Should you invest in solar panels?

Should you invest in solar panels?

As our worldwide energy crisis continues to complicate itself, more and more efforts are being made towards renewables. As this happens, our bills are rising due to the sheer amount of investment needed to develop the renewable infrastructure we already have in place. What are the alternatives? Well, if you have some money that you are prepared to invest, solar panels have the power to remove your need for an electricity company completely, keeping the hundreds of pounds you spend every year on electricity in your pocket. Using solar panels makes you a huge ROI, all whilst doing your bit towards renewables. In this article you’ll find out everything you need to know about solar panels and whether they are the right move for you.

How much do they cost?

Solar panels come in a variety of shapes, sizes, prices and brands, so there’s no one answer to that question, but we can give you an idea of how much you are likely to pay for each system size. The most common solar panel type is the standard ‘monocrystalline silicon’ system. These have increased massively in generation efficiency in recent years, making new-buyers much more money for less investment.

For this panel type you are looking at paying the following:

 

System size Annual output Roof space Cost
1 kW 850 kWh 8 m2 £2,500 – 3,200
2 kW 1,700 kWh 14 m2 £3,200 – 4,800
3 kW 2,550 kWh 21 m2 £4,000 – 7,000
4 kW 3,400 kWh 28 m2 £6,000 – 8,000

Source: expertsure.com 

Which system size should I buy?

The system size you buy will be down to your personal preference and how much money you are willing to invest. The two main variables that will determine your desired size will be:

  • How much electricity you use in a year
  • Whether you want to generate 100% of your electricity or just a portion

If you decide that you’d like to generate the entirety of your electricity, you need to calculate your average yearly usage and then add around 10% just to be sure. So, for example, if you use the national average consumption of around 3,100 kWh per year, you would add around 300 kWh onto the total, which means a 4 kW system, that generates around 3,400 kWh per year, would be perfect for you.

If, however, just want to remove some of your reliance on your electricity supplier, you could just invest a small amount for a 1 or 2 kW system. Even having these will reduce the amount you spend on electricity substantially and after your investment has been paid off, you are in pure profit.

How long until I see ROI?

Obviously this will depend on how much you invest in the first place and how much energy you use, but the average way time for ROI is 18 years. That said, due to the new Feed-In Tariff  from the government that has been implemented to encourage the generation of renewables, you may be able to make your investment back even quicker. If you are enrolled onto this tariff, you will receive money for every kWh that you use or indeed do not use.

Another point here is that obviously the larger system size you buy, the larger your ROI is going to be in the future. After you have broke even, you will be in pure profit. Not only will you pay zero for your electricity, but you will actually receive payment every month from the Feed-In Tariff.

What about when there’s no light?

So, you’re probably wondering “what happens at night time?”. Well, in order to use electricity that is not being generated in real time, you will need to buy a storage battery. There are various brands and capacities available for electricity storage. They are usually place near to your solar panels or on the side of your house. They allow you to store energy that you generate through the day and don’t use. This is great for peak usage hours and times when you are not generating little or any electricity.

Of course, if you are to add a storage battery into the equation, you are going to have to factor that into your ROI. If you pay £1,000 for your battery, then you’re probably looking at another couple of years before you see a ROI. If, however, you are going to be generating 100% of your own electricity with no connection to an electricity company, this is not optional. You will need a storage system to back you up in times of low light.