Solar Panel Maintenance

Solar Panel Maintenance made easy: A Guide for homeowners

Once you have installed solar panels, it makes sense that you will want to keep them in optimum condition to get the most out of your investment. The good news is that solar panels are designed to be low maintenance and only require basic cleaning to clear dust and debris. Cleaning solar panels can be very straightforward if you follow a few simple tips. Alternatively, there are some excellent solar panel cleaning services out there if you prefer to outsource the task. They can also usually carry out routine maintenance and servicing inspections, including inverter checks and battery performance, at the same time.

Either way, it is important to keep on top of routine cleaning and maintenance. It helps enormously with improving energy production, keeping the panels looking nice and protecting the whole system from damage and dirt. Before you set about hiring solar experts, take a look at the following routine care tips and cleaning techniques.

Timing is everything

You should aim to clean and maintain your solar panels at least twice per year. This will help with ensuring peak performance. The job should be done at the end of autumn to clear away any leaves or dirt left on the panels by the rain. Then, it should be repeated at the end of spring to get them as clean as possible before the strong rays of summer sunshine start to hit. If you live in a dusty area, or in the countryside, where there may be more pollen, you should look at cleaning and maintaining solar panels every three months. Choose an overcast day to clean and carry out maintenance. Good times of day include early morning or late evening when there is less (or no) sun hitting the panels. Do not work on them during excessive heat, rain, snow or high winds.

Pre-checks and visual inspection

Before starting work, do a thorough check of the solar panels to see if there is any damage or other issues needing urgent attention. Look for cracks, breaks or loose connections. You may need to call in an expert if there is serious damage or dirt needing to be shifted. Do not put yourself in danger trying to fix difficult issues yourself or climbing on rooftops to access tricky areas. If the panels are tilted, this will make it easier to inspect and clean them. Rain will also wash away dust and debris (to a certain extent) from tilted panels. If any sections have come away from the roof, you will generally need to have them reattached by a professional solar panel maintenance company. Do not attempt to repair the panels yourself in the name of making cost savings. This can not only be dangerous, but it can also invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty.

Gently does it

Never use an abrasive soap or sponge to clean your solar panels. Instead, use plain, lukewarm water, or a mild detergent that has been specially formulated for the job. Use a soft brush or cloth to rub away any stubborn dirt, taking care not to scrub too hard. This could cause corrosion or scratches to the panels and lead to problems for the inverter and connections. If you clean your solar panels regularly, you should be

able to get away with a gentle clean like this, or even just run a hose across the surface to get rid of any surface dust and debris. Allow the solar panels to air dry. If there is a lot of residue water, wipe them gently with a dry, microfibre cloth. Use a brush or cleaning pole with a long, extendable handle and clean from the ground for maximum safety.

Post-cleaning and maintenance checks

Once you have finished inspecting, cleaning and arranging solar panel maintenance, you should make a note of the date the task was completed, as well as any additional repair or upgrading work that was carried out. This will help you work out when the next clean and maintenance is due. Keep an eye on the inverters to make sure they are flashing green. This helps you with ensuring peak performance after the solar panels have been checked and cleaned. Take a quick look every day to check for anything obvious. Monitor your energy usage and battery storage statistics to make sure that you are generating the amount of electricity that you are expecting to. If anything looks unusual, then book a professional maintenance and/or repair.

energy-saving appliances

 Solar Smarts: Keeping your fridge cold and your wallet happy

We all rely on our fridge to keep perishable foods cold and fresh for longer. However, it can use a fair bit of electricity as it is never turned off at the mains. If you are looking at ways of lowering electricity bills, the fridge may not, therefore be your first thought. However, there can be several cost savings to be found via refrigerator efficiency measures that could become part of more sustainable living. These include switching to solar battery storage instead of relying on mains electricity to power your fridge and freezer.

Here are some more fridge and freezer energy efficiency tips for you to think about, ahead of the late spring and summer seasons.

Keep it clean

We all like to see a clean, hygienic and mess-free fridge. However, how many of us regularly clean the outside of the fridge as well as the inside? Dust and dirt that builds up on the condenser coils at the back of the fridge can stop the fridge from cooling properly, putting pressure on its mechanisms and reducing its efficiency by as much as one-quarter of its normal capabilities. Pull the fridge out so that you can access to the condenser coils and gently vacuum them to get rid of surface dust. Use a brush to shift any stubborn dust or dirt for greater energy efficiency. Vacuum underneath the fridge too, to stop any dust or dirt getting clogged up in the mechanisms and reducing energy efficiency.

Check the seals

If your fridge or freezer doors won’t close properly, the cold air will escape, leading to inefficient cooling and a lower return on investment (ROI). Your appliance will need to work harder and use more electricity to replace the cool air and keep your food chilled or frozen. Check the door seals regularly for signs of damage, warping or hardening. You can usually replace them yourself for very little money, helping keep the costs of energy management down. Keep a regular eye on temperatures inside the fridge or freezer to make sure that the seals are working properly.

Savvy storage

Never put hot food straight into the fridge, such as leftovers or freshly-baked goods. Allow them to cool down first on the side, or on a cooling rack. This will stop the heat from the newly introduced food from raising the temperature inside the fridge. Don’t leave leftovers sitting on the side for more than two hours for food safety reasons, however. If you have time, defrost frozen food slowly inside the fridge rather than leaving it out, or using your microwave’s ‘defrost’ function. The much lower temperatures of the defrosting food will help cool the rest of the refrigerator and reduce the work it has to do to keep everything cold inside.

Think before you open – or restock the fridge

Don’t overload the fridge, or it will be harder to keep things cool and prevent spillages inside. Keep it reasonably full, though, so you are not paying to chill empty space. Try not to open the door too often, or keep it open for too long. This will let

more warm air inside, reducing the effects of your energy-saving appliances on the electricity usage and household bills.

Choose energy-saving appliances

If it is time to upgrade your fridge or freezer, or you are looking for a second or even third model for extra food storage, choose an energy-efficient model, or one that can run using renewable energy. Check the energy rating of your energy-saving appliances to find the best one for sustainable living. Usually, the ratings go from A (most energy-efficient) down to G. You should balance the energy efficiency rating with size, price, capacity and other considerations when choosing your new fridge or freezer.

Solar panel installation

Last, but by no means least, solar panel installation really can make a huge difference to electricity costs. This is not just for fridges and freezer, but throughout the house. Households can enjoy maximising solar savings by switching wholly or partially to off-grid power for running kitchen and other appliances. Collecting solar power during the day means that any excess can be transferred to solar battery storage. This ensures that your fridge and freezer can continue to be powered throughout the night to keep food chilled or frozen and ready to enjoy.

solar panel in winter

Combining solar with storage battery and other ways to make solar power work in the winter

2024 has started off with several periods of strong winds, heavy rain – and snow in some parts of the UK. Coupled with the traditionally overcast skies of January and February and you could be forgiven for thinking that solar power is not an option for powering a home or business in the winter months. This is very much not the case, however. While there may be less sunshine, the solar energy that can be produced is still adequate for most power requirements. In addition, generating electricity using solar with storage battery options means that any excess from unseasonably sunnier days can be stored for use during duller conditions, or at night.

Solar with storage battery

Being able to store solar power makes a photovoltaic solar panel system more efficient all year round. Using solar with storage battery in the winter months means that you can keep the lights on, even during the longer evenings using electricity generated from the winter sun. While it is true that solar energy can be more powerful in the summer when the sun shines for longer, it still generates energy when the weather conditions are less than ideal. Solar panels use sunlight to generate energy rather than temperatures. So, as long as there is still sunlight hitting their surface, solar energy can be generated by the system. Even during sub-zero temperatures or days when clouds are sitting lower in the sky.

How snow can help

When it snows, this can have varying effects on solar panels. If too thick a layer of snow falls on the roof or other surface where the panels are installed, this could, clearly, obscure them from receiving direct sunlight. In this case, it is best to try and clear away the snow if safe to do so to allow sunlight through. Thinner layers of snow – up to around eight centimetres – can still allow light through. However, snow can also have a positive effect in some circumstances. In what is known as the albedo effect, snow that has settled on the ground or elsewhere can reflect sunlight back up to the panels if the angles are right. This increases the amount of sunshine hitting the panels – from above and below.

Winter care for solar with storage battery systems

Another reason why you don’t have to pack away your solar with storage battery systems in the winter is how easily they can be maintained. In fact, winter may be a great time of year to book an annual service. The majority of solar panels are designed to withstand reasonable amounts of heavy rain, hailstones, snow and winds.

It could, however, be wise to cover them if a particularly strong storm or adverse weather conditions are forecast. That said, this is true all year round. If you are especially worried about winter weather damaging your solar panels, there are wire mesh protective covers available that still allow sunlight to get through. If you need to clear away heavy frost or obscuring coverings of snow, use a brush rather than a sharper implement (such as a rake) to avoid scratching the surface.

Top tips for winter performance

As with any system, solar panels will work better when maintained, monitored and handled properly. Keeping systems up to scratch during the winter can be made easier by following a few simple steps. For example, connecting solar with storage battery solutions will enable the system to store more energy for use during dull periods or at night. This is particularly important during the winter months, so ensure that a really good battery is installed and working correctly. Locate batteries somewhere insulated, sheltered and dry for optimum performance.

Keep an eye on the panels themselves too for signs of damage, wear and tear and dirt. The train will dislodge some debris, but regular cleaning and maintenance will keep the system in top working order. It is good practice to arrange regular servicing – your solar with battery storage provider should be able to arrange this. Routine visits for cleaning and inspection will help identify any problems sooner rather than later. It can also help you stay informed about upgrades, add-ons and general advances in solar power technology and design.

solar panel view from top

Why your manufacturing or logistics business needs to invest in warehouse solar panels this year

Manufacturing and logistics businesses typically use a lot of electricity and energy to power machinery, provide lighting and heating for their factories and warehouses. Also to ensure that deliveries can be picked and transported. Such high amounts of electricity can result in sky-high fuel bills and rapidly rising overheads. This is where warehouse solar panels can make a huge difference, not just to a company’s sustainability goals, but to its financial bottom line.

Installing warehouse solar panels

One thing that everyone knows about warehouses is that they are very big indeed, with large, flat surfaces in multiple places. This makes the physical buildings ideal locations for installing photovoltaic panels. They can be positioned to capture as much sun as possible. Multiple sets of panels can also be installed on larger rooftops. Warehouses are normally built in industrial areas alongside other commercial premises. So, the aesthetics of warehouse solar panels are not as important as if they were to be installed in a residential our countryside area. Rather, sleek, elegant warehouse solar panels can actively improve the look of a large, flat roof and inspire other organisations in the vicinity to have them installed.

A long-term investment

Commercial projects involving renewable energy work best when there is room in the business plan for long-term investment. Warehouse solar panels will require an initial financial outlay for their purchase and installation. There may also be financial commitments around annual servicing and regular maintenance contracts. The longer that warehouse solar panels can remain in place, generating electricity for immediate use or storage, the more money they can save the company on energy bills, heating and lighting. Surplus electricity can also be sold back to the National Grid, which can help a commercial premises build up even more income over the longer term.

Climate change, sustainability and the journey to net zero

The green agenda is increasingly prominent in business plans and corporate goal setting. Manufacturing and logistics companies can produce far more carbon and use far more energy than other types of enterprise. Therefore, investments in warehouse solar panels will go a long way towards offsetting the carbon produced by fossil fuels and paving the way towards greater renewable energy use. Electricity generated from warehouse solar panels can help these types of companies improve their sustainability figures and move closer to their stated goals around reducing carbon emissions and achieving net zero.

Employee engagement and productive PR

Many companies are using climate change initiatives as a basis for attracting quality employees and raising awareness of their ecological work in press and PR activities. More and more people are choosing obviously green companies to work for. This is because they align with their personal values around sustainability and protecting the planet’s finite resources. Good manufacturing and logistics staff can be hard to find – and even harder to retain due to the competition and high demand out there. Being able to show prospective employees your warehouse solar panels helping to reduce fossil fuel reliance can be a big selling point when it comes to recruitment. Clearly visible warehouse solar panels can also become an excellent selling point in your company’s PR and marketing collateral. They make excellent subjects for promotional photography and the details of how much energy is produced, stored and sold back to the National Grid can strongly support any green agenda publicity.

Future proofing for your warehouse business

Warehouse solar panels need only be the start of a company-wide shift to renewable energy and green electricity generation. Having an effective, efficient solar panel system can inspire other initiatives that will future-proof the company. Lessening reliance on oil, gas and other fossil fuels to run a manufacturing or logistics business can provide stability in times of unstable geopolitics and conflict. The idea can spread out to other aspects of running the business. For example, electric or hybrid vehicles can be used to transport goods and move pallets around the warehouse. Employees can be incentivised to switch to electric vehicles to get them to and from work each day. Electric charging points and bicycle racks can be installed in the car park. These can even be powered by warehouse solar panels to increase synergy between existing green energy commitments and employees’ access to sustainable resources.

battery with solar panels

Solar battery storage and the rise of AI: Six solar energy trends for 2024

Now that 2024 is upon us, thoughts turn to what the next 12 months have in store for the versatile, rapidly evolving solar energy market. The growth of the popular renewable energy shows no sign of slowing down, with technological advances at the centre of its ongoing evolution. From solar battery storage solutions playing a vital role in ensuring stable energy supplies to artificial intelligence revolutionising energy production, 2024 looks set to be another exciting year for the sector. Here are six trends that look set to continue, or ramp up in the coming year.

Solar battery storage

Pivotal to a successful transition from traditional energy sources to renewable alternatives is the ability to store excess electricity until it is needed. Solar battery storage systems have been increasing in capacity and efficacy for some time. This year, it is thought that this technology will become even more important. Geopolitical instability in key energy areas such as the Middle East and Russia will render the need for renewable energy sources more vital than ever before. Having powerful, technologically advanced solar battery storage solutions in place will help hugely with the need to have access to energy and electricity generated closer to home.

Advances in solar panel technologies

As global attention remains firmly on renewable energy as a way to help combat climate change and reduce fossil fuel use, so investment in associated technology in will continue into 2024. Time and money will be spent on finding ways to ensure that solar power can be accessible and efficient. Advanced solar battery storage solutions will complement greater efficiencies in solar panels. Innovations such as bifacial panels, which can capture solar energy on both sides rather than just one will help with this predicted trend. Other advances are likely to be around increasing the amount of energy that can be collected, and the speed and efficacy of its conversion into useable electricity for a household or business.

Increased support from the Government

Linked to concerns over geopolitical issues affecting energy supply is a predicted continuation of, or even increase in Government support for renewable energy projects and equipment such as solar battery storage and photovoltaic solar panels. Sustainability issues and climate change policies will also shape governments’ responses to the need to support and fund renewable initiatives to help reduce reliance on fossil fuels and promote cleaner energy. Financial incentives like feed-in tariffs and tax credits will also drive growth in domestic and commercial markets.

Decentralising solar power

The trend of moving the control of energy production to individual households and businesses will also continue into 2024, as more people and companies wake up to the benefits of solar panels, solar battery storage and other renewable energy solutions. While the National Grid will continue to play a larger part in providing energy across the UK, more people will be able to produce their own electricity and sell back surplus to the National Grid to help offset the costs of photovoltaic panels and solar battery storage. This will help foster independence and greater resilience when it comes to energy production.

Ongoing interest in renewable energy issues from individuals and businesses

As renewable energy evolves and improves through technological advancements, so the subject will remain high on the agendas of media outlets and discussion fora. Global event such as the series of COP conferences will attract global leaders from around the world. High-level delegates will continue to discuss renewable energy solutions and how to support innovations in solar energy. This will include improving and empowering solutions such as solar battery storage and solar panel technology. The topic of renewable energy will be included on boardroom agendas, school curricula and social media platforms. As such, it will remain in the public domain for the whole year and play a large part in discussions about moving away from oil, gas and other fossil fuels.

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence is becoming more and more integrated into different sectors around the world, from healthcare to city planning; education to communications. Renewable energy and solar power is no exception. The clever technology is playing a larger part than ever before in controlling solar battery storage, optimising solar panel positioning and predicting energy production quantities and timings. The adoption of AI in solar battery storage and panel systems will lead to better performance overall and more effective processes.

care home solar panels

Five reasons why installing care home solar panels should be a priority for 2024

Care home managers must balance many different financial, commercial and healthcare-led areas of work. On top of that, they must put the needs of their residents and their families first, as well as work in harmony with the local communities. A major concern of many stakeholders in the past few years has been working sustainably to help combat climate change and reduce reliance on finite fuel sources. This is where care home solar panels can be a highly desirable addition to a residential care business.

Care home solar panels and the bottom line

Many care homes are feeling the financial squeeze right now. Winter is an expensive time, as heating bills will inevitably increase, as well as medical care for vulnerable residents finding the colder conditions more harmful to their overall health. Installing care home solar panels can help reduce overheads around energy bills. Being able to store any electricity not used straight away in a battery can also help keep costs of electricity used during duller days and at night more manageable. What’s more, any surplus electricity that your care home will not need can be sold to the National Grid to help even more with finances and longer-term budgeting.

Communications, marketing and care home solar panels

More and more businesses are waking up to the marketing and communications advantages of visibly pursuing a more sustainable way of operating. In the same way, care home solar panels can really help managers show potential and existing residents and their families that they are not simply paying sustainability lip service. Installing visible care home solar panels on the roof of the building sends a powerful message to visitors. Talking about how a care home is generating greener energy makes for a compelling marketing campaign. Care home solar panels could even provide that sought-after ‘edge’ over competitors who have not yet taken the decision to invest.

Care home solar panels and the wider community

Sometimes, when one business in a community makes a move towards more sustainable operations, other will follow their lead. Solar panels can be easily spotted on a roof or flat surface and can generate a lot of interest locally. Likewise, they can be a source of education for local schools, other care homes and community groups, who could be interested in talking to you and your team about the benefits that you are experiencing. Another way to help the wider community is to sell any surplus electricity to the National Grid. This helps reduce pressure on the fossil fuels needed to produce energy for conventional energy suppliers.

Future proofing care homes with greener energy

Another reason why care home solar panels are a good idea is to prepare for future advances in energy generation. We are seeing ever increasing involvement of renewable energy sources in the way we power our lives. From electric cars to heat pumps and solar panels, technology and systems once considered quirky or off-beat are becoming conventional and accepted as the norm. If you have care home solar panels already installed when the time comes for you to sell the business, this can be a big advantage. Care homes traditionally use a high amount of electricity, especially when it comes to heating and lights. As legislation moves with the times too, to incentivise renewable energy initiatives, you will already be in position to benefit from grants and avoid having to make changes rapidly at a greater cost in order to comply with new green laws.

Using care home solar panels to inspire other green initiatives

Finally, the benefits that solar panels bring can often lead to other green living alterations to care homes’ operations. For example, saving water by installing eco showers and tap aerators and collecting rainwater. Switching to smart radiator valves, ventilation and heating controls and exterior lighting to save energy. Other areas include encouraging staff to use electric cars, or changing to electric or hybrid minibuses or coaches for daytrips. Other energy saving ideas inspired by care home solar panels could also include renewing or adding to insulation and plugging gaps under doors and around windows. You could also encourage staff and residents to recycle more by providing plenty of marked bins to help people work out where to put their rubbish.

commercial solar panels

Why your business should invest in commercial solar panels

Solar panels on houses and domestic properties are now commonplace. Numbers of people seeking to change to a more sustainable way of living are increasing every year. However, domestic life is not the only avenue towards trying to live a greener existence. Commercial solar panels are a great way to reduce energy bills, lower your business’s reliance on fossil fuels and show your customer base that you don’t just ‘talk the talk’ when it comes to choosing eco-friendly options for your energy sourcing. Here are five commonly asked questions about installing commercial solar panels.

Does my business need planning permission for commercial solar panels?

As a general rule, planning permission is not needed for businesses installing commercial solar panels. However, this may not be the case everywhere, so it is important to double check before committing to any orders or dates for starting work. Make sure you know any legal restrictions that may apply. These could include size, number and shape of panels, where they can be installed and at what angle. If you don’t own the building in which your business operates, you will need the landlord’s permission to carry out the installation. They may need to look into whether or not they are allowed to agree to the work under the terms of their mortgage or other lending company, as well as the local council or authorities.

What do I need to consider when choosing commercial solar panels?

There are several factors to think about, from cost to chosen specifications. An immediate question is whether your chosen surface is physically suitable to have commercial solar panels installed. Can it take their weight, will it get enough exposure to the sun and will it cause an eyesore for neighbours etc. Will the energy it produces really end up offsetting your current energy bills enough to justify the initial expense of the solar panels? Who should you choose to install the panels? Always do your research to find a reputable company. Decent companies should have a history of good reviews, non-pushy sales techniques and a reputation for excellent customer service.

How do commercial solar panels work?

The system works by converting energy from the sun into useable electricity. This is done via photovoltaic cells that are arranged into panels and installed on flat surfaces with exposure to the sun. Solar energy is converted into DC electricity that then flows into an inverted that changes it to an AC current. This can then be fed into the property and used to power lights, heat, appliances etc., just like electricity from conventional sources. Any surplus energy generated from commercial solar panels can be stored in a battery for use when conditions are darker. This can be during cloudy weather conditions or at night. Or it can be sold back to the National Grid to offset the installation costs.

What benefits will commercial solar panels bring to my business?

The financial benefits are clear – reductions in bills from conventional energy sources to help with overheads, potential to sell surplus electricity back to the National Grid, as well as eligibility for grants to help support sustainable changes to businesses. However, having commercial solar panels also helps motivate and retain employees with a desire to work for eco-conscious companies. This can also help companies strengthen relationships with customers and industry peers. Commercial solar panels can also play a large part in helping you move closer to your stated goals to achieve net zero carbon emissions, gain energy independence and help combat the effects of climate change.

How much will commercial solar panels cost?

The answer to this question really does depend on the size and type of panels being considered. There may also be additional costs associated with checking the property is suitable for their installation, or in upgrading or expanding on existing photovoltaic systems. There may be grants and loans available to help with initial installation costs. If your business can sustain the initial outlay, it can read large rewards over the longer term, as energy costs reduce. Many installation companies include an element of after-sales support and annual maintenance in their quote, and/or offer competitive rates for regular servicing contracts and repair work.

Solar panel future trends: our top six predictions

The capabilities and scope of solar power have increased rapidly over the past decade or so. Signs are that this evolution will continue at a similarly dramatic speed as we head towards the second quarter of the 21st Century. Solar panel trends are informed by the growing need for alternative, renewable energy sources. Pressure on fossil fuels and traditional energy sources is increasing, which in turn is contributing to climate change and irrevocable damage to the planet’s ecosystems.

Solar power future trends

Switching to solar power is just one way in which homes and businesses can contribute to a more sustainable way of sourcing and using energy. The technology has benefited from numerous innovations, attention and funding from around the world. Here are six solar power future trends that we are expecting to see in the coming months and years ahead.

  • Clever technological developments

Alongside advancements in photovoltaic panel efficiency, there are several other future solar panel trends around developments in technology. Thes include the increasing use of AI and internet connectivity to control and optimise solar panel performance. Other areas being researched include using nano materials, as well as fitting photovoltaic cells into roof tiles and walls and creating transparent panels to go in windows and skylights. All of these developments will offer architects innovative solutions to ‘hide’ solar panels more effectively and allow greater design flexibility.

  • Increased domestic take-up

As alternative energy becomes more prevalent, and commonplace, it is likely that increasing numbers of domestic homes will invest in solar power. This is one of the solar panel future trends that is informed by increases in efficacy and cost. As the technology evolves, so the amount of energy that a single photovoltaic panel can produce will increase. More energy produced per panel will mean that fewer units will be needed to power the home and installation and maintenance costs will fall. It also goes without saying that increased efficiency will lead to greater demand – and higher demands for domestic solar energy storage solutions. Battery capacities are expected to increase, and with them, safety measures and charging solutions will improve.

  • Increased commercial take-up

Additionally, greater emphasis on sustainable working methods and reducing carbon usage is informing many commercial mission statements, strategies and plans. This will lead to increased interest in solar technology and its many benefits, from the financial bottom line (saving energy costs) to the PR department (positive publicity). Solar power can represent a firm and very public commitment to green working practices for savvy business owners with an eye on solar panel future trends.

  • Increased support from governments and policymakers

In addition, greater investment in larger-scale solar projects like solar farms by the utility companies are bringing renewable energy far more to policymakers’ attention. This is likely to attract government funding and partnership working to ensure that the development of these larger-scale solar panel future trends can benefit entire communities, towns or even, one day, countries. Solar power will also become more prominent in government policy making around feed-in tariffs, renewable energy targets and initiatives to encourage public uptake in renewable energy solutions.

  • Sustainable living trends

Solar power, despite being a green energy solution in and of itself, could also become instrumental in driving other sustainable solutions in the fight against climate change. Some of the more intriguing solar panel future trends evolve around this concept. They include solar powered drones to monitor crops, survey land and record climate data. Solar panels could also power drones that deliver packages, thus reducing reliance on road vehicles for this type of logistics. Innovations in solar powered water treatment plants could also develop, helping to reduce the amount of carbon emissions and fossil fuels needed to purify water.

  • Transport sector and infrastructure

Solar powered vehicles are an inevitable part of solar panel future trends. The drive for sustainable living is extending to our transport systems, with electric and hybrid vehicles now an established sight on the roads. Installing solar panels to power electric vehicle charging stations could be another direction to take. Solar panels can also be developed for caravans and motor homes for greener energy on the move. Other solar panel future trends around transportation could include solar powered roads that integrate panels that can power streetlights, traffic signals, advertising hoardings and electronic display boards, amongst other civic and transport infrastructure.

concept of solar panel finance

How To Pick The Right Solar Panel Finance For You And Your Home

Investing in renewable energy can be easier than you might imagine, thanks to more solar panel finance options being available now than ever before. Buying and having a system installed can represent a large amount of money to have to spend upfront. It is not always easy to find a larger amount of money at the very start of the process.

What Are Your Solar Panel Finance Options?

Solar panels can be a wise investment over the longer term, given the rising costs of energy. There is also the possibility of selling surplus electricity back to the National Grid under the UK government’s smart export guarantee scheme. So, how do you choose the right type of solar panel finance for you and your individual circumstances?

Cash

This one may seem obvious, but if you have got enough cash in the bank to cover purchase and installation costs, this is an easy way to sort out your solar panel finance. This is a good move if you plan to stay in your home for a few more years. This is because any capital investments like this into a property can help it maintain or even increase its market value later on when you do come to sell. Also, being able to pay for the work without having to worry about ongoing financing arrangements is both reassuring and useful for future budgeting.

Loans

Of course, not everyone has the right amount of cash sitting around, waiting to be spent on a solar panel system. Another option for your solar panel finance is to take out a loan. There are specialist solar panel and home improvement loans out there that are tailored to this exact situation. You can apply for the exact amount to cover the work and have the panels installed straight away. This solar panel finance option will help you save money on bills and maybe help you sell surplus electricity back to the National Grid. You can use this money to start paying back the loan. One thing to bear in mind is that you will be responsible for repairing and maintaining the panels, even before you can own them outright.

solar panels paid for with solar panel finance

Leasing Arrangements

Some solar panel companies offer a leasing arrangement by which you can have the system installed, but it remains the property of a third party. This solar panel finance arrangement works for people who are not planning to stay in the same home or business premises for very long. They can benefit from utility bill savings and more sustainable energy generation without having to commit to a sizable cash investment on installation. There can be complications if you choose to sell your home while the leasing agreement is still in place. You may have to pay quite a lot to be let out of the lease early. However, this is something that you may be able to work out with the new owners if they are happy to take over the lease.

Remortgage

If you are very keen on having solar panels installed and have enough capital in your property, you may like to consider a re-mortgage. Lenders are usually happy to consider renegotiating the terms of a mortgage for home improvement projects like this. After all, solar panels can help a property increase in value, especially during a cost of living and energy crisis.Always do your research. You will need to know how a re-mortgage will impact upon your future repayment plans. You must also be able to understand your ability to meet any additional repayments in the longer term.

Whichever solar panel finance option you choose, it is vital to do your homework. Can you handle the implications of your chosen method? For example, if you up-front the cash, will this leave you short in other areas? If you plan to take out a solar panel loan or remortgage, can you meet the repayments? If leasing is your preferred way to go, are you planning to stay long in your home, and what happens if you sell up before the lease agreement is up?

It can be a good idea to speak to a reputable solar panel installation company to see what they would recommend for you. Every situation is different, and you must feel confident that you have chosen the right solar panel finance for you before proceeding with the installation work.

Solar powers being provided by a solar panel on people's homes

Six Unusual Ways To Use Solar Power For Your Home Or Business

Whether you have already got photovoltaic solar panels installed at your home or commercial premises, or are thinking about taking the plunge to convert to solar power, a key consideration is making sure that you get the most value out of your investment. Using solar energy to light and power a building is fairly commonplace. However, such is the versatility of this renewable energy technology that there are many other ways to take advantage of your solar panel system, once it is up and running.

As well as saving energy and reducing fuel bills, solar panels can also help power a range of applications and sustainable living initiatives. From smaller appliances to property-wide power requirements, here are some unusual ways to use solar power at home or work.

Solar Powered Garden Lighting

We tend to think about using solar panels to power indoor lighting, but the technology can also work well for outdoor lights. From strings of fairy lights to full-on landscape lighting set-ups and greenhouse lamps, outdoor lighting can be powered by solar panels charging batteries during the day, or by having the lights connected directly to the building’s main electrical system. Other garden electrical applications include electric mowers, hedge cutters, strimmers etc. All of which can be powered using energy generated by photovoltaic panels.

Immersion Heating

Immersion heaters can be connected to solar power too via an immersion diverter. This piece of technology keeps track of how much solar power is being generated and used. It then diverts any surplus towards powering your immersion heater and providing the building with hot water. This can all be done automatically, so you can set it up and then leave it to work on its own. This is a great way to ensure that you can use more of the electricity generated, should you not wish, or are unable, to store it over a longer time period.

Electric Vehicle Charging

As more and more people switch to electric cars and vehicles, the need for charging points also becomes more pressing. This is an increasingly important factor in town planning, which can also be replicated in homes and businesses. If you are keen to live a more sustainable life with less reliance on fossil fuels, consider combining an electric vehicle with using solar energy to power a charging point outside your home or business premises. You could even use a solar battery to store electricity just for the purposes of charging electric vehicles of occupants of – and visitors to – the building.

Security Systems

Using solar-powered energy for home and commercial security systems is another way to make good use of the electricity generated by your photovoltaic panels. You can connect all kinds of security devices and equipment to the system, from lights and motion sensors to burglar alarms and CCTV cameras. Adding a solar power battery to the system that stores surplus energy will help keep the security systems running at night, when the need for uninterrupted surveillance is often greater, or when the weather is cloudy and dull.

Charging Devices

We all rely on being able to charge up devices such as mobile phones, laptops, tablets etc. As the world becomes increasingly digital, we need to stay in touch with the online world more than ever before. Solar power helps us do that by providing electricity in general for a residential home or business premises via electric sockets and USB ports. Many solar panel systems can also incorporate connections that convert the DC to allow users to plug devices in for direct charging. Another useful way to stay connected while taking advantage of renewable, greener power.

Farming And Animal Care

Solar panels can also help power lighting and heating for any animals or pets that may live partly or wholly outside, or in an outhouse of some kind. For example, lighting inside a chicken coop alarmed security systems or heating for lambing barns on a smallholding. Energy costs can often be higher for farmers and those who keep larger numbers of animals – using solar energy to power essential lighting and heating systems can help keep animals warm, healthy and safe without having to shoulder huge bills or continue to rely heavily on the National Grid.

solar installers with solar panel

How To Live More Sustainably And Save Energy This Summer

Summer’s longer days and warmer temperatures tend to mean that you don’t have to spend as much money on heating or lighting your home. However, there are still many calls on your pocket when it comes to electricity bills and other power requirements. Making conscious decisions to save energy and reduce the reliance your household has on fossil fuels and the National Grid over the summer will not only help you to cut expenditure, but will also contribute to a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly way of life.

From finding non-electric ways to cool your home on a hot day to contacting local solar installers, here are some ideas to help you save energy this summer.

Use The Outdoors

One great advantage to summer is the ability to move much more of your life and daily routines outdoors. This can often lead to reduced reliance on electricity. For example, eating meals in the garden is great fun and firing up the BBQ or making a big salad reduces the amount of fuel needed for cooking lunch and/or supper too. You could also encourage the whole family to spend time outside. This helps cut down on electricity used to power games consoles, TVs, smartphones and tablets and you can even teach the kids how to grow and harvest their own food and flowers.

Contact Solar Installers

If you have been thinking about installing solar panels, then summer could be an excellent time to bite the bullet and get it done. Longer, sunnier days will allow the work to be completed without being interrupted by inclement weather. You can also have more time to get used to living with your new electricity generation arrangements. As autumn turns to winter, temperatures will drop, evenings will draw in and you will need to rely more on power to heat and light your business or home. Ask your solar installers about solar batteries, so you can store any excess electricity that is not needed straight away.

Keep Things Cool

Before you reach for the air conditioning controls, if you have a system installed, think about other ways you can cool down your home. Often, you can keep the air moving and the temperature down for free, or for much less cost. Open the windows and internal doors. If there is any sort of cooling breeze outside, this can help air circulate throughout the house. Open windows at all sides of the property for an uninterrupted air flow. Of course, if the air outside is warmer, keep the windows shut and consider closing the curtains too – it is normally easier to stop warm air entering a home than cooling it down once it is inside.

Have An Energy Efficient Summer

Think carefully about how you use your appliances and amenities during the summer. There could be many ways to reduce the amount of energy you use. For example, switching to a cooler setting for the clothes washing machine and waiting until you have a full load to do. Also, warmer summer days enable you to dry clothes outside instead of relying on the tumble dryer. Turn appliances off at the mains when heading out for a summer day out or holiday to save energy. Turn the thermostat down a notch or two and get your boiler serviced now, ahead of the winter months. Defrost the fridge and freezer so that it doesn’t have to work quite so hard and to keep it running efficiently.

Watch Your Water Use

Saving water is a great way to live more sustainably and this is possible even in the hotter summer months. You could collect rainwater to water the garden, rather than running the hose too much. Water the lawn and plants in the early morning or evening so that water doesn’t evaporate too much during the heat of the day. Save the water that you use to wash salad leaves, fruit and veg to add to a bird bath outside. Look at installing water saving devices such as an aerator for your taps or a timer for your shower. Put a jug of water in the fridge for people to help themselves when they feel thirsty or hot. When we run the tap to wait for the water to cool down each time we want a drink, this can waste a lot of water.

solar panel system on home roof that uses a solar battery

What You Need To Know About Looking After Your Solar Battery

When you invest in a solar panel system, you inevitably want it to last as long as possible and to perform effectively in order to maximise your investment. One key way of doing this is to extend the life of your solar battery. You can do this by keeping it clean and well-maintained. In addition, it is a good idea to learn how to use it properly in order not to place undue stress on it or cause it to deteriorate more rapidly. Here are some ways to ensure your solar battery remains in tip-top condition for longer.

Get It Right From The Start

Always follow an expert solar panel installer’s guidance when choosing how many solar batteries to install and how much power you need them to be able to store and discharge. Overloaded systems can be very dangerous. Always choose the best quality solar batteries you can afford. It is better to buy batteries capable of more capacity than you think you need. You may end up needing extra capacity later on as power requirements increase. Voltages change over time, and adding newer batteries with different voltages can adversely affect a system’s overall performance.

Depth Of Discharge

Depth of discharge means how much power you can get out of your battery before you need to recharge it. This can vary from type to type, depending on the chemistry of each battery. Your solar panel system installer can tell you which chemistry your solar battery has, and how best to charge it. Some are designed to be recharged daily to gain energy from the sun during the day and discharge it to power your property after dark. Others may need to be charged for a longer or shorter time period to be more effective. Once you know this, it will be easier to work out how to use your solar battery and panel system most efficiently.

Storage And Temperature

Some batteries are designed to be stored indoors only, while others can withstand being kept anywhere. Again, check with your installer what you need to do to protect the particular solar battery your system incorporates. You may need to install your battery somewhere enclosed, such as a garage, outhouse or cellar. If you position it in the wrong place, exposure to harmful temperatures can seriously affect its performance and even cause safety issues. So, avoid scenarios where it could freeze in sub-zero temperatures, or overheat in the summer months. Also, avoid overly damp or brightly lit locations. Make sure it is accessible for maintenance, repair or cleaning.

Cleaning And Maintenance 

Speaking of which, keeping your solar battery clean and well-maintained is also important. This can be carried out by solar power engineers during their annual servicing visit. However, in between appointments, there are other ways you can ensure your solar battery remains free from dirt and debris.

  • Disconnect the battery for safety before starting to clean it.
  • Use a damp cloth to gently wipe the battery surface.
  • Don’t let any water pool on the battery, especially not near the top, as this can cause damage.
  • Always wear gloves and safety goggles, as there could be acid on the surface.
  • Allow to dry naturally or pat with a dry cloth. Keep the general area free from dust, garden debris etc.
  • Never attempt battery maintenance without expert input and advice.

Corrosion Protection

Cleaning can go a long way to help prevent corrosion – a major problem for batteries of all kinds. However, there are also other ways to help prevent your solar battery terminals from becoming corroded.

  • Wipe away any dust or moisture regularly with a dry cloth.
  • Avoid locating batteries where the rain can get in and make contact.
  • Keep them out of direct sunlight.
  • Aim to bring the batteries to a full state of charge roughly every three weeks. This helps to reduce internal deterioration and corrosion and stops the battery from degrading through lack of use.
  • Avoid spilling anything on the battery’s surface and wipe anything that does fall on it away immediately.
  • Include the solar battery in your annual solar panels maintenance appointment – ask for a corrosion check and a full clean and service.