5 Advantages of Installing Flat Roof Solar Panels

When you think of solar panels, we’re betting you conjure up images of a sloping roof with panels fixed on firmly to capture the sun’s energy at an optimum angle. However, the system can work just as effectively on flat roofs as they do on slopping ones. Depending on the type and size of the system you choose, flat roof solar panels can actually work more effectively than some sloping ones. So, whether you are interested in flat roof solar panels for a domestic property or commercial premises, read on to find out the advantages of flat roof solar panels and why they are such a great investment.

Why Choose Flat Roof Solar Panels?

In some cases, the choice of which type of solar panels to investing in is made for you – if you only have space for them on a sloped or flat roof, for example. However, if you do have some flexibility, it is well worth looking into flat roof solar panels. Here are the advantages of flat roof solar panels and why they can be a winning solution.

1. Versatility in How They Are Installed

When you fit solar panels to a sloping roof, you need to work with the existing angle and pitch of the roof. This is not the case for flat roof panel installations. As there is no pitch, the system can be angled as you choose, in order to capture the most sun and work as efficiently as possible. A good angle for solar panels is somewhere between 30 and 60 degrees.

UPS Solar Commercial Solar Panels - advantages of flat roof solar panels

Panels can go in the middle of the flat roof or to either side with no obstacles in their way. Installers use specially designed brackets to fit the flat roof solar panels securely and then angle them exactly as they need to. If there are concerns over whether they will withstand heavy weather conditions, metal frames or ballast can be added for extra support and weight.

2. Self-Cleaning and Safer Maintenance

One concern that many people have about installing solar roof panels is how they can keep them clean and free from damage and general wear and tear. The UK sees a lot of rain, which helps the panels to ‘self-clean’ as the water runs down them. This is still possible on flat roof solar panels, as they can be angled slightly to allow the rain to do its work. Maintenance and repairs can often be easier on flat roofs too, as there is generally enough space around the panels for someone to stand safely for as long as they need when checking and working on the panels.

Solar panels and bad weather

3. Better Looking Configurations

Solar panels can be hard to hide on a sloping roof, as they will stand out visually from many angles. When installing them on a flat roof, however, the angle can be adjusted so it is less intrusive to the surrounding views. They are more discreet from street level and do not require homeowners to remove attractive tiles or terracotta embellishments from a sloping roof. Flat roofs tend to be fairly practical and simple in design, making the addition of a flat roof solar panel less of an intrusion. In fact, some modern, industrial flat roof designs can positively benefit from having stylish flat roof solar panels installed on top of them.

4. More Wind-Proof

We have already mentioned how the rain can still help keep flat roof solar panels clean if they are angled up enough to allow the water to run down them. Conversely, however, the wind can be far less useful to solar panel systems, especially if they are fitted to sloping rooftops that are too tall to withstand high winds without sustaining damage. Choosing your own angle for a flat roof can enable you to adjust the slant to account for high winds and keep the system safer and less prone to storm damage.

House Roof with Solar Panels

5. Easy Access to Green, Renewable Energy

Flat roof solar panels are just as effective as sloped roof configurations in providing renewable, sustainable electricity direct from the sun’s rays. They are made up of the same type of photovoltaic cells, which capture the solar energy before the system converts it into useable electricity for the home or workplace. An additional battery for solar power storage can also be connected to the system so that any surplus electricity that is not used right away can be stored and used later. For example, when the sun’s rays are absent at night, or weaker or obscured during a cloudy or dull day.

Solar Photovoltaic Panels

How Many Types of Solar Panels Do You Know About?

Solar panels have become a common sight on rooftops and flat surfaces across the UK. More and more homes and commercial buildings are benefitting from access to renewable energy from the sun to light, heat and power essential appliances. The working technology of all types of solar panels is straightforward. Photovoltaic cells embedded in solar panels capture energy directly from the sun’s rays and convert it into useable electricity

The electricity can either be used immediately or stored in special batteries for use later on when the sun is not as strong or during the night. However, there are many different types of solar panels to choose from, which makes switching to renewable energy more versatile than ever before.

Panels and their pros (and cons)

The great thing about having different types of solar panels is that you can choose the most effective, convenient and affordable configuration for your individual circumstances. Here are four of the most popular types of solar panels to compare their advantages and disadvantages.

1. Standard solar panels

This type of solar panel is arguably the most recognisable and popular option on sale today. They are sturdy and easy to install and can be positioned to capture as much of the sun’s energy as possible. This accuracy results in higher yields of energy, making returns on the initial investment possible much earlier on. Normally made up of silicon wafers, each panel contains several rows of photovoltaic cells that do the actual conversion work. Monocrystalline cells appear black, while polycrystalline ones have a blue tone, due to how the light interacts with their surfaces.

types of solar panels - standard solar panels

A sheet of glass goes on the top of each panel and the whole unit is framed to add extra rigidity and strength. Pros include easy availability and installation, effective efficient energy conversion and affordable prices. Cons include the fact that other, more modern technology is available for households or businesses looking for the latest innovations in renewable energy.

2. Thin-film solar panels

This lighter option is slowly capturing more and more of the market as people look for less obtrusive ways to generate solar power in their businesses or homes. They are extremely versatile, as they can be manufactured in foldable and roll-up formats. This allows them to be fitted more closely to the contours of an existing roof or flat surface. They can also be fitted to a caravan or mobile home for solar power generation on the move.

types of solar panels

However, they are less efficient than standard solar panels, so they may need to cover a wider surface area to generate the same amount of electricity. They also require more complex disposal at the end of their working life, due to the toxic cadmium telluride that is often contained within the film.

3. Solar tiles

Solar tiles offer the huge advantage of being more aesthetically pleasing than other types of solar panels. They can be interlocked and replace standard roof tiles, rather than being placed on top of them. They can be a more discreet option, and work well on an existing roof, as well as provide an excellent alternative energy course for a new build.

Are Solar Tiles a Good Investment

However, solar tiles are not always as efficient as some of the more traditional solar panel types and can therefore take longer to recoup initial costs via electricity bill reductions. Installation can be costlier too, given the newer technology and more complex interlocking tile layout.

4. Tempered or plate glass solar panels

The type of glass or covering used in solar panels is an extremely important consideration when placing an order. Due to the exposed position of solar panels, they must be able to withstand harsh weather conditions and fluctuating temperatures. Tempered or plate glass adds valuable protection against the elements and adds an extra layer over the delicate photovoltaic cell technology that makes the solar panels work in the first place.

Advantages include longevity for the whole solar power system, as well as improved aesthetics and fewer repairs. Disadvantages exist around the increased price point and heavier weight involved. As with all types of solar panels, those with added tempered or plate glass on top must be fitted by a professional installer. This will ensure maximum efficiency and prevent the risk of the panels getting damaged, slipping off the roof or breaking.

Leyland large scale Solar Panels installation and maintenance

Large Scale Solar: Decarbonising the Global Energy Sector with Solar Power

What Does it Mean to Decarbonise?

Simply put, decarbonisation is the reduction of carbon – zero-carbon. We live in a time where the world is in dire need of economic change, and one of the ways to do that is through minimising our reliance on fossil fuels and making a radical switch to clean energy sources. The long-term goal is to become a climate-resilient, zero-carbon global economy. 

Why Do We Need to Decarbonise?

A major cause of cumulative CO₂ emissions is burning fossil fuels for energy. We know by now that this has led to an increased output of greenhouse gases and, over time, resulted in global warming. The rise in CO₂ output from human activity has negatively impacted our global economy and, in efforts to save our future, nations around the world have pledged to make greener choices to meet global temperature standards set by the Paris Agreement. 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has declared that a move to a complete carbon-zero network of the energy sector by 2050 is non-negotiable to meet the target of capping global temperature rise at 1.5°C. 

How Do We Achieve Low-Carbon?

Since the announcement of the climate emergency, there has been the worldwide implementation of renewable energy like wind, solar and nuclear power and bioenergy. Decarbonised electricity can be used for the same uses as fossil fuels, for example, boilers for building heating. 

The UK has the ambition to be powered by affordable, clean energy by 2035. Plans include deploying a new generation of home-grown green technologies, including solar – which remains the third-largest renewable energy technology. 

What is Solar Power?

Solar power is the energy ‘captured’ from the sun that is used to generate electricity. As more and more people strive to become energy-efficient and reduce their energy costs, solar has become a widespread option. Its increase in affordability and ease of use has made it a popular choice amongst UK households. What’s more, depending on your energy supplier, you can even receive payments for extra energy you generate. 

Large scale solar power

How do Solar Panels Work?

Solar panels convert sunlight into electrical energy through photovoltaic (PV) panels. When light shines on the semi-conductive material, a direct current of electricity is created and passes through the system to eventually get usable energy to electrify your home. The PV panels react to visible light – so as long as it’s light enough to see, the panel can generate electricity. 

Rooftop solar can create thermal energy that can be used to provide heat in your home from water heating and air heating and essentially supply households with decentralized heating. With the use of storage batteries, unused energy can be stored and used at a later time. 

How is Solar Energy Used Globally?

Solar thermal energy for heating water and air in households and buildings is only one of the uses of this alternative energy source. There is growing ambition that utility-scale solar will be used for end-use electrification (e.g. vehicles, transport, water heating, etc) and production of clean fuels, like hydrogen. 

The US and China are top traders in the solar market and the US has plans to transition to a zero-carbon electric grid by 2050. This type of green technology has been adopted worldwide and is deployed for small and large-scale uses.

Advantages of Large Scale Solar Power

1. Renewable

As mentioned earlier, solar panels generate electricity from visible light. Since there is daytime light in all four corners of the earth, solar power can work. However, the more sunshine there is, the more electricity will be generated – making this a great renewable option for sunnier climates. There is also the added fact that sunlight is an inexhaustible source of energy, and can be used without much consequence for future generations. 

The carbon footprint is relatively small as no pollutants are released into the air. Higher demand for solar power worldwide means a reduction in the dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels. Also, the materials usually used – silicon sheets – are recyclable, making solar power a clean alternative energy source.

2. Money-saving

The more power your solar panels would generate, the less electricity you would have to buy from the grid, therefore making this cheaper in the long run. Additionally, solar power in the UK is being financially incentivised, as households can receive payments for extra electricity generated. 

3. Low maintenance

Solar panels don’t contain any loose or moving parts, so require minimal maintenance. Since the panels are usually placed at an angle on houses and buildings, rainfall slides right down them. Dirt and debris may block the panels and require you to remove them but other than that, it’s a self-sufficient system. Solar panels also have a life span of about 20-25 years, with little loss in efficiency. 

4. Efficient

When transmitting energy from power stations to homes and public buildings, there is unavoidable energy loss through heating the power lines. Less energy is wasted when using the sun to produce heat or electricity, as the power comes directly from the panel connected to your building. 

5. Land-use

Solar parks can co-exist amongst farm animals grazing on land – this is called agrivoltaic. The simultaneous use of land benefits landowners, the environment, and animals. The photovoltaic panels can also be removed without harm to the ground.

Floating solar (solar panels on water) doesn’t require any land space and so can be a viable option for smaller countries. 

6. Rise in ‘green’ careers

With the continuing demand for solar, there will be a proportionate rise in demand for solar power transportation and installation jobs. An example of this is in India, where a 250 MW concentrated solar power (CSP) project has become a source of local jobs.  

Demand for large scale solar power

Challenges in Decarbonising the Energy Sector

Sustainable development has its challenges – socially, economically and ecologically. Energy transition needs to be compatible with social aspects (household costs) as well as environmental sustainability (protecting land and climate) and economic needs (security of energy supply and prices). 

  • Levelised cost of energy (LCOE)

Capital costs of large-scale solar deployment run high in comparison to competing fuel sources. 

Moreover, ongoing maintenance costs of solar power plants may be steep, along with refinancing the loans used to build them.

  • Weather-dependent

One of the main obstacles to solar power becoming a reliable green energy source is the varying intensities of solar radiation in different areas of the world. Nations on the equator receive the highest amount of solar energy, as do those with drier climates. 

Most residential panels have around a 20% efficiency rate, and anything more than that will be substantially more expensive. The more efficient the panels, the more expensive it is to make. 

  • Land space

Large areas of land are required for macro-scale solar farms. The biggest solar grids are built in large open spaces such as deserts, so countries with less landmass, or have to compromise agricultural land, will be disadvantaged. 

  • Environmental impacts

The manufacturing of solar panels can result in harmful compounds, such as nitrogen trifluoride. This by-product is a highly toxic greenhouse gas, much more insidious than carbon dioxide. But as solar technology gains more accessibility and demand, manufacturers may be able to steer clear of dangerous substances.  

On a global scale, large scale solar power seems to be a very valuable option – according to the three pillars of sustainability (social, economic, ecological). On reviewing the arguments, the advantages seem to outweigh the challenges in the long term. The trend of falling prices for solar power will make the transition to a solar-powered, carbon-free global economy highly achievable. 

House Roof with Solar Panels

Benefits of Insulated Solar Roof Panels

As the technology behind solar energy grows more sophisticated, the possibilities about what it can achieve are increasing. Insulated Solar Roof Panels are a popular choice for solar power as they are straightforward to install on most roof shapes and sizes. They work by harnessing the sun’s energy and converting it into electricity. This electricity is then used to heat and power the home or commercial premises. On the other hand, Solar thermal panels capture solar energy that goes directly to generating hot water for the property. However, some types of solar thermal systems can offer additional benefits too. Thermal insulated solar roof panels can add a crucial heat retention layer to the property.

Four Key Questions About Solar Thermal Panels

Solar thermal and insulated solar roof panels can help reduce heating costs when rising fuel bills are top of the UK news agenda. It is worth working out how the initial in-roof solar panels UK cost can be offset against the savings you can achieve on mains electricity. For an idea of the average solar thermal system and roof-integrated solar panels UK cost, speak to an expert at UPS Solar. In the meantime, here are four questions about insulated solar thermal panels.

SHARP 300w Solar Panels - Insulated Solar Roof Panels

1. How Do Solar Panels Insulate Your Roof?

The primary way that solar technology can add insulation is by installing in-roof panels. These are not the same as standard photovoltaic solar panels that sit on top of the existing roof. Insulated solar in-roof panels do precisely what their name suggests. They are fitted into the roof, replacing some tiles and lying flat against the adjoining ones. This removes gaps between tiles where draughts can get inside the property. The evacuated tube collectors of solar thermal panels are also designed with vacuum insulation capabilities to reduce heat loss further. Householders living in listed buildings may need planning permission to fit solar thermal panels and insulated in-roof solar panel systems.

2. Does Solar Thermal Power Work in the Winter?

Solar thermal technologies are a highly effective way to produce hot water. The technology has been around for a while – longer than more modern solar PV panels – yet it can be far more efficient, capturing more energy and converting it into heat for water more quickly. The process can still be used to ensure hot water during the winter, although the solar energy output will be lower on dull days than during sunnier periods.

Benefits of Insulated Solar Roof Panels

You may need to supplement it with more conventional methods of heating water on especially overcast winter days. However, the solar thermal power produced will still help keep energy bills lower in the long run. It is advisable to check on your solar thermal power in-roof panels during heavy snow. This is because the system’s insulating properties will prevent any heat from escaping to melt away the settled snow. So, you may need to remove it manually to ensure the system is running as efficiently as possible.

3. Can Solar Panels Make a House Cooler?

Conversely, installing solar thermal panels can also help keep a house cool in the summer. The multiple layers of an in-roof solar thermal system promote airflow between each one. While this offers insulation during colder periods, the air can also cool the panel down when temperatures are higher and, subsequently, the roof beneath it. This can make a difference to temperatures inside the house during hotter weather. Not having to have a gas boiler or mains electric heating system switched on so high to ensure hot water for bathing, cooking, cleaning, etc., can also help reduce the overall heat level in the house on a summer’s day.

Benefits of Insulated Solar Roof Panels

4. Which is more efficient: solar thermal or PV?

PV technology converts solar power into usable electricity, whereas solar thermal systems provide hot water. Solar thermal panels installed on a roof comprise thermal flat plates or evacuated tubes collectors that use the sun’s energy to produce hot water. This is then passed through pipes and stored in the property’s hot water cylinder for use when required. Solar temperatures hitting the collectors can reach up to 90 degrees C, making the system highly effective and quick. Solar thermal panels’ price differences will depend on the size and type of solar thermal system.

Photovoltaic panels are also effective in converting solar energy into electricity. However, this is used or stored for general use, including heating and power. You can also use electricity from PV panels to charge an electric vehicle. Installation is also easier than solar thermal panels. However, the initial price of the system can be higher. Both systems could make the householder eligible for renewable heat incentive (RHI) payment schemes. In terms of which is more efficient, both offer advantages. The final choice of system will depend entirely on what you plan to use solar energy for – general heating, powering and charging, or simply hot water.

What You Need to Know About Government Solar Panel Schemes

One advantage to switching to renewable energy solutions such as solar panels has been the possibility of receiving financial support from Government Solar Panel Schemes. Incentives have regularly offered grants, vouchers and discounts off the costs of turning away from fossil fuels and towards renewable heat and electricity. Although the scheme names and details change occasionally, there is usually something to help with initial installation costs for things like solar panels, heat pumps and solar battery systems.

Keeping up with the latest solar panel grants

Take the time to look out for updates to energy saving and energy efficiency support schemes that are out there. Some offer discounts for solar panel installation, while others pay you for excess electricity exported back to the National Grid. One Government deal sees a five per cent VAT reduction on the cost of either solar panels or their installation for people over sixty years old or in receipt of income or disability benefits.

Whatever type of green deal or ‘rent your roof’ arrangement you can find, you will likely find ways to reduce energy bills and enjoy better energy efficiency at the same time. Other deals and incentive schemes are also out there to help people meet the costs of switching to renewable energy. Here are some more details about three key green deals currently available for homes in the UK.

What You Need to Know About Government Solar Panel Schemes

1. Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)

Many people who have already installed solar panel systems will be familiar with the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme that began in 2010. The project encouraged people to switch to solar power by incentivising them to return any excess electricity that they generated back to the National Grid in return for a payment. The FIT scheme closed to new applicants in April 2019. It has since been replaced by a reasonably similar Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme in January 2020.

This new process also allows people to sell surplus electricity back to the National Grid. However, it places the onus on electricity suppliers to offer their customers suitable tariffs to ensure that the scheme compensates them adequately. Energy suppliers with more than 150,000 customers are obliged to take part.

There are two types of SEG tariffs available to people who have installed solar panels under the arrangements. A fixed rate keeps the price the same throughout the duration of the contract. On the other hand, a variable rate enables the energy supplier to change the amount they pay you for the electricity you generate after an initial period of notice. Exact amounts will depend on where you live and how much electricity you use yourself.

UPS Solar Panels

To qualify for the scheme, you must have an approved renewable energy technology installed (including solar PV panels) with the required capacity and industry approvals. You cannot be a part of any other FIT schemes and must have an SEG-compatible smart meter installed to record the energy you export accurately.

2. Green Homes Grant Scheme

While solar PV panels are currently not part of the Green Homes Grant Scheme, you can apply for a grant to put towards a solar thermal panel system in England. This uses the solar energy from the sun to generate hot water for a property. As of September 2020, qualifying applicants have been able to get up to two-thirds of thermal solar panel installation costs on their property. Some grants are worth up to £5,000, while others aimed at low-income families could yield as much as £10,000 to cover installation costs. These grants are available until 31 March 2022.

UPS Solar Residential Solar Panels - Government Solar Panel Schemes

Both homeowners and landlords can apply for a Green Homes Grant voucher. It can be granted alongside other funding from Energy Company Obligation (ECO) schemes so long as both funding sets are used for different energy efficiency measures. For example, solar thermal panels plus loft insulation or cavity wall insulation. A Green Homes Grant can also be applied alongside the domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme.

3. Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

Again, this deal is currently only available for people installing solar thermal panels – not photovoltaic solar power systems. It offers qualifying people seven years of quarterly cash payments in return for their switching to renewable heating methods. The deal is due to end on 31 March 2022. So, anyone interested in registering who has not already done so now will need to act swiftly to take advantage. The RHI scheme was initially meant for commercial premises to heat their water using solar power. It was extended to domestic properties in 2014.

As well as solar thermal panels, RHI funding extends to other green heating methods for water, such as biomass boilers and pellet stoves. The seven-year support scheme offers payments tied to the type of technology used and the latest related tariffs. For more details of green deals and financial help with installing renewable energy systems such as solar panels, contact an expert at UPS Solar for tailored help, support and advice.

Get Ahead of Rising Fuel Bills and Convert Electricity on the Move With Flexible Solar Panels

Rising energy costs have been a top news agenda item for several weeks now. Families and businesses across the UK are bracing themselves for increases in their fuel bills. People are tightening their belts around other expenditures in anticipation. For many, reduced spending power for holidays and foreign trips results in greater interest in taking trips away in leisure vehicles and marine craft instead. This is where flexible solar panels can become something of a game-changer. Not only do they allow travellers to generate their own power on the move, but they can also reduce a household’s reliance on the National Grid and help mitigate against the large fuel bills that are predicted to arrive in the Spring.

The technology behind solar photovoltaic panels has become increasingly sophisticated to the extent that several different types and configurations of solar panels exist, including flexible solar panels designed to generate electricity on the move. These versatile, portable panels are the ideal answer for people looking for ways to live more sustainably while using their boat, motorhome, caravan or campervan.

 Flexible Solar Panels

Why should you opt for flexible solar panels?

Flexible solar panels offer a lightweight, convenient way to generate electricity and move towards a more sustainable way to provide power away from home. Other benefits include the following:

· They are designed to be light with a wafer-thin backing to prevent excess weight compromising a leisure vehicle’s performance.

· The flexible solar panels bend to fit the shape of the roof or flat surface on which they are installed.

· The panels can be unrolled and tied to a yacht or boat’s boom to harness the sun’s energy while out on the water.

· Thanks to the technology used, the panels can work in low light conditions as well as direct, bright sunshine.

· Additionally, flexible solar panels are made from tough, durable materials that can withstand difficult weather conditions and many miles on the open road or water.

· Best of all, they offer excellent efficiency to produce optimum amounts of power.

Customisation options also include folding designs for more accessible transportation and accessorising extension cables, battery chargers, and storage for protection en route. They are straightforward to install. However, there is plenty of advice and support available to ensure that they work in the way that you need them to, wherever you are at the time. For example, they can be rolled for easy transportation by bicycle or kayak. This is made possible by the amorphous technologies used to construct the panels instead of the more rigid, crystalline method that most standard solar panels employ.

On average, a smaller flexible solar panel will provide electricity to keep your leisure vehicle, or marine craft lit and your phones and devices charged. Larger versions offer a greater energy output, enabling the powering of microwaves, kettles, hairdryers and fridges. All essential things make a trip away from home more luxurious and fun.

Meanwhile, the biggest flexible solar panel configurations offer the capacity to live off-grid for longer. This can make more extreme travelling, such as wild camping, more of a possibility for the modern adventure-seeker. As energy prices continue to rise, the option could become more and more attractive to people looking to control what they spend on heat, light and power.

flexible solar panels

Other uses for flexible solar panels

Of course, flexible solar panels can also be used in the main home or commercial premises. They can be a temporary energy generating solution while permanent panels are ordered and installed. Their flexibility enables them to be installed in places where larger, rigid alternatives are unable to fit, such as non-standard rooftops, sheds and outhouses. While they don’t always last as long as rigid panels, they still offer a reasonable length of useful life and generate good results in producing electricity.

The self-cleaning, easy maintenance makes flexible solar panels convenient for almost any location and situation. They also provide a great introduction to solar power for families interested in switching to renewable energy and a more sustainable lifestyle but want to test the waters with a smaller system first. Yet, despite their smaller size, the panels can still offer high performance with effective solar energy harnessing and converting into usable electricity. Often, the panels are installed simply by peeling off the backing sheet and sticking them in place using the adhesive already included on the reverse side.

Solar panels on a home in Leyland

What Are Solar Thermal Panels?

One aspect of renewable energy that is standing the test of time and receiving more and more attention these days is the installation of solar panels. The system harnesses the sun’s heat to produce hot water for a home or commercial premises. This type of solar water heating system enables lower energy bills at a time when fossil fuel costs are rising rapidly. This can be a great advantage when households need to look for ways to save money. Solar thermal panels also offer the extra benefit of adding insulation to the home and a more sustainable way of living.

How do solar thermal panels work?

Solar thermal panels absorb energy from the sun through collectors that are either installed on the flat plate panels themselves or contained within evacuated collector tubes. The heat from the sun is transferred to tubes of water which can reach temperatures of 90 degrees C. The heated liquid is then passed down through pipes into the property’s hot water cylinder. Inside the cylinder, the hot water passes through a twin coil, which helps keep it heated as it is used or stored in the water tank later on.

The installation of hot water systems and solar thermal technologies like this is straightforward. In addition, thermal panels require little maintenance as a rule. However, regular thermal solar panel servicing is recommended to keep things ticking over.

lg solar panel - Solar Thermal Panels

What are the different types of solar thermal panels?

There are generally two different types of solar thermal hot water panels in the UK. Both use renewable energy to heat water for domestic or commercial use. The details around installing a solar thermal system will depend on which type of process is used. A flat plate system uses flat collectors around one metre by two metres. Insider is a series of pipes with a metal absorber plate on top. The plate collects energy from the sun. The pipes contain water that receives the heat and carries it to a storage cylinder inside the house to complete the solar thermal water heater process.

The other main solar thermal technology involves evacuated tubes. These are glass tubes with smaller copper tubing placed inside. Around 30 tubes are connected to form a single panel. A vacuum inside the glass helps prevent heat loss by insulating the system (and the roof below). This technology can be more effective than the flat panel solar collectors alternative due to the added insulation. The tubes remain visible on this type of solar thermal system so that the aesthetics will be slightly different from the flat plate version.

How efficient are solar thermal panels?

Solar thermal technology is older than the photovoltaic cells that are found on many solar panels right now. However, the technology remains highly efficient at converting energy into heat and has had a resurgence of interest. This is possible because solar thermal panels qualify for the UK’s Green Homes Grant as a primary measure, which could enable you to claim for vouchers to set against some of the installation costs.

What Are Solar Thermal Panels?

Much of the system’s efficiency levels depend on where and how the solar thermal panels are installed and how easily they can access the solar energy source. For example, are they on south-facing roofs and how much sun does the location get? This will vary over the winter and summer months.

Installing solar thermal panels will also vary in costs depending on the location and complexity of the job. However, the financial and ecological benefits of harnessing renewable heat will be felt over the longer term and will also help to reduce energy bills and reliance on the National Grid.

What are the differences between solar thermal panels and photovoltaic (PV) panels?

While hybrid solar thermal PV panels are available, giving you the best of both worlds, most solar power customers will opt for either one form of solar energy technology or the other. Both offer advantages, including lower energy bills and a reduced carbon footprint. However, there are a few more distinct differences between solar thermal panels and solar PV panels.

The more comprehensive versatility of PV panels is one advantage if you seek to switch to renewable energy for powering, heating and lighting your home and providing hot water. The technology allows you to store excess electricity generated for use later on when the sun’s rays are less potent on a dull day or at night. You can even use it to heat water via an immersion heater. Installation is relatively straightforward, and there is little ongoing maintenance required.

Solar thermal panels offer a more effective, efficient way of generating solar power, giving you potential energy bill savings of 70% on domestic hot water. Although you may need to have a boiler or immersion heater to top up the solar thermal heated water as the energy generated may not be sufficient for 24-hour provision. Solar thermal panels can be a more affordable option, depending on the size and complexity of the system being fitted. Finally, there is the possibility of earning payments through the UK Government’s renewable heat incentive scheme.

Why Your Home Needs Solar Panel Battery Storage?

Solar panel battery storage is an extremely useful piece of technology that operates in conjunction with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. PV panels generate electricity by harnessing the energy in the Sun. One of the limitations of solar power technology used to be the fact that any electricity that was generated by the system had to be put into use straight away or be lost. Now, homeowners are able to store any surplus electricity that they don’t need straight away in a specially designed solar panel battery storage for later on.

This addition to the overall system means that no solar power energy that is generated needs to be wasted. The stored electricity can be kept safely inside the battery cell until it is needed. The battery is switched on and the electricity brought into play when the Sun is not releasing enough energy to power the home. This could be during duller weather spells, such as a cloudy day or during a storm. It is also the case at night, after the sun has set.

Batter and Solar PV

If a photovoltaic panel system does not have a solar power battery, any excess electricity is automatically fed into the National Grid. This means that any cost savings and independence gained from installing solar panels in the first place no longer have quite such a positive impact on a household’s budget and way of life.

How Does Solar Panel Battery Storage Work?

The solar battery is connected to the solar power system already set up in the home. This system comprises photovoltaic panels installed on a roof or flat surface and positioned to capture energy directly from the Sun. The battery is normally made from lead-acid or lithium-ion and is installed inside the property to protect it from adverse weather conditions. Solar power batteries are fast-charging, safe to use and highly efficient – able to store large amounts of electricity at once.

Solar panels on a home in Sheffield

Using solar panel battery storage increases your household’s self-consumption of electricity by 50% or more. The battery should last for between ten and fifteen years, depending on how much it is used and whether or not it has been correctly installed. Always use a qualified, professional solar power installation company to fit a new or replacement solar power battery. The battery unit should also be maintained and serviced regularly, along with the rest of the solar power system. This helps keep it operating in the best possible condition and identifies any problems sooner, rather than later.

What Are Some of the Advantages to Using a Solar Panel Battery Storage?

The ability to store electricity generated by solar power inside a battery brings with it many advantages:

1. Reduced electricity bills – no energy captured from the Sun is wasted; stored amounts are used instead of sourcing electricity from an energy company or the National Grid at night or in dull weather. This reduces fuel bills further as less reliance on energy companies is needed

2. Increased control – if you are seeking to cut down your reliance on external energy companies and the National Grid, having a solar power battery can help with this. You decide when to release the energy stored in the battery and are no longer quite so much at the mercy of mains power cuts

3. Sustainable living – when the Sun is shining, you can use the electricity generated to power the home, but what about when the Sun goes down or is obscured by clouds? A battery storage system enables you to keep on using greener, solar powered energy in your home, 24/7. Thus, you reduce your carbon footprint and are able to carry on using a much greener, renewable energy source

Why Your Home Needs Solar Panel Battery Storage?

4. Protection against rising prices – energy prices rise on a regular basis and are dependent on a lot of external factors. By making your own and having the means to store the excess for when it is needed, you can protect your household budget from increases in power costs from energy companies

5. Retrofitting is available – even if your solar photovoltaic panels system doesn’t come with solar panel battery storage, the technology can be retrofitted at any point. You can choose which size battery to install and upgrade to a larger capacity if needed. This offers a flexible approach to storing electricity for your household’s needs.

UPS Solar Residential Solar Panels

Here Comes The Sun – The Future Of Solar Power technology

According to the World Economic Forum, the future is “looking bright” for solar power technology. Installation costs have fallen dramatically, and new technologies are making the energy gathering process more efficient. Solar power is quickly overtaking fossil fuels as an energy source. Globally, there will be more than 115 gigawatts of solar power installed this year. This is more than all other world energy generation technologies put together. Installing solar or rooftop solar helps in energy storage and this is enhancing the energy technologies. 

Solar power technology in 2030

 After doing the energy research, The World Economic Forum also predicts that, by 2030, solar power plants will have become the most important electricity production source in large parts of the world. This will have very positive knock-on effects for issues like climate change and environmental sustainability. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. After all, the sun provides our planet’s surface with more than enough energy to power our lives and our operations indefinitely.

solar power technology - solar power at home

As technology improves, it solves the challenge of collecting enough solar power to make the technology viable for widespread use. The photovoltaic cells used in solar panels have traditionally been expensive to produce. Now, they are moving out of the luxury goods bracket and becoming far more mainstream. This is because the technology behind them has evolved enough to make production far more straightforward. At the same time, devices run on electricity are becoming more efficient at being powered by solar energy.

Business case for solar power technology

Even with today’s costs of solar panels, there are already good cost savings to be made from switching away from the National Grid. As solar power technology improves, there will be more benefits for business, including an increase in savings. For instance, work is ongoing to manufacture bifacial modules. These capture solar energy on both sides of the panel at once. So you get double the output for roughly the same installation costs. That’s not a bad investment at all.

UPS Solar Commercial Solar Panels

More businesses are joining the solar power technology revolution. They are discovering new ways to integrate it into their power systems and lower operational costs. In addition, solar power technology is reaching new places in the world where they have previously relied on fossil fuels. Solar panels are now much easy to install. The technology is more flexible, too, which means it can be used for many applications. This could be a game-changer for businesses and homes in developing communities.

Solar storage and real estate

Meanwhile, other businesses are realising the potential for solar power storage solutions. Tesla’s Powerwall is a home battery that stores solar power generated by photovoltaic panels or photovoltaic pv. It reduces a home or business’s reliance on the National Grid massively. Every Tesla solar power order includes one of these batteries. You can also add more units to increase storage capacity.

Solax Power

Having more solar power storage helps protect a home or business from power outages. It also contributes towards reducing carbon footprints. The Powerwall from Tesla automatically detects power outages and recharges itself using sunlight. It comes with an app so you can control it remotely and receive updates in real time.

Another business innovation connected with solar power is the predicted rise in demand for real estate. Landowners in many areas are being encouraged to lease out real estate for solar farms. This will make land values increase. It will also boost demand for cabling  and infrastructure to connect the farms to the National Grid. Thus, solar farms will increase job opportunities all the way along the supply chain. Finally, research is happening into creating ‘floating’ solar panels to be located off the coast to harness the sunlight that falls on open water.

Sustainable solar power technology

A large aspect of the future of solar power technology evolves around making the technology itself sustainable and recyclable. If the apparatus required contributes too negatively to climate change, any  advantages that solar power creates are cancelled out. So, efforts are in progress to make the technology itself sustainable. Initiatives include collecting and recycling old photovoltaic modules and panels.

solar power technology - solar power grid

As a result of this focus, many solar companies are working to achieve eco accreditation. They are working to make their resources recyclable, durable and as environmentally-friendly as possible. They are working towards delivering ‘zero-carbon’ electricity to help further reduce the effects of climate change. The world’s focus is turning more and more towards sustainable living. So, this seems like the perfect time to work towards this admirable goal.

Solar panels and bad weather

Solar panels and bad weather: 5 Tips to Care

Solar panels work, as the name suggests, by converting energy from sunlight that falls onto the photovoltaic panels into electricity, either to be used straight away or stored for later. That’s all very well in sunny day, but what happens when it rains, or turns dull? Solar panels and bad weather, we can’t predict weather after a few hrs. Many parts of the UK have seen an extremely changeable Spring this year, with a few periods of sun interspersed with more frequent times of rain, clouds and even storms and hailstones.

Are Solar Tiles a Good Investment

The good news is that, even when the sun doesn’t shine down for hours on end, solar panels do still work, converting solar energy into electricity. Think about how we can still get sunburnt on an overcast day – some of the sun’s rays can still break through in a cloudy day.

While UV solar panels are more effective the brighter the day is, the technology carries on working, so long as there is some light available. In fact, the rain can even do the panels a favour, as it can wash away any dirt or debris on them, clearing the solar cells to react with sunlight, uninterrupted. So, how do you care for solar panels in adverse weather conditions and help them withstand a harsher environment?

How to care for solar panels in adverse weather conditions?

Start Right

solar panels installation

Ensure that the panels are secured tightly to the roof or flat surface when they are installed to prevent the wind from lifting and damaging them, or heavy snow pulling them out of position. Do your research carefully to make sure that you choose the most appropriate system for your individual circumstances and the weather that your area is most likely to encounter. Choose a supplier that can prove their products have undergone extensive testing in different conditions.

Waterproofing

Solar panels that are not waterproofed properly can have rain get inside and damage individual cells. Rain can also flood the panel, meaning that less amount of sunlight can reach the parts that react with the solar energy. It can be very hard to repair a flooded panel, so it is wise to ensure that all components of the solar power system are waterproofed correctly and remain in that condition for their entire working life.

Stay Informed

Keep up with local weather reports and forecasts so that you can have a better idea about what’s coming. Check your insurance policy to see what’s covered in terms of weather damage and know what to do if your electricity supply is suddenly interrupted or compromised. Have the details of a maintenance or repair company to hand in case you need to call on their services and finds out what protective measures you can take to look after your panels system in bad weather, e.g. by installing a cover of some kind.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Solar Panels cleaning and maintenance

Set up a regular maintenance contract so that you can have regular access to a solar panels expert to keep your system running efficiently. Keep an eye on your panels to make sure they stay as clean as possible – rain can help with this, but you may also need to get up there with some water and a cloth to wipe away any larger

patches of dirt, bird excrement, tree pollen, leaves or branches etc. and to keep the panels free to absorb solar energy as they are designed to do. Install a cover to help reduce the amount of cleaning work required

Winter Wear and Tear

Although the UK Spring hasn’t exactly been gloriously hot and sunny, the most common season for bad weather is, obviously, winter, with its colder temperatures and greater risk of snow, frost and hail. Protect your panels from damage from sharp hailstones, or lingering frost with toughened glass covers, e.g. plexiglass. These can be installed fairly easily and will prolong the useful life of your panels.

If you can do so safely – and only if this is the case – clear away any heavy snow that settles on the panels to prevent the weight from cracking them. If in doubt, call in a maintenance expert to do this job for you. Of course, you can also help prevent snow from building up when you first install the panels by having them at a tilted angle to help snow and other debris slide off.