Solar panels (photovoltaic panels) are used by millions of homeowners worldwide, allowing them to generate their own electricity, reduce their bills, and in many cases actually sell their excess electricity back to the grid. However, the technology was never designed for use within a domestic setting, nor a building setting for that matter. – Solar panels were NASA’s solution to powering their satellites.
In the 1950s NASA were struggling with effectively launching their satellites into space, liquid based fuels would freeze, and other unconventional forms of fuel were often ineffective and temperamental at best. To overcome this issue, solar panels were invented.
Over time, the technology has slowly become more affordable allowing it to be used in a more general context. Like most great developments, it has slowly filtered its way down into the built environment. Solar panels can now provide buildings with a sustainable form of energy, which is not only free, but also highly effective.
Solar panels are available in an array of shapes and sizes, have no mechanical parts, don’t produce any industrial noise, however most importantly, have no emissions and can be used in the majority of homes. They are not an altogether unaffordable technology either, solar panels start from as little as £1,000, a small price to pay when considering the ongoing savings that will be achieved.
Solar panels are most effective when arranged in a photovoltaic array, this is the process of having numerous panels lined up in a grid sequence; this practice ensures that there is the maximum conversion rate, and essentially means the maximum energy.
You may be considering installing your own solar panels but are put off by the upfront costs. Although solar panels aren’t the cheapest, unlike many other forms of fuel, they will eventually pay for themselves in the savings that you’ll make.
The Government has recently introduced a 25-year ‘green’ energy scheme, whereby homeowners that install ‘sustainable’ sources of energy within their residence will benefit from a Government backed incentive scheme. This essentially means that for every unit of energy you produce, the Government will pay you an incentive.
Solar panels are an effective means of producing useable energy, with an average payback period of 14 years, solar panels are by no means a quick and cheap solution, however, from the day they are installed they will generate free energy for you and reduce your yearly bills.
The next time you’re enjoying the pleasures of Benjamin Franklin’s discovery, give a thought to the pleasure that could be taken in the fact that the energy your using would not only free, but could actually reduce your carbon footprint and benefit the environment.