If you have gone to the trouble and expense of getting a solar PV system installed then you will want to get the best out of them. In fact there are a few things that you should be doing if you want to get the best from your investment. Here are a few tips to maximise your return on your solar panels.
No matter how much your solar panels cost or if you managed to get free solar panels for your home the simple fact is they will only be working for you during the hours of daylight. With the UK being firmly in the Northern Hemisphere this means that there is much more sunlight during the Summer than there is in the Winter. Based on Met Office statistics in the Summer months from about May to August we tend to get the most sunshine averaging about 175 to 200 hours a month. For the Winter months, particularly November to February the amount of sunlight fall to a quarter of the Summer average.
Although solar panels can work under diffuse light conditions such as on cloudy days they usually perform at there peak in direct sunlight. This means that you will have a surplus of free solar during the long Summer days and you will have to buy in more electricity from the grid during the long Winter months.
So how can you make the most of all this renewable electricity you are getting? With the feed in tariff you are going to get paid for all the energy you produce whether or not you use it. That is assuming you have purchased the panels yourself and you are getting the money. However you will only get 3p kWh if you export your excess power back to the grid where as it will cost about 4x that much to buy in electricity. This means it is much more cost effective for you to use all the energy you generate.
Most homes will have a base load which comes from appliances such as fridges, freezers and things left on standby. These will be using power most of the time throughout the day and night. Most everything else you can decide when to switch them on or off. So using electrical devices during the day rather than at night time will make the best use of your solar panels.
You can do things like clothes washing, running the dishwasher, cooking and so on during the day. In the Summer you will probably be generating far more electricity than you can use. Whilst it would be silly to waste it needlessly if you do have power hungry electrical device such as an air conditioning unit then run it during the day to keep the house cool.
If you are considering a solar installation you should take a look at what solar panel grants for homeowners are available. This is a particularly good deal if you are at home during the day a lot as you can make good use of all the free electricity that the panels produce. Not sure if solar is right for you, why not take a look at your green electricity options.
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According to DECC figures a 2.5kWh solar PV system can provide half of homes yearly electricity requirements.
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