We've all heard about solar panels but there is a lot of misunderstanding about the cost and the technology. Many people are not really sure if they will work especially if you don't live in a sunny climate.
There seems to be a lot of confusion about solar panels and as to what they actually do. Some people are even unsure as to whether they really work as they have read conflicting stories and reports in the press. There are a few basic points that need to be understood to clear up the confusion.
Solar panels come in two types, there are panels that use the heat from the Sun to heat water and is used to boost the hot water system in the home. There are also photovoltaic panels of PV that turns the Suns light into electricity. Both are placed on a South facing roof to get the best placement for absorbing the Suns energy.
Solar hot water systems are essentially just a set of tubes that either water of another liquid passes through. The panel is painted black to best absorb the Suns heat energy. These types of panel usually do not feed directly into your hot water system but are usually a closed system that transfers the energy to pre heat your domestic water supply so that your boiler does not have to work so hard. The upshot if this is that it reduces your gas bill as you do not need to use your boiler as much to heat the water.
Hot water systems work best in Summer when the Sun's energy is at it's greatest. They will still work in the colder months but nowhere near as effectively. There are also different systems, some are used to provide heat to improve the performance of heat exchangers, the sort that are often used to power under floor heating.
Solar PV panels work differently as rather than using the heat from the Sun they use the visible light part of the spectrum. This means that you do not need direct sunlight in order for them to work, in fact they will still produce electricity even on a cloudy day. However they will be most effective if exposed to direct sunlight as the stronger the light the more electricity they will produce.
Up until recently solar panels have not been a really cost effective proposal for most people as the initial investment took a long time to recoup. There are now however a really good investment due to a recent scheme brought in by the government to pay you for generating electricity even if you then use that electricity yourself. This means that your initial investment is not only paid back very quickly but you actually make a good return on your investment.
Discover how you can get free solar panels and find out more about the governments feed in tariff at http://www.freesolarpanelsuk.co.uk