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Residential Buildings with Solar Panels

How Solar Panels Work

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At Energy Saver Lodge, we provide top-notch heating and solar panel services to improve your home's energy efficiency. Our team of experts will help you find the right solutions for your specific needs.

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How Do Solar Panels Work

Solar panels are one of the most cost-effective ways to help reduce your home bills. Typical 4kW systems should cost anywhere between £4000-£6000 depending on the equipment and layout of the panels. Energy Saver Lodge will try our best to provide customers with competitive and fair pricing.

A good rule of thumb on a solar-only system would be £1250 times the size of the system in kW.

If you want a battery installed with the system add another £650 Per kWh of battery storage.

Please understand that this is an average some equipment like Solar Edge will be above the average.

How Solar Panels Work

Solar panels work by grabbing the electrons from the sun's energy and converting this into electricity for use in your home. To put into perspective how much energy the electrons hit the earth, if we were to together all the energy that hit the earth from the sun for 90 minutes it would provide us with enough power to power the earth for an entire year. Solar panels are produced by adding photovoltaic solutions to panes of silicon with different properties allowing the electrons to produce the electricity. People often believe that you need to live in warm sunny climates for solar panels to work but this is not true it requires the electrons to hit the panels so even on cloudy days it's still light outside so your panels will still work.

Now this doesn't mean that your solar panels will work just as well in winter and cloudy days as this lowers the electrons hitting the panels but as long as there is daylight the panels will still work also something to keep in mind is the hotter a panel gets the less efficient it becomes once a panel starts getting above 25-30 degrees it will start to lose productivity, So the climate in the UK isn't too bad for solar and something to consider is that in the UK we do have long days, even in winter we will typically get 10 hours of sunlight. So your panels will still produce in winter but it is much lower.

How Solar Inverters Work

If your panels are the workhorse of your system think of the inverter as the brain behind it all, the inverter is the equipment that will change your DC electricity into usable AC electricity, and the more efficient it does this the better it is for you.
When you convert one type of energy to another type of energy you lose a percentage of that energy this is the law of physics. Making sure you have a high-quality inverter is important when making a decision. Here are 2 scenarios of what this could mean for you as a consumer to explain how much effect it could have on your system.

Scenario 1 - Your inverter is 10 years old and is now only 85% efficient and your solar panels produce 5000kWh of energy a year the loss of your inverter would mean you would only receive 4250kWh of energy.

Scenario 2 - You have a brand new efficient inverter that only loses 3% this means from the same situation you would receive 4850 kWh of energy meaning you would benefit from an extra 600kWh of energy a year now if you take into consideration that the price per kWh currently is 30p this means you would get a further £180 years worth of more electricity if the inverter was highly efficient.

Now keep in mind that most new inverters lose between 5% and 3% on conversation there is nothing much between new invertes as most companies will stick to the higher quality inverters as the price difference is just not worth it.

There are 3 main types of inverters that you will come across.

How Solar Works

Types Of Inverters

Inverters

String Inverter

A String inverter is an inverter that is designed to be installed without a solar battery these are often cheaper than a hybrid inverter and if you are going for a solar panel-only system with no intention of getting a battery then this is the best type of inverter

Hybrid Inverter

A Hybrid inverter means that it can have a battery wired into it so this is the typical inverter you would see when having a battery installed on your system now even if you do not have a battery installed you could have a hybrid inverter if you are planning on getting a battery sometime in the future and this would mean that your system is battery ready.

3 Phase Inverter

A 3phase inverter comes in a hybrid/string version and is just designed for houses that use 3phase electricity this is typically businesses or big houses that a normal supply couldn't handle, if you don't know if you are 3-phase or single phase then you are more than likely single phase.

Writing an application

How The Solar App Works

When you have solar panels installed your inverter will typically have an app you can download and put on your phone and with the help of the installer you can get this registered so you can monitor a few things with your system.

Generation - You will be able to monitor how much electricity is producing

Battery - If you have the battery you will also be able to monitor how much energy is being stored and used from the storage unit.

Export - You will also be able to see how much energy you have exported to the national grid for your SEG payments

Import - You will also be able to see what you are importing from the national grid

These apps have basic views and in-depth views for the technically-minded people out there who want to take a look at every single watt of energy over the year.

Here are a few examples of apps that are out there:

SolarApp

Mounting Systems

Monting Sytems

Solar panels can be mounted in multiple different ways and we will go through some of them for you to understand your options better

Roof Rail Mounting - Roof mounting rail are the most common way of installing panels this is when the installer would attach a rail to your current roof that the solar panels would attach to. This is done with the use of hooks there are different hook types for different roofs for example if you have a slate roof then the hooks would have to be suitable for slate, if your roof is concrete pan tiles for example then the hooks would need to be suitable.

The reason for this is to ensure leaks cannot happen once the solar is installed the hook goes up and under the specific tile and is then covered properly to ensure no water can get through, this will also mean that on some tiles the installer may have to grind out notches in some of the tiles to ensure the tile will sit back down with no gaps.

Ground Mounted - Ground-mounted solar panels are put on a metal frame that would sit on the ground and are angled and faced in the best way to maximize generation, Ground mounted panels will often need planning permission if they exceed 3m2 which is typically around 3-4 panels.

A Frames - If you have a flat roof then the panel will sit on a frame which are metal frame similar to ground mounted but they are individual frames rather than 1 giant frame system. You will also come across suntubs which are plastic tubs that the panel can sit on.

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