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The Future of Solar Panel Technology for Households

28 August 2012 18,563 views No Comment

The Future of Solar Panel Technology for Households

The use of solar panels by individual households is continually increasing, especially in countries such as the UK that provide homeowners with incentives for doing so. Of course, the greatest incentive for installing solar panels is economic, as they pay for themselves over time, and that time is becoming shorter as solar technology becomes more efficient and less expensive to install – and the cost of electricity from power companies continues to rise. Helping to protect one’s environment is also a strong incentive.

Improving Technology
The continuing development of increasingly efficient and inexpensive lightweight solar technology that can cover entire roofs, be applied to skylights and windows, or discreetly inserted beneath ground-mounted or pedestal outdoor pavers has made installing solar power a realistic option for an ever-increasing number of homeowners. New discoveries keep coming out of the world’s laboratories. A recently developed nanoparticle coating, for example, should soon help to keep solar panels clean, thereby reducing maintenance costs, and new microinverters have dramatically improved the efficiency of converting DC solar energy to useable AC current.

Improving Affordability
The cost of buying a home solar-energy system and having it installed has plummeted from close to £20,000 in 2010 to as low as £6,800. Although that’s still a considerable sum, solar-energy companies have begun making arrangements with financial institutions to provide accessible financing at interest rates that should enable their systems to pay for themselves in remarkably short periods of time, not only by providing free electricity as the price of conventional power relentlessly rises, but also enabling homeowners to earn money via UK government programs for encouraging the production of renewable energy.

The Government Actually Helps
The UK government has established the objective of increasing the country’s generation of electricity using renewable sources from less than 5% of all power to 20% by 2020. It pays a feed-in tariff (FIT), currently 16p per kilowatt hour (kWh), for all electricity produced by energy-efficient homes, even if the occupants use it themselves, which makes it better than free, and homeowners can sell any electricity they don’t use to the national grid for an additional export tariff of 4.5p/kWh, increasing to 5p/kWh from December 2012, so over 20 years an average family could make an estimated £18,000 or more above and beyond the cost of having the system installed. Homeowners also don’t need planning consents to install solar-energy panels, although those with listed buildings need the registry’s permission.

Visit the The Ecosphere website to learn more.

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