Ten years ago, the notion of converting your home to solar power may have been regarded as a bold decision that only conservation fanatics would do.

Today, it is a valid consideration for many homeowners with clear practical benefits and readily available sources. With progress in research and product development, the cost of going solar has also dropped by 60%.

The UK, in particular, is considered an ideal region for solar power systems. Though solar panels do require abundant sunlight, they are also prone to overheating especially in very warm countries. However, the weather in the UK is just the right condition and allows systems to operate at optimal efficiency.

If you are planning to shift to solar power, then you will certainly enjoy some notable advantages but at the same time, there are considerations that you need to weigh. Read on, to learn all about it.

Advantages of Going Solar

Savings on electricity bill

A primary benefit that anyone can expect from going solar is savings on electric bills. Most systems can cover 83-106% of your home’s daily energy needs. Even with the bulk of the initial cost, the savings you will get will more than make up for it in the long run.

Long term investment

Speaking of long runs, once installed properly, a solar power system is expected to remain operational for 25 to 30 years. The panels are designed and tested to withstand extreme weather – from heavy rains to strong winds, and even hail storms. Just make sure not to sacrifice quality by going for cheap versions.

Convenience of maintenance

Unlike other contraptions such as cars and motors, solar panels usually do not involve any moving parts. This makes them less prone to wear and tear. Caring for your system will mostly just require the removal of dry leaves and washing it with water to remove dirt and debris. You should also have it checked by a technician every year or so.

Increase the value of your property

From an investor’s perspective, it is worth highlighting that converting to solar power will boost the appraisal value of your property. The question of how much varies across the board but most studies report an increase ranging from 4% up to 14%.

VAT Exemption

Earlier this year, the UK government announced that homeowners in Great Britain who decide to go solar can have their installation VAT-free. This special exemption was to encourage more people into sustainability as well as to help alleviate the burden of rising energy costs in the country.

It took effect in April last year and will remain until March of 2027, giving you ample time to take advantage of this tax benefit.

Factors to Consider

Installation Cost

While converting to solar does come with VAT exemption, it still does require substantial funding.

The cost of installing solar panels can vary depending on the extensiveness of the setup. The price can range from £4,000 to £10,000. Naturally, the larger your house, the bigger your required power. This means you also need more panels, therefore, incurring a higher installation cost.

Suitability of Roofing (Surface area, orientation, and angle)

Another factor to consider is the availability of roof surfaces. On average, solar power systems need about 20m2 of roof area. Bigger houses would require larger surfaces.

The orientation and angle of the roof will also dictate the efficiency of the system. In the UK, the best orientation is facing south as this maximizes the exposure to sunlight during the day. East and West-facing panels can also work but are expected to be around 15% less efficient. North-facing roofs are not recommended.

On the other hand, the optimum slope angle for solar panels is 34° according to a study by Stanford University. Most roofs do not match this specification but solar companies will normally use brackets to set panels to achieve the ideal angle.

Weight Capacity

For obvious reasons, the structural compatibility of your roof also needs to be assessed before any installation can commence. A typical 16-panel solar power system sums up to about 280 kg. That’s equivalent to a 350cc motorbike – with the driver included.

While that sounds like quite a lot for your roof to carry, this weight will be scattered across a wide area and most roofs have no trouble bearing the system. However, the condition of the structure needs to be checked first for any damages or maintenance issues.

Limitation to Daytime Usage

Solar panels do need sufficient sunlight to work and they can still generate energy even during an overcast or a wintery day. However, they obviously cannot support your home at night.

Most systems are designed to automatically redirect to the grid source once daylight fades.

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