PV solar panels & EV-charging in the United Kingdom.
Switched on people.
PV solar panels and feeling the pride when adopting solar technology in the UK climate
Power My Home is a by-product of my enthusiasm for PV solar panels after seeing the benefits for myself. I developed this website as a research tool to empower others through the process of adopting these empowering technologies.
Each sq/m of your roof receives between 900-1400 kWh a year.
PV solar panels could also heat your hot water (optional).
Benefit day and night with battery storage (optional).
Future-proof with PV to EV charging (optional).
Operational for 30+ years.
Energy consumers are going there own way.
The world is changing fast, and that's why PV solar panels are essential.
When I first began my solar journey, you needed two separate systems to produce electricity and hot water - not today.
PV-to-hot water converters can be installed alongside photovoltaics to use the surplus electricity to power the immersion heater and heat your hot water and even charge your EV (electric vehicle) for free.
A thermal store tank will allow you to use multiple renewable technologies for both hot water heating and space heating.
Evacuated tubes and flat-plate panels are traditional solar heating technologies, but now photovoltaics with heat-converters are preferred by installers and users alike.
"Water chlorination, antibiotics, the jet turbine and the internet, were the game-changers of the last century. PV alongside battery storage and EV's are the first game-changers of the 21st century."
A guide to PV solar panels
Do I need planning permission?
No. From the 6th of April 2008, planning permission will not be required for most solar panel installations, unless you live in a listed building. Even then, most councils will allow solar panels in most cases.
Is my roof compatible?
Most homes in the UK are suitable for solar panels. If you have a South, South East, Southwest or East and West facing roof space un-obscured by shading, then yes. Your internal plumbing/electrics will need to be checked through an on-site survey before the installation process begins.
Even the UK receives 60% of the sun's radiation compared to the equatorial regions. Each square metre of the United Kingdom gets between 900 to 1,300 kWh of energy annually, so this technology does work in northern climates too.
In most cases, no, however, if you have 'Part P' electrical and plumbing skills, then it may be possible to install in a daily capacity. DIY flat-plate, PV and evacuated tube kits are available.
DIY installing can work out much cheaper. However, you will not be eligible for the generous feed-in tariff schemes currently available. All eligible installations must be carried out and certified, by an accredited MCS solar panel installer to qualify.
Solar technology is not a one size fits all. Installations for both heating and electric can be complicated, due to many issues such as roof access, layout and internal factors. Solar panel technologies vary in size, so potential installers will need to ask a few easy questions about your property to establish your options and costs.
"PV-heating converters work side-by-side with most central heating systems and all year round."
Photovoltaic solar panel installations
Technology that lasts longer than your mortgage.
PV (Photovoltaic) solar panels generate electricity using the sun's rays. 'Photo' refers to the Photons, which hit the panel, and 'voltaic' refers to the volts produced when a chemical reaction takes place within the panel cells.
These panels divide into two types:
Thin slices cut from a single crystal of silicon with a typical efficiency of 15%. Slightly more expensive, but offer a higher peak output of 280-320 Watts per panel.
Thin slices cut from silicon crystals with a typical efficiency of 12% and give a maximum output of 180 Watts per panel.
Sell electricity to the National Grid with grid-connected PV systems. Generate electricity for yourself and export the excess power to the National Grid. Amazingly, get paid even if you use the power yourself.
You can put the panels together to make a system ranging from a minimum of
1KW going up to a max of 5KW for domestic PV
solar panel installations, producing from 750 kWh to 4,500 kWh per year.
With no moving parts, this lasts for many years with no maintenance required.
Once installed, your system will be at your service for 25-30 years in the UK climate.
I can still remember that day like it was yesterday, the day I watched my first installation, and that was the day my love affair with solar panels began.
"A decade ago, solar panels were exotic technology, but today you see them everywhere. However, the thought of "why doesn't every home benefit from this?" has never left me."
Times were very different when I got introduced to this technology. Energy bills were still relatively cheap and what many now call 'the golden age of cheap energy' was only showing hints of coming to an end. Today we know differently, but with hindsight, maybe people should have prepared while the sun was still shining (pun intended).
Even today, people are only just waking up to the fact that was snookered with our national energy policies. Current government policies are risking our landscape, health and local environment with toxic fracking processes in a desperate attempt to keep the lights on, while families are spending more significant percentages of their household incomes on energy.
I advocate solar panels because they are a technology of independence.
Admittedly, they won't benefit you on a snowy day in February. However, neither will your family car, but that doesn't subtract from its usefulness for the rest of the year.
Solar panel technology will reduce your family's dependence on high rising energy costs - expected continually into your distant future. Additionally, grandchildren will one day ask what we did to prevent 'the environmental collapse', and I want to be able to say "I did something".
For anyone considering this technology, I would say this will be the best purchase you can make; not only this decade but the next couple of decades too. The geopolitical landscape is already shifting unrecognisably.
From my experience and others, we report that most solar installers are a credit to the industry. However, to ensure you install the most beneficial technology at the right price, I have created a network of 'trusted installers' who can help you connect the right technology for peace of mind.
"PV solar panels with battery storage is the first game-changer of the 21st century. EV's (electric vehicles) come close behind as the second."
Why I'm evangelical about PV solar panels?
For the road ahead.
When they train police interceptors advanced driving, one of the first skills they teach you is to see potential danger around you and observe further down the road. This capability should also be used to spot potential problems to our ability to heat and power our homes.
This reason is why the pioneers of solar panel technology choose to install. For more energy independence in a world of global political wrangling and uncertainties around energy security. These technologies super-long lifespan help to contribute to that goal individually and nationally as adoption rates increase.
PV technologies for investment.
With bank rates falling to as little as 1.0% on savings, you will almost certainly get a better return on investment with the feed-in tariff scheme - now available for both electric and heating solar panels.
However, be forewarned! The current incentives that give solar technology a significant return on investment at the moment will gradually reduce to newer adopters, as uptake increases. This is a window of opportunity that will not be around for later adopters.
Over the last 50 years, solar technology has been refined and tweaked to a point where we can now get outstanding performance, even in the United Kingdom and more generally the northern hemisphere. The old myth that solar technology doesn't work well as a myth back then and even less accurate today.
These years of extensive research and development have brought this much-needed technology into our homes and will continue to do so as conventional fuels continue to become more expensive.
Feel the love.
Back in the 1950s, my grandad was lucky enough to be able to buy a new Volkswagen Beetle. Motorways were still a new phenomenon, so being able to take his family out on day-trips to the seaside when other families again relied on coach trips, must have filled him with much joy and pride.
My grandad loved that car so much that it was still in mint condition and much loved even when I grew up in the 1990s. There are not many technologies in life that can last so long and enthuse such pride in a family, but solar panels do just that too.
PV solar panels today
I've been shouting from the root tops about PV solar panels for fourteen years.
Most people don't yet understand how game-changing they are.
Unfortunately, solar panels have endured a roller-coaster ride in the UK, due to lobbyists in the traditional UK energy industry and their right-wing press enforcers.
Dark forces intervened with the UK's fledgeling PV solar panel industry.
Unbelievably, Britain's sharp U-turn in policy came just as the global demand for PV began to grow exponentially.
The world continues to turn, albeit with a more significant number of threatened species and our society keeps descending into more desperate forms of drilling!
Got to keep the people sucking on those blood and oil-stained Teets.
Despite the corruption and ensuing political onslaught of the last few years, the broader solar industry has continued to advance its range of technologies and bring the homeowner an array of new products with their accompanying benefits.
A breath of fresh air for this misunderstood technology.
When I first began pioneering Power My Home in 2004, PV solar panels already seemed like a space age technology, especially when you realise that 1950s satellites are orbiting the planet with PV still generating today.
Nowadays, the solar industry is benefiting from these additional add-on technologies that never existed only a few years ago.
His choice to suppress the fact that 'self-generation' is the next technological and logical step for the human race is bemusing, but unbeknownst to him, his efforts to deliberately destroy the UK solar industry for his feudalistic pals unwittingly improved it.
Unfortunately, many hardworking and talented people's lives bore the brunt of Cameron's shortsightedness, but now the surviving companies could be considered the best of the best.
The solar industry in the UK now has an actual bedrock to base its inevitable growth upon, but must work alongside the RECC (Renewable Energy Consumer Code) and other trade authorities to prevent the mistakes of the past repeating.
The remaining feed-in tariffs are still around and up for grabs, so it's worth claiming yours while they are still around. Let's remember that the incentive was only meant to be a short-term leg-up for the industry. They have ultimately reduced the cost of an average PV solar panel system by as much as 60% since its launch.
I'd like to say that our corporate/political masters can't stop progress, but that's not technically true.
However, in solar's case, the genie is already out of the bottle thanks to The Labour Party in the UK, but it's Germany, China and India who have picked up the baton and are now electrically driving its success forward.
To reiterate, British solar companies that are still installing today, for the most part, can be considered the best of the best and are now ready to begin a new chapter in human and UK development.
With a longer-term view of our energy consumption, selling photovoltaic systems has become a different experience from the 'one size fits all' model. The feed-in tariff will no longer be the incentive, but the longevity and complementary technologies will.
I believe the huge reduction in the cost of PV panels that's occurred over the last few years shouldn't be wiped out instantly by pushing the price up with the additional costs of add-on technologies like battery storage.
Yes, you'll always get, those who want the top-of-the-range EV on the driveway, but appealing to more modest households is a strategy worth pursuing as the EV market inevitably expands towards the masses.
Primarily, I suggest that self-generation should be offered in various sizes to suit varying budgets. The one size fits all sales model has become obsolete and could be putting many people off who's more modest budgets don't, unfortunately, meet their good intentions.
A more fundamental solar starter packages may be a good starting point for many, thus giving your expert sales teams the ability to help some customers to add more features once PV technology's benefits are genuinely realised.
Having a real long-term relationship with your customers and keeping them abreast of current developments and progress will build upgrade and maintenance sales opportunities.
Gone are the days when solar companies 'fit and forget'. That option should only be reserved for customer's choice.
Some PV savvy customers could become people who'll gain a thirst for squeezing the maximum performance and benefits from their solar panels like Motorsport enthusiasts do today.
Word of mouth was the most significant factor for those who were astute enough to install in the last few years, and so it will be again as people begin to 'show off' their new PV powered EV's and battery storage systems.
I love PV solar panels and the potential they hold for contributing towards freeing-up the human race from its dark feudalistic masters who feed upon the misery of high-cost heating, powering and transport.
Once the penny drops about PV in the national consciousness, the rest will become galactic history.
"Electric vehicles are today marketed on the fact that they are cleaner and cheaper to run than petrol/diesel engines, but few mention that they have no moving parts and nothing to go wrong under the bonnet."