Many people took advantage of having solar panels when then was a good incentive to fit them. There were also companies that fitted them free of charge as long as they could collect the incentives. However, these days there are no longer any incentives for fitting them and so far less people have them. There is a high cost to pay out for them and this means that it is necessary to have a large lump sum of money or take out a loan to afford them. However, it could still be worthwhile fitting them.
How to work out if it is worthwhile
There are certain conditions which need to be fulfilled to make it worth having solar panels before you even think about the cost of them. You will need to have a roof that you can fit them to, which may sound silly, but if you are renting a home or live in a flat then you will not have access to using the roof of the building. Even if you do have a roof then it will need to be facing the right direction so that it gets a bulk of the daylight and it will not need to be in the shade. If you have tall trees nearby then you might find that they create so much shade that the solar panels will not create much electricity. You might also find that the chimney shades the roof as well. In this situation you might find that it just will not be worth the cost of the solar panels as you will not get back the money that you pay out for them when you buy them. If you get a good fitter to come and give you a quote they should be able to do those calculations with them.
How to pay for them
Solar panels can be expensive and you will have to pay out a large sum of money to buy them and so you will need to think hard about how you will pay for them. If you have savings or investments then you may want to use these to pay for the panels. You might want to calculate whether the return that you normally get from the money that you have saved or invested is less than the return that you will get when you have the solar panels. Your fitter should be able to let you know what the predicted return will be from the panels.
You may consider borrowing money to pay for the solar panels. You will need to very carefully calculate how much the loan will cost you and whether you will make back more than the cost of the loan if you get the panels. Work out how long you will need to have them for before they start making you a profit and decide whether you think it was worth it.
How to reap the benefits
When you have solar panels you will be best to use as much of the electricity that you are generating as you can and then you will get it for free. However, if you use too much electricity then you will be using more than you are producing and this will mean that you will have to buy the electricity that you are using extra. Therefore, you need to think carefully when you are using things.
- Try to use appliances at the lightest part of the day to increase the chances of using free energy
- Do not use several appliances at once if they take a lot of electricity. For example, do not use a dryer, dishwasher and washing machine together but try to spread your use through the day.
- Do not take the electricity for granted. If you still try to reduce your usage you will make more money. So, try to hang washing up rather than using the dryer, switch off appliances when not in use and switch off lights when not in a room.
It is also important to make sure that you select your panels carefully. Make sure that you buy panels that are really efficient and this will mean that you will be making the most electricity possible. Technology is always improving so probably buying the most recently made will help. However, there are also different brands and you will need to compare them to see which will be the best. It is wise to think about value for money and obviously you will have a budget so you may not be able to afford the most expensive. You may need to think about whether it will be worth delaying buying the panels until you can afford better ones as they will give you a better return on your investment. It is well worth doing the maths to find out.