Renewable energy is in the news constantly, as climate change is forcing everyone to look at ways to help the planet. Out of all the different options for alternative energy, perhaps solar power is the most viable.
While hydro and wind power also offers great alternatives to fossil fuels, it is solar that has made the biggest impact on the general public. It is common to see solar-powered devices from garden lights to USB power banks these days.
Only recently it was announced on the BBC that a new solar farm is to be built in Chelmsford. This installation will be capable of powering around 8,000 homes in the area without the need for any traditional energy sources.
While solar energy use is commendable, there is one area that gets overlooked by many users. If you are not using a solar battery system with your PV panels, then you may not be getting all the benefits of renewable energy.
Is it Worth Investing in Solar Panels?
Many of the government schemes and previous incentives for installing solar panels have ceased. This has caused some to ask, are solar panels still a good investment in the UK?
The answer is yes, absolutely. Solar panels are still worth investing in for the benefit they give to the environment, and for the cost savings that the owner will make.
There is of course an initial layout when installing solar panels, and this can put some people off from making the transition. However, over time, solar panels will pay for themselves, and then provide a return on the initial investment.
What are Solar Batteries?
Where some solar panel owners may be missing out on, is the use of excess energy. Solar panels convert the sun’s energy into electricity. The panels rely on daylight and the sun for this energy, and then at night households with solar power will have to switch back to the grid for electricity.
This means that solar panel owners can reduce their use of electricity and have lower utility bills. If a solar battery system is put into place though, there may be no need to use the grid at all.
Solar batteries store the excess electricity that is created by PV solar systems so that they can be used at night when the panels are not working. By using solar battery storage to keep excess energy, the homeowner may have little use for a utility company’s electricity.
Do you Need Them if you Have Solar Panels?
While it is true that you don’t need to have solar batteries to use PV or thermal panels, you are missing out on several benefits if you don’t install them.
A solar battery system means that excess power is not wasted. When panels are producing power that you are not using, there is a chance that it will be diverted back to the grid.
By storing excess energy, you are ensuring that you will have power at night when the panels cannot work. You could also profit by selling excess energy to your utility company. The Smart Export Guarantee was brought in to help people who support renewable energy by letting them sell their excess energy back to the grid.
What are the Benefits of Using Solar Batteries?
The benefits are fairly clear to see. Solar power itself is one of the best renewable sources of energy. It is the most practical as far as homeowners are concerned and it is being utilised in a number of different ways.
The advantages of clean solar panels include reducing the damage caused by fossil fuels. Homeowners can be safe in the knowledge that no matter how much solar power they use, there is no impact on their environment.
By adding a solar battery system, the user can make the PV panels a bit more effective. There is no waste as the energy will be stored for later use. Utility bills will be smaller. And there may even be a profit if excess energy is sold back.
Are Solar Batteries Eco-Friendly?
A typical solar battery will last between five and fifteen years, so it will need replacing when compared to the life of solar panels. However, they are much longer-lasting than traditional batteries for example.
They are quiet so there is no noise pollution, unlike standard power generators. Some types such as nickel-cadmium batteries are completely recyclable also.
Solar batteries offer many benefits and would be particularly useful in areas prone to blackouts. Having stored energy means the owner is no longer reliant on the national grid and can be assured of having energy nearly all the time.
When the cost savings are considered, and the convenience of being independent of the grid, it would seem that PV solar panel systems are only half effective without having batteries installed too.
There are still some concerns over the manufacture of solar panels, but all-in-all, solar energy is far more environmentally friendly than the standard alternatives.