electricity needs.
- A South facing and unshaded roof pitched at an angle of about 30-40 degrees is ideal for optimum solar energy generation.
While solar panel installations are classed as permitted developments, it is always worth checking with your local authority. In case of any limits or restrictions applicable.
The PROS of Domestic Solar:
- The renewable energy experts here at Deege Solar could help you see a reduction of up to 70% off your annual energy bills. By simply adding PV solar panels and a solar battery to your property.
- Through innovative AI technology, the green energy generated by your solar panels can be stored, traded or swapped. So that there is never any green energy waste.
- You could sell your excess energy and earn while going green, through the Smart Export Guarantee Tariff.
- In-roof systems or Integrated Solar Panels can be installed for a sleeker finish. This could also save you money if you were to retile your property.
- Mindful of waste, the clean energy generated from the sun is used when needed, controlled by your very own Consumer Unit Board.
- In the event of a power cut your home will have access to backup power.
- You can cut your carbon footprint. Depending on where you live in the UK, installing a solar PV system in your household could save around one tonne of carbon a year.
You can shrink your carbon footprint and energy bills further, by combining your solar panel system with other renewable energy systems. For example, solar thermal systems or a (mini) wind turbine!
- Minimal maintenance is required for a long-lasting solar PV system.
The CONS of Domestic Solar:
- Some residents may be put off installing Solar Panels due to the aesthetic impact. However, there are new sleeker ways of implementing Solar Panels such are in-roof systems and even Solar tiles. While these options are more expensive, generating your own solar energy has never looked more stylish.
- Upfront solar costs can be intimidating without access to solar panel financing. However, once installed solar energy can drastically reduce or eliminate your electricity bills. What’s more, don’t forget the positive environmental gains associated with solar!
- Finding quality, local solar panel installers can be difficult for residents across the UK. But with Deege Solar you can rest assured a friendly and professional team will always be on hand to install and uphold your domestic solar system.
2. Commercial Solar (Solar For Your Business)
Commercial solar panels are an array of multiple PV solar panels that convert UV light into electricity. There is usually a large number of solar arrays to generate higher volumes of electricity when it comes to commercially generated solar power. This is so it can generate the high demand of energy required to power a business.
What Does Commercial Solar Look Like?
- As commercial buildings are normally larger than the average house, multiple solar panels can be installed. Solar Panels can either be installed on the rooftop or any associated open spaces. Wherever there is sufficient room to do so!
- Higher numbers of solar panels work to generate enough green solar energy to power the needs of the building. Both throughout the day and even when it is cloudy or during the night.
- Free energy can continue to be generated and utilised, along with very little maintenance for the panels up to 15-20 years post-installation.
The PROS of commercial solar:
- Commercial solar panels can be used to power industrial buildings in off-grid or remote/rural locations. Being connected to the national grid is not a worry with solar.
- By storing solar energy generated during the day in a solar battery, commercial buildings and businesses can keep signs or message boards illuminated during the night.
- Commercial solar panels can also be used for heating water in offices and businesses or pre-heating ventilation air.
- With big industries and businesses being some of the more intense consumers of energy and producers of carbon emissions. The transition to solar energy can save companies thousands of pounds every year and massively reduce their carbon footprints.
The CONS of commercial solar:
- Buildings with older rooftops are not always suitable for solar panel installations. While any business is welcome to invest in solar, those with roofs less than 5 years old will be able to more successfully align the benefits associated with solar power to their building. This is because, Solar panel warranties are typically 25 years while commercial roof warranties are 10-25 years.
- Older buildings must have the structural capacity to cope with the extra weight of solar panels. However, solar can be engineered to minimise its weight and work alongside the structural constraints of a building.
- A certain level of capital is required to invest in solar. With many companies still viewing this wonderful green source of energy as a “nice to have” rather than a “must have”. Nevertheless, solar can offer returns that exceed investments in core operations.
3. Community Solar (Solar For Your Community)
Through a community solar project, more than one household can share the perks of solar-generated electricity from a large, central solar power plant. Community solar projects are measured in megawatts. Unlike kilowatts that are used to measure the size of a residential solar installation. Meaning a single community solar project can power hundreds or even thousands of homes. Read our dedicated blog on solar farms to find out more!.
Who can get involved in Community Solar?
Without needing a suitable rooftop for solar to get involved in a community solar project, this option is great for renters or those who live in shared housing. Purchasing just a small share of or subscribing to a community solar project can provide huge rewards. In terms of paying for less electricity and contributing positively to the health of our planet and local environment.
The PROS of Community Solar:
- Community solar makes it possible for larger numbers of people to access clean and renewable energy. Thus helping populations of people collectively reduce their carbon footprint.
- Participants in community solar projects lock in savings on their electricity bills every month.
- Large-scale renewable energy projects such as these solar initiatives can help reduce fuel poverty amongst residents living in lower household incomes. As a result, providing more equal energy access to individuals across the UK.
- Since there is no upfront investment required, solar communities also make it easier for low-to-middle income consumers to reap the financial benefits of this renewable energy source.
The CONS of Community Solar:
- Community solar projects, also known as community solar farms, can take up a lot of space. While unintended environmental consequences can occur from the construction of a community solar farm or project. Ranging from deforestation to habitat loss. The use of solar power will often offset carbon emissions and enable hundreds to thousands of people a year to be less reliant on finite fossil fuels.
- Not all regions across the UK readily offer community solar energy, however this just means a little extra research is needed to find the necessary guidance and support to get involved!
There are many examples of community energy projects across the UK. All of which have an emphasis on local engagement, local leadership and control and the local community benefiting collectively from the outcomes. At least 5,000 community groups in Britain have actively undertaken energy initiatives in the last five years.
4. Green Energy Provider/Green Tariff
Going green can be a difficult transition for the average person, particularly with the initial financial investments associated with installing renewable energy into their home. While government initiatives such as the Green Homes Grant can help place individuals, families and communities in greener fuel positions. Switching to a green energy supplier is a growing option for many people who are serious about reducing their carbon footprint and want to reap the rewards of cheaper, cleaner fuel.
Statistics revealed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in September 2020 found 80% of Britons supported the use of renewable energy. With Solar as a renewable energy source scoring the highest figure (85%).
With the green energy industry growing and the market continuously shifting to renewable energy, finding a green energy supplier is easier than ever. While it is harder to find a green energy supplier that provides 100% green electricity, every little helps. Your energy will likely be a fuel mix with regular ‘natural’ gas, but a green energy provider can certainly offset your energy usage!
What is A Green Energy Tariff?
Simply, a green tariff works by the energy supplier promising to match all or some of the electricity you use with renewable energy, which it then feeds back into the National Grid. This makes a positive difference because:
- The more people who sign up to a green energy tariff, the bigger the percentage of green energy in the national pool supply.
- Green tariffs provide a way for large electricity customers (such as industry and businesses) to meet their sustainability and renewable energy goals. Provide them with easier, greater access to green energy.
- Price predictability and cost savings on electricity.
5. Personal Solar (Solar For Your Use)
Hundreds of minor appliances and personal devices can now be charged and run through the sun’s energy. Miniature panels can be attached to traditional USB or AC adapter chargers, and solar panels can be built directly into the device you’re using.
Here is a small list of the unique and creative ways you can integrate solar into your personal life:
- A Solar backpack: A solar backpack provides a source of solar power for all your favourite devices on the go. Do make sure to keep an eye out for the solar green cell credentials of the backpack in order to purchase a high quality and long-lasting item.
- Solar lights: Solar lights are a great way to make use of readily available and abundant solar power without needing a full solar PV panel. Solar light fixtures are able to charge up throughout the day, taking in enough energy to stay lit for most or all of the night.
- A Solar powered bikes: A solar powered electric bicycle not only helps the planet breathe a little easier, but spares your wallet too. Just remember to keep it in the sunlight when you’re not using it.
- Caravan solar panels: The addition of a solar panel can help you escape the ties and restrictions of on-the-grid life. Especially as there is no reliance on connecting to a generator or electric hook-up-point. By installing a solar panel to your caravan, you can keep your camper’s alarm system, cleaning, cooking and personal appliances all charged throughout the day and night.
Are You Ready To Invest In Solar Energy?
As discussed in this blog, there are many ways to go solar. The magic of solar power can be generated and utilised in a variety of ways and at different scales. It is incredible to see a world that is more and more connected. Impacted by the use of solar energy. Individuals, communities, businesses and governments are continuously finding ways to both create and supply solar power through imaginative and far-reaching means. Showing the positive potential solar has as a clean and renewable source of energy. In saying that, Deege Solar is here to help with the switch to solar when you are! Get in touch and together, we can make a difference, by powering more of the UK on Solar Energy.