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Solar PV - Can It Really Rival Gas?

Solar PV (otherwise known as Solar Photovoltaics) is a method of converting solar energy collected by panels into live current electricity. A very green way to generate power for your home or business, there have been claims that this new form of power could become cheaper than our traditional method of burning gas in just a few short years - but will we really be seeing the difference in 2018?

What Is Solar PV?

The solar panels you commonly see installed on the roofs of private homes or business properties are PV cells, made from layers of semi-conducting material. This is usually silicon, but other semi-conductor materials could be used. These cells are activated when light shines on them, creating a small electrical field across all of the layers. The stronger the sunshine, the stronger the electrical field becomes, and the more electricity is produced. Dozens of these cells are often placed together to maximise effectiveness, sometimes powering entire homes in the height of summer.

The cells used in solar PV are measured in a unique way called kilowatts peak (kWp), which measures the rate of electricity generation in full direct sunlight during summer. In real world terms - a 4kWp system can generate, on average, around 3,800 killowatt hours of electricity every single year, which is roughly the same as a typical household's electricity consumption. But the reason it is fast overtaking gas as the preferable power source is because it is cheaper to produce and can save nearly 2 tonnes of CO2 from being pumped into the atmosphere every year.

What Are The Benefits?

As well as the obvious benefits above, there are a few other great advantages to solar PV panels. While they might cost a little to install, the benefits vastly outweigh the drawbacks, and you will start seeing results quickly. Some of the benefits you will see from solar PV include:

Cutting Your Electricity Bills. The wonderful advantage of sunlight is that it is free - so once you've paid the initial installation fees your electricity bills will be significantly reduced.

Get Paid For The Power You Generate. As well as being able to use the free power you generate you can also choose to take part in the governments 'Feed-in Tariff' incentive, which not only pays you for every kWp you generate (even if you use it) but also allows you to sell the electricity you don't use back to the government. Being green never looked so good!

Cut Your Carbon Footprint In Half. Because solar electricity is a green renewable energy source, it doesn't release harmful toxins like CO2 into the environment. To put that into perspective - a typical home using solar PV could save around a tonne of CO2 a year, which adds up to 30 tonnes over the average lifetime.

How Does It Measure Up To Gas?

There have been many studies into the effectiveness of solar PV against traditional gas power sources, and as time goes on it is becoming clear that solar PV is the fuel of the future. Not only is it better for the environment, but in just a few short years it will become cheaper too. Government projections state that solar energy generated through solar PV will be cheaper than the wholesale price of current electricity by 2025, but it will be more effective and efficient long before that. While we might be happy running on gas at the moment, it won't be long before we are running on fumes. Luckily when that day comes we will have a clean and renewable energy source to replace it.

To find out more about our Oil, Gas & Biomass Heating systems (we don't do solar PV), please call Aster Maintenance on 01252 844 055 or send an enquiry and we will be pleased to advise on how we can help your home or business to become more energy efficient.