Solar Panels on an old home – Photo Courtesy: Michael Coghlan
With rising inflation and the average cost of living going up each year, we are all looking for ways to save money where we can. One area where we can save a lot of money is our utility bills – and many people are finding creative ways to keep their water, electricity, gas and oil prices down. We are also concerned about the environment and we all want to do our bit for the planet.
For both these reasons, people are turning to solar power as an alternative to traditional power to run their home. But what exactly is solar power, and how will it benefit you?
What is Solar Power
Solar power is generated from large solar panels (you will have seen these on roofs before). The panels take the heat from the sun and use this heat to generate electricity, or to warm up cold water. Because this energy can be stored for a certain amount of time, the power can still be accessed and used even when the sun is not shining. Many people have solar panels attached to their roofs to help run their electricity (though not many people rely on this solely because there is always the risk of a few very gloomy days here and there). They are generally attached to the most southerly part of the roof in order to get maximum exposure to sunlight.
What Are the Benefits?
There are many benefits to using solar power to run your house. Your energy bills will be dramatically reduced because you will be relying on traditional methods far less. It will also reduce your carbon footprint as solar power presents no danger to the planet at all. Often you will find that you may be eligible for a loan or even a grant as the government is so keen to promote the use of any power-generating technique that doesn’t cost the earth.
What Are the Drawbacks?
You will still need a boiler if you want to heat your water all year around. In the summer, you’ll probably be able to rely almost solely on the solar panels, but in the winter you’ll need a helping hand. Obviously, there will be a cost involved in installing the panels in the first place, but set off against your usual utility bill levels, you’ll probably find that you will save money in the long run.
How Do They Heat Water?
The receptacles are filled with water, as well as antifreeze to stop it freezing in cold weather. The sun heats this water, and this hot water is then pumped into the storage tank. A plumber will be able to tell you where the tank is best off going. The only maintenance you will need to do is to make sure the antifreeze levels are high enough.
What Do I Need?
For panels to be effective, you need at least five square meters of roof space that has regular direct sunlight. You’ll also need a conventional boiler (combi boilers don’t work that well with solar power) and a solar cylinder. Got all that? Then get going with the solar power!
Glen Matthew is a father of two who enjoys spending time with his family. He enjoys sharing various home improvement techniques and solutions through his blogs. He is part of the team at Eddie’s Home Services which is dedicated to solve home repair needs in areas in and around the Denver metro. Visit this website to know more about his work.