Solar Panels And Light Bulbs

Without a doubt solar is the big new renewable technology in the UK that everyone is interested in. Such interest wouldn't have come about without the government's feed-in tariff scheme that provided the financial incentives for people to take up such a little understood technology.

I am sure most of you reading this understand what solar photovoltaic technology does. For those who are maybe a little vague on the subject here is a very brief overview, you can skip the next paragraph if you are already familiar.

Solar PV and FIT's

Solar pv or solar electric as I call it to easily distinguish it from solar thermal (hot water) is a technology that turns daylight into electricity. The more light there is the more electricity your panels can produce up to their rated output. The government feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme pays the homeowner a rate for all the electricity your panels produce. In addition you also get to use the electricity that you produce and sell any that you don't back to the grid.

What are the benefits of Solar?

Apart from the FIT payments the major benefit of having solar panels on your roof is to reduce the amount of electricity that you have to buy in from your energy supplier. According to a recent solar energy study the average savings on householder's electricity bills that had a solar electric system fitted was 37%.

According to many of the solar panel manufacturers and anecdotal evidence from around the world your solar panels should last at least 20 years. Although the performance of the panels does decline over time there are still systems in place that are still generating electricity after 40 years.

How you can cut your energy bills further

Solar is a big investment, even with recent costs falling a 4kWp system can cost around £8,000. If you are going to make such a big financial investment on your home then wouldn't it be prudent to try and reduce your energy costs beforehand. If the aim of investing in solar is to reduce your bills then it makes sense to reduce your energy consumption at home to even further reduce your energy bills.

Reduce lighting costs

A large percentage of the energy used in the home is spent on lighting yet changing your bulbs is the most cost effective way to save energy. You can buy good quality CFL lighting for a fraction of the cost it used to be and they reduce your lighting costs to around a fifth of what they currently are.

Want to save even more? You may not have heard of LED lights but they have advantages even over CFL bulbs, specifically they use even less energy, contain no mercury and last a lit longer, anywhere up to 20 years. By replacing your current Tungsten filament lighting with LED you can cut your lighting costs by 90%, you read that right, your lighting costs will be one tenth of what they were.

I have been testing LED bulbs for the last 3 years, today's technology produces a better quality, brightness and range of light, far less heat and lasts a lot longer. I have recently replaced my halogen recessed lights in the kitchen as they were forever overheating and blowing. The old 50 watt halogens have been replaced with 4.5 watt LED bulbs that produce a better light much closer to natural daylight making it easier on the eyes. You can get LED's that produce the more yellow light similar to halogen if you are feeling nostalgic. Suffice to say I won't have to change a bulb for years and it will reduce my lighting costs to a mere 9% of what they used to be.

How much can I save?

A kitchen with halogen bulbs is a great place to start saving. I had 8 halogens each rated at 50 watts. If we take that average cost of a kilowatt of electricity at 13 pence that means that it used to cost me just over 10 pence every hour I left the lights on, it now costs me half a penny. So if I left the lights on one hour a day over the course of a year it would cost me a grand total of £1.70 for lighting in the kitchen. Compare this to the old halogen lights it would have costs me £38. You can see how the savings soon mount up and by the way the cost of replacing the bulbs was £32 so I covered the cost in less than a year and I will not continue to save £36 every year on my electricity bill just for changing the bulbs in my kitchen.

Inspired to change?

I hope you have been inspired enough to make some changes at home or even at work and not only save yourself some money but do a little bit to help the environment. If you enjoyed reading this why not join me, Allan Burns, over at Free Solar Panels UK and find other easy ways that you can reduce your bills and as a result reduce your carbon footprint.

Solar Panels For Domestic And Commercial Use

An introduction to solar power

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels convert solar energy into usable electricity. The solar panels generate a Direct Current (DC) and a solar panel system will include an inverter which converts this DC into an Alternating Current (AC) which can be used by your electricity system. By converting sunlight into clean, green energy, homeowners and organisations can reduce their carbon footprint, make savings on bills, and receive guaranteed payments for the electricity that they produce.

The differences between domestic and commercial installations

As a general rule, all installations not on a home will be classed as commercial. For example, if a farmer had solar panels installed on his house, this would be classed as a domestic PV system. If that same farmer had panels on his barn, it would be classed as a commercial installation as it would not be for domestic purposes. It would also probably be much larger than his domestic installation to meet different energy needs.

Commercial solar panel systems tend to be much larger than domestic ones. A domestic solar system will usually not exceed four kWp in output, whereas a commercial system can be hundreds of times this. However all systems should be designed to the specifications of the building in question and be tailored to fit the energy needs of the inhabitants. The energy requirements of a school or hospital would be much greater than a family home.

Benefits of solar power

In April 2010 the government introduced the Feed-in Tariff as a scheme to incentivise homeowners and organisations to install renewable energy sources such as solar panels as a means of reducing their carbon emissions. The Feed-in Tariff (FIT) ensures that solar panel owners are paid by their energy provider for every unit of electricity which is produced from their solar panels for 25 years, whether or not they use it. They are also paid an additional amount for each unit that they export into the National Grid for others to use.

Aside from the environmental benefits of significantly reducing a carbon footprint and lowering dependence on fossil fuels,payments provide a strong financial inventive to investing in solar panels, as they pay an average 11% tax-free return on investment. Another key benefit to investing is solar is the free electricity that a system produces. By generating their own electricity, homeowners and businesses need to buy much less from their energy providers, ensuring bill reductions. They also protect themselves against future energy price rises, as they have their own source of generating electricity. Installing solar panels can be particularly useful for companies or organisations needing to achieve certain set emissions or energy targets.
System sizes and the Feed-in Tariff

Photovoltaic system sizes vary according to the building size and the specific energy needs, however another factor affecting the size of a PV installation is the Feed-in Tariff itself. For example, the tariffs for a domestic system will vary slightly depending on the size of the installation. Most homes installing a retrofit solar panel installation on an existing roof will select a system up to or including 4kW as these systems which will ensure the largest payments from the FIT. Installations which are larger than this will receive slightly lower payments per unit.

The size of a commercial installation is also linked to the amount of Feed-in Tariff income that it can generate. From the 1st August 2011, commercial solar PV systems installed which exceed 50 kWp will receive lower FIT payments than they currently do. This is to ensure that the resources of the FIT are available to all installations including ones for homeowners and to ensure a steady rate of growth for the solar PV industry.

With a growing understanding of the necessity of renewable energy and the financial incentives of the Feed-in Tariff, more and more solar PV systems are being installed across the UK. Once a system is installed, all of the clean green electricity which it produces is free for the owners of the system. Thus increasing numbers of homeowners and organisations such as schools, farms and businesses are choosing to provide themselves with electricity in this way.

Article submitted by Carlo Ruggiero.
Carlo Ruggiero is a green aficionado who is passionate about getting the word out on renewable sources of energy and all things green, from funding your hot water to making money from your electric heating.  You can follow his struggle with social media and daily musings on Twitter.

Now Is The Time To Go Solar

The incentives to go solar at home are better than ever.
Government guarantee schemes and increasing electricity bills, combined with dwindling fossil fuel resources and the dire need for solutions to climate change make solar panels a compelling solution for the eco and budget conscious homeowner.

So what is solar power anyway?
Solar power uses photovoltaic (PV) cells on the roof of your house to convert light from the sun into electrical energy which can be used in your house, or fed back into the national grid. A chemical reaction creates a flow of electrons in the solar panel (direct current or D/C), which feeds into an inverter to convert this into alternating current (A/C) to power your house.

What if I don’t live in a sunny climate?
Solar panels don’t actually need sunshine to work, the photovoltaic cells react to daylight. So even on a completely overcast day solar panels can generate 40% of their potential electricity yield. And you are still connected to the electricity grid, so outside of daylight hours you can draw from the grid just as before. Plus, any extra electricity from your panels which you don’t use will be fed back to the grid and you’ll actually get paid for it! (See below)

The environmental case for solar
The environmental case for renewable energy is becoming louder and more critical all the time. Barely a week goes by without a major news story involving the rising price of oil and gas, the terrible environmental impact of fossil fuel recovery methods such as “fracking” and tar sands which leave areas of land devastatingly polluted and emit up to 45% more greenhouse gas than even traditional oil and gas (and of course 100% more than solar). With peak oil production rapidly approaching, solar is widely seen as an integral part of the low-carbon future, and thankfully one which you can start to benefit from now.

The financial case for solar
Arguably just as important as the environmental benefits, there are now real cost savings to be made by going solar. Government schemes both in the UK and US now provide homeowners with compelling cost incentives for installing solar panels at home. Last year in the UK the government introduced the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) as an incentive scheme to encourage homeowners to invest in solar PV. The FIT ensures payment of 43.3 pence for each unit of electricity that their domestic solar system produces, irrespective of whether they use that electricity in their home or not. Additionally, the FIT also pays 3 pence per unit for electricity not used in the home and exported to the National Grid. The scheme is guaranteed for 25 years, and the amount will increase with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index.

With this in place, homeowners can make around £12,000 ($19,000) profit over the lifecycle of their solar panels. This is on top of savings on electricity bills of between £70 and £130 ($114 and $212) every year.

So what’s stopping you?
Installation and all the technical know-how are handled by the solar panel provider, along with maintenance over the life of the panels. In the vast majority of cases you won’t require any planning permission to install solar panels.

Although the initial cost of the panels is between £8,000 and £14,000 ($13,000 and $23,000), the feed-in-tariff, and bill savings ensure you will start earning this back from day one. Also, many solar panel providers offer free panels in exchange for rights to the feed-in-tariff until the cost is paid off. So there really should be nothing stopping you from going solar at home.

Article submitted by Carlo Ruggiero.

Carlo Ruggiero is a green aficionado who is passionate about getting the word out on renewable sources of energy and all things green, from funding your hot water to making money from your electric heating.  You can follow his struggle with social media and daily musings on Twitter.

Is It Too Late For Renewable Energy?

You cannot define renewable energy that easily. It is the general term used for a whole range of unconventional energy sources, so the definition has to be all-encompassing. As most experts put it, renewable energy is any energy source that occurs naturally and very widely.

Most renewable energy sources are dependent on nuclear power. This nuclear power comes from the sun. In a huge nuclear reaction, the sun produces energy in the form of light and heat and this reaches the earth as natural sources of energy. The sun is the ultimate source of solar power, wind power, biomass energy and so on. Fossil fuels may be categorized under biomass energy, but are limitedly available and have plenty of disastrous side effects.

The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory has a great renewable energy program that finds the upcoming energy saving building methods. We have realized that energy efficiency is the best way to go, and this is where people will be educated in this aspect.

They work together with the leading instances of the building industry, foreground endeavors to build using renewable energy and tell producers as well as consumers about what and how they can save money by using this form of energy. NREL also get together with agencies to set guideposts for buildings and other energy consuming gadgets.

Renewable energy use is beneficial for the environment in the polluted world of today. Wind and solar energy are two of the most prominent types of this energy. Biofuels, geothermal energy and wave or tidal power are fast becoming popular, though some of these may potentially harm the natural world.

Is there any difference between renewable and alternative energy?

Many people don't know the fine difference between the two. Renewable energy is fundamentally natural; it's the energy we get from the sun, wind or waves. Alternative energy, however, includes both bio fuels and nuclear energy sources which are not really healthy options for us to use.

The infrastructure we have is suited for fossil fuels, even though renewable energy or green energy more cost effective. Our government has not been busy taking any steps to change things and go in for green energy sources. With the present situation worsening every day, we have to get a change really soon.

If we try to find one positive thing about fossil fuels it could be that we can store the energy we get from them, which is more difficult with green energy sources. Solar power, for instance, is less effective in cloudy weather. Calm days there is not very much use of a windmill. This and initial costs to get energy from these unconventional sources are still a bit high, could be a small drawback as compared to traditional earth-killing sources of energy.

About the Author

Eric Q. Duncan reveals "The Secret Trick To Use Energy More Wisely"; a free e-book about building a cost efficient home with green energy and also check his other site about renewable energy Grab a totally unique version of this article from the Uber Article Directory

Article Source Earth Articles Green Directory

Money Saving Ideas for Saving Your Home Energy

Many factors to save are facing us on a daily basis. Save money, save our planet, save the environment, save energy to name but a few.

But how many of us really take notice of these cries for saving. Many of us try to save money from our salaries, but with the low interest rates, how helpful is this?

In today’s slow economical world, there is one sure fire way you can save money on your household heating bills, along with helping the environment. C’mon, we all have to do out bit don’t we?

I work in the UK as an Energy Assessor covering Hampshire. During the past 3 years, I have seen firsthand how a great deal of money can be saved by making a few simple and cost affective changes to your home and in the way that you live on a day to day basis.

The first thing we all need to do is to increase the loft insulation (if you have one) to at least 270mm. This is really cheap to do, is very quick to facilitate and will stop your precious heat from escaping through the roof. If you feel inclined to, you can also insulate between the rafters for added protection. Just remember to leave gaps near the soffits to allow for air circulation as you could cause condensation if you don’t.

Next, if you have cavity walls, look at having these filled professionally to stop any heat being lost through them. If you have solid walls, you could look at having internal or external insulation applied, subject to any listing consents. From 1983 onwards, the building regulations stated that all properties built thereafter should have cavity wall insulation. From experience, this isn’t always the case and some builders have neglected this! Double check beforehand.

If you have an open fireplace which isn’t often used, consider using a chimney balloon. These are very cheap to buy, come in various sizes and can be inserted into the chimney to stop and down draughts or losing heat up through the fire place.

Another worthwhile exercise is to change all of your lights / light bulbs to low energy bulbs. The laws have recently changed and you can now only buy low energy bulbs. However, all too many homes are still clinging on to their old bulbs because they are brighter. They’re not! Today’s low energy bulbs are very bright and as time goes on they will get better and better. Much money can be saved using these bulbs not only through the electricity used, but they also last 10 times longer than our ‘old’ ones.

If you have a hot water cylinder with a jacket with your heating system, upgrade the jacket to at least 100mm to increase the insulation. Turn down the thermostat a little to save some energy. If you haven’t got a thermostat on your cylinder - then get one!

Whilst on the subject of heating. Ensure all of your radiators have Thermostatic Radiator Valves and turn them down or off if the room is unused. Ensure you have a room thermostat and again keep this low and finally, if you have a non condensing boiler, consider upgrading it to a condensing boiler.

In order to keep this article short, there are so many other ways to save money around the home. I will leave you with the thought of switching off electrical appliance at the mains when not in use. Items on standby, including the phone charger can use quite a bit of power.

Now, stop wasting money and protect our planet for the next generation.

About the Author

Simon from Property Assess is an independent Energy Assessor based in Hampshire offering Energy Performance Certificates (EPC’s) for residential properties.

Article Source Earth Articles Green Directory
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