It’s the ultimate win-win: doing your bit to save the planet while ALSO saving money for yourself. And when you look at it like that, it’s little wonder that so many people have made the switch to the clean, green energy that comes from solar power. Renewables like wind, solar and biomass have now overtaken fossil fuels as the UK’s preferred energy source, contributing between 40 and 50 per cent of the country’s supply. Solar power has been a huge part of this success story, thanks in part to its uptake by smart-thinking homeowners throughout the UK, who have been able to contribute to reducing carbon emissions – as well as their household bills.
So, how much do solar panels save? It’s a question we hear a lot. And while the simple answer to whether or not solar panels will save you money is yes, the answer to how much money solar panels will save you depends on a couple of key factors, including
- Energy supplier – naturally, the cost you pay for electricity will vary depending on the rates set by your supplier, and when it comes to saving money, we say: the greener the better! Suppliers such as Octopus Energy have made headlines in the past 12 months for negative energy prices. That’s right, there have been times when green energy uses have effectively been paid to use electricity. Going with a green supplier who puts more emphasis on solar power and other renewables is more likely to save you money in the long run.
- Usage habits – when do you use the majority of your electricity? If you’re at home using energy during the day, this will result in quicker and more obvious savings, as you will be able to use your solar system to power this usage. If you’re out most days and tend to use more energy in the evenings, savings will be reduced as you will have to use the National Grid for this. A lot more people work from home these days, meaning that typical household daytime energy use has gone up. Solar panels could be a great means of offsetting and paying for those costs.
- Solar energy batteries – what about if you’re not at home to use energy during the day, or you want to save that energy for use at night when the sun has gone down? For this, you will need a home energy storage battery, or solar power battery, which is capable of drawing down and storing excess energy generated by your system. This is a great way of really driving up your savings, as it means you’re reducing your reliance on the National Grid – and on paying energy suppliers – even further. How much do solar panels save? Even more when you link them to a storage battery.
- Location – a south-facing roof is the prime location for solar panels. This will maximise their energy production and lead to higher savings compared to other orientations. There are also some minor differences between the savings that can be made depending on whereabouts in the country your home is. According to the Energy Savings Trust, houses in the South East may save a small amount more each year than those in Scotland, due to differing daylight hours and UV intensity.
Can I get paid for my solar power?
Another consideration to be made in answering the question ‘how much do solar panels save’ is the possibility of being paid for generating solar power at home. This is a key part of making back the initial investment required for the installation of solar panels. Since last year, big energy companies have been required by law to give you payments for any energy that you generate but don’t use. This is great news for consumers because it’s a way of earning back money from your solar system, and it also reduces waste, which is great for the environment. This system is called the Smart Export Guarantee, and all you have to do to start receiving payments is to sign up with a supplier which is part of the scheme. Be aware the payments can differ by supplier, so shop around for the ones that will give you the best kickbacks. You can find out more about available rates via the Solar Trade Association.
If you had solar installed before last year, and signed up to the Feed-In Tariff scheme, the good news is that you will continue to receive payments for solar power until the end of your contract. Then you can move over to the Smart Export Guarantee to carry on the savings!
Will I still get energy bills?
Regardless of how much you save with solar panels, you’re likely to still have to pay an electricity bill at the end of each month. But as we’ve found out, the size of this bill can be reduced by a number of factors, such as signing up with a green energy supplier and using more electricity during the day. How much do solar panels save? The answer will vary depending on your individual circumstances, but rest assured you’ll be helping your pocket as well as the planet if you decide to make the switch.
Our friendly experts are on-hand to talk you through the potential savings that can be made from solar panels, as well as any other questions you have on the merits of solar power and how it all works. Remove the guesswork and get tailored advice by speaking to us today.