Solar panel electricity systems, also known as solar photovoltaics (PV), capture the sun's energy using photovoltaic cells. These cells don't need direct sunlight to work – they can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day. The cells convert the sunlight into electricity, which can be used to run household appliances and lighting.

solar panels

The benefits of solar electricity:-

  • Cut your electricity bills. Sunlight is free, so once you've paid for the initial installation, your electricity costs will be reduced.
  • Get paid for the electricity you generate. The UK government’s Feed-in Tariff scheme pays you for the electricity you generate, even if you use it.
  • Sell electricity back to the grid. If your system is producing more electricity than you need, you can sell the surplus back to the grid through the Feed-in Tariff scheme.
  • Cut your carbon footprint. Solar electricity is green renewable energy and doesn't release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants. A typical home solar PV system could save over a tonne of carbon dioxide per year – that's more than 30 tonnes over its lifetime.

A 4kWp system can generate around 3,800 kilowatt hours of electricity a year in the south of England – roughly equivalent to a typical household's electricity needs. It will save nearly two tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. A 4kWp system in Scotland can generate about 3,200 kilowatt hours of electricity a year – more than three quarters of a typical household's electricity needs. It will save more than a tonne and a half of carbon dioxide every year.

The average domestic solar PV system is 4kWp and costs £5,000 - 8,000 (including VAT at 5 per cent).

If your system is eligible for the Feed-in Tariff scheme, you could generate savings and receive payments of £610 - £740 a year depending on your location if you register before July 2015 (based on a 4kWp solar PV system eligible for a generation tariff of 13.39p/kWh). You will get paid for both the electricity you generate and use, and what you don't use and export to the grid.