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.

Sustainable Living and Cleaner Electricity: Five Eco-Benefits of Solar Roof Tiles

Solar power has proven to offer many benefits to homeowners and businesses across the UK in recent years. From lower energy bills to a reduced carbon footprint, it appears that switching to more renewable ways to power, heat and light property has a lot going for it. There are many benefits of solar roof tiles installation. Installing solar roof tiles is a straightforward and effective way to introduce renewable energy into a home or commercial enterprise.

Solar power needs a large, flat area with regular, direct exposure to the sun. Fitting solar tiles to a roof is an obvious solution. Plus, it can help with the aesthetics of the system if the tiles can be placed in an unobtrusive way, rather than standing out visually for miles.

Eco- Benefits of Solar Roof Tiles

Installing solar roof tiles is easy to do and, after initial installation costs, can be a cost-effective way to generate electricity for use in a business or home, 24/7. More people are waking up to the damage that relying solely on fossil fuels is doing to our planet. As a result, the sustainable, eco-friendly benefits of solar power are making more and more sense to people interested in finding a cleaner way to generate electricity. Here are five benefits of solar roof tiles when added to your property that can help both you and the wider world.

Are Solar Tiles a Good Investment - benefits of Solar Roof Tiles

1. Cleaner, Renewable Electricity

Solar roof tiles use photovoltaic technology to harness the energy generated by the sun. As the sun’s rays hit the tiles, the photovoltaic cells inside them convert solar energy into usable DC electricity, via a solar inverter. The cells work all the time that they are being exposed to powerful enough sunshine for the process to kick into action.

They do not require any external power sources or fuel to work. The electricity they produce can either be used straight away to power the property connected to the solar roof tiles or stored for future use. This can reduce a business or household’s usage of finite fossil fuels, such as gas and oil in favour of clean, renewable electricity. It also lessens its reliance on the National Grid.

2. Effective Use of Existing Resources

Choosing to install solar tiles on the roof makes excellent use of a flat surface that has already been built. So long as the roof is in direct sight of the sun, it can be the perfect location for solar tiles that require direct exposure to solar rays to work. No additional resources need to be taken to build a special area for the tiles to go. The tiles themselves are easy to install and normally require no additional support structures or fossil fuel involvement to start generating solar power straight away. Choosing an existing roof also means that there is no need to remove any surrounding garden or green landscape areas to place the solar tiles.

benefits of Solar Roof Tiles

3. Wildlife Friendly

Since the solar tiles are installed safely up on a roof, surrounding habitats and ecosystems will remain largely unaffected when they are fitted and set to work. The electricity produced is completely renewable, which lessens global pressure on coal, gas and oil. In turn, this helps to safeguard wildlife that is disrupted and threatened by the mining and extraction work required to access these finite fossil fuels. Electricity generated by solar energy does not produce pollution, unlike coal and oil, which produce harmful emissions when burned that have a detrimental effect on wildlife.

4. Sustainable Lifestyle

Installing solar roof tiles is a straightforward, easy and relatively inexpensive way to strengthen a household’s commitment to sustainable living. Not using as many finite fossil fuels to power a property also helps reduce a family or business’ carbon footprint. These targets are key elements of combatting climate change and can make a big difference over the longer term. Switching to solar roof tiles can also be combined with other eco-friendly lifestyle choices to make an even greater difference. For example, recycling and reusing products in the home, resolving to fly fewer miles by plane and avoiding single-use plastics as much as possible.

House Roof with Solar Panels

5. Solar Energy Design and the Next Generation

Last, but by no means least, one of the benefits of solar roof tiles installations is a great way to inspire future generations. Children living in the home, or passing by can see what a solar power system looks like and how it can fit into the daily running of a business or home. They can also see for themselves how much electricity is generated and used in the property and how any surplus can be stored, awaiting use when the sun is not shining quite so powerfully, or at all such as at night. Investment in solar roof tiles is going to yield good returns in future.

Why Does Your Home Need 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 of 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 Does Your Home Need 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 panel’s 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.

Are Solar Tiles a Good Investment

Are Solar Tiles a Good Investment For 2021?

Solar power technology is moving on apace, as the world continues to seek more sustainable methods of energy generation in order to protect finite fossil fuels. Solar panels have been around for many years now, with their efficacy, aesthetics and ease of installation advancing more and more as time goes by.

One innovative version of the technology is the introduction of solar panel roof tiles. These small photovoltaic panels are shaped to look like normal roof tiles while absorbing sunlight to convert it into electricity in the same way that standard solar panels do. They are the perfect solution for people who appreciate the idea of generating their own electricity via photovoltaic solar power but don’t like how the larger panels look on their building.

How efficient are solar roof tiles?

The best solar roof tiles are those that offer excellent efficiency to offer strong returns on their initial cost outlay.

There are three main types of solar panel roof tiles, all of which offer good efficiency.

On-roof installations

Are Solar Tiles a Good Investment For 2021?

On-roof installations are exactly what the name suggests – the tiles are fitted to a frame that is fixed to the top of the roof.

In-roof, or integrated solar panel roof tiles

Are Solar Tiles a Good Investment For 2021?

In-roof, or integrated solar panel roof tiles, replace some of the roof’s existing tiles, so that they sit flush with the structure of the roof and are less visible from the street.

Total overhaul your roof

Are Solar Tiles a Good Investment For 2021?

Finally, you can opt for a total overhaul of your roof with an entirely new solar roof replacing your old one for maximum efficiency and coverage.

How Many Solar Tiles You Require?

How many tiles you require and how large space they will take up will depend entirely on how much power you need them to generate for you on a regular basis. Solar power, in general, has been proven to be an efficient form of alternative power generation, especially given that any surplus electricity that is produced during sunnier periods can be stored for future use when conditions are less conducive to efficient energy conversion, such as during poor weather or at night.

How much does a solar roof tile cost?

While the concept is still in its infancy there are a number of solar roof tiles manufacturers in the UK and elsewhere selling variants of the new technology to suits householders and business owners alike. Costs vary depending on the size of the roof in question type of tiles chosen and complexity of the installation. Additional features, such as tempered glass, invisible solar cells and bespoke designs will increase costs, however reputable companies offer a lifetime’s manufacturer’s guarantee and instructions on how to maintain your new solar roof tiles to help reduce unexpected costs further down the line.

There may also be grants for solar roof tiles available in selected areas of the country – information about this can be found on the internet for those interested in finding out more. The main consideration with this type of technology is that they cannot be integrated into an existing roof set-up without carrying out some structural changes to the existing tiles. The tiles are best suited for new build projects, or as a roof replacement or upgrade instead. Speak to a solar panel expert for further information and advice on solar tiles.