The Rapidly Changing Economics of Solar PV Power, Solar Mini-Series (1 of 2)

These days everyone is looking for ways to both save on money and do their bit in being more eco-friendly. Even though the UK is not exactly famous for its sunshine, by using Solar Photovoltaic Panels you can not only generate enough electricity to significantly reduce your energy bills (they work even on cloudy days), but you can also putting extra cash in your pocket through schemes that have been setup to allow you to sell back any extra energy you generate back to the power grid.

Solar electricity systems work by capturing the sun’s energy using photovoltaic (PV) cells, or panels. These cells convert the natural sunlight into electricity for your home.

The following guide will explain the ins and outs of solar panels so you can understand how they will benefit you.

Understanding Solar Photovoltaic Panel Technology

Scientifically speaking, the photovoltaic effect is the creation of an electric current in a material when it is exposed to light. Photovoltaic (PV) cells are panels you attach to your roof or walls to capture solar energy – each cell is made from one or two layers of semiconducting material, usually silicon. When light shines on the panel it creates an electric field. The strength of a PV cell is measured in kilowatt peak (kWp), which is the amount of energy each cell generates in sunlight.

Advantages of Solar Electricity

Electricity generated Solar Photovoltaic Panels is clean, renewable, totally environmentally friendly (the process doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants) and will radically cut your energy bills. A typical home PV system could save approximately 1 tonne of CO2 per year, which totals about 25 tonnes over its lifetime.

The initial cost of installing PV panels in your home will more than pay for itself over a short period of time by greatly reducing your electricity bills. An average home PV system can produce around 40% of the electricity your household will use in a year. A good tip to add to your savings is to always do your laundry during the day when you’re making use of free solar electricity.

Not only will you save on energy expenses, as mentioned above you can sell any extra energy you produce back to the UK electricity grid. Learn more about this in the below section which explains the Feed-in Tariff. If your home isn’t connected to the national grid, you can even store excess electricity in batteries to use when you need it.

Solar Panel Suitability to Your Home

To know whether solar electricity is suitable for your home, consider the following three key points


The cost for installing solar PV panels can vary alot depending on the supplier. To get an idea however, the cost of these electricity systems is in the region of £4,500 to £8,000 per kW, but costs per kW should lessen as the panel size increases. Generally, an average system of 2.2kW should cost about £12,000 (including VAT at 5%). This might sound like a fair amount to outlay, but if you calculate the energy savings you will then enjoy, it will pay for itself in no time. Also bear in mind that the larger the system, the more free electricity it can generate.


Solar Photovoltaic Panels require minimal maintenance. You will simply need to keep the panels reasonably clean and make sure obstructions such as trees don’t block the light from reaching them.

Earning Extra Money with the Feed-in Tariff

The Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) were made available by the government in Great Britain on 1st April 2010, with the exception of Northern Ireland. What this scheme means to you is that energy suppliers have to make regular payments to householders and communities who generate their own electricity from renewable or low carbon sources such as solar electricity panels or wind turbines. In the case of the main ‘Big 6’ suppliers, this is compulsory.

In other words, using Solar Photovoltaic Panels, you can sell your own electricity back to the national grid to easily generate around £900 per year in savings and income.

Will Jamison is an expert on energy saving measures and Solar Photovoltaic Panels.

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In this talk Anshuman Sahoo examines the economics of solar photovoltaic power from the perspective of the investors in solar installations and from the manufactures.

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