At GMRL we have been fitting Solar PV in Scotland since we started the business in 2014. Graham as a self-employed Sparky was fitting them even before that. When we started with solar PV, the government had made the feed in tariff too generous. It became more of an investment scheme than a renewable energy installation.
When we started with solar PV, the government had made the feed in tariff too generous. It became more of an investment scheme than a renewable energy installation. Thankfully the government and industry move on as it was encouraging poor installation and all sorts of problems. The loss of the generous tariffs and returns has in some ways be compensated by fall in price and improvement in technology of the panels
We have come a long way in solar energy. It was 1953 when Calvin Fuller, Gerald Pearson, and Daryl Chapin working at Bell Laboratories developed the first silicon cells. With three years 1956 commercial solar cell was available. They had the generating capacity of 1 watt and cost $300. Throughout most of the last century, the technology remained in the specialist sector. The cell efficiency was under 10%, and the technology was expensive and only suitable for remote off grid or space and satellite applications.
The current popularity of solar photovoltaic cells is down to improvements in operating efficiency now over 10% and on the way to 20%. The modern panels can produce more electricity within a given space providing a quicker return on investment. It goes without saying, but the panels produce more usable energy.
However, the biggest factor in the growth of solar PV has been the fall in manufacturing cost. The financial markets and investors woke up to the opportunity. Huge solar panel factories were built across the world, and this has driven the costs down. The net result is that the installed cost of solar installations has halved since 2010. These costs are still falling providing the surge and interest. By the end of 2016 install solar systems across the globe totals 306 gigawatts. It is expected to double by 2020.
The advantages of Solar PV in Scotland
as a renewable technology are:
- It can reduce electricity bills
- It will reduce your carbon footprint
- There are solar panel grants or loans available
- You will receive payments for every KW you generate via the feed in tariff
- You will receive payments for your exported to the grid
- PV panels are collecting energy while the sun shines.
- Solar PV is a low maintenance renewable
- Silent – no noise pollution
- Energy storage is possible and getting better
What is the technology
Solar PV panels generate electricity by capturing the sun’s light energy using photovoltaic cells. These cells convert the light into electrons which flow out of the panel as electricity. The panel works best in direct sunlight. However, it will operate in any well-lit conditions – even on a cloudy day they can still generate some electricity.
Solar PV in Scotland
Solar panels do not like the heat; sometimes it is possible to get more energy on a cooler bright day because the panels function better in cooler conditions. This makes solar PV in Scotlands ideal with our cool summers particularly with our long hours of strong daylight. It can make solar installation very practical.
The electricity produced from the panel can be used directly to run your household appliances, or it can be stored in batteries or a thermal heat bank or it can be exported to the national grid as in the diagram above.
What else is needed
A solar PV installation is more than putting a few panels on the roof; there will be other equipment involved. Some will change the electricity coming from the panel into power that you can use in the house or be sold to the national grid. There is other equipment that controls your power use, matching the energy you collect with the energy that you buy. There is also a meter that lets you see just how much power you are producing every minute of the day.
How to choose what is right for you
At GMRL we consider it important to select the best technology that is right for your situation. As with heating systems or any service you buy for your property it must be tailored to fit. All of our systems use the best panels for the location plus a state of the art management system that ensures you make the most of the energy generated. Our installed system has built-in safety and fault detection something that the lower cost operators omit.
When looking at the price of a system, it needs to be considered relative to its life span. A new gas heating boiler costs about £2000 plus another £1000 to fit, you may look at the Energy rating A++ but do you calculate for the £1000 of gas/pa and service costs over the 10 to 15years of its life span? That all adds up to £20,000 over 15 years
So you can see when you are considering renewables for your property it is not just question of what is the fitted cost there is more to consider.
The GRML difference
We are passionate about renewables and look at every project with an eye to what is best for the property. Some of our customers have had a staged system, panels first, then a heat pump using that free solar energy to get more free energy from the air.
Our Guarantee is that we will provide the most effective system that is right for your situation. We have a range of brochures and free resources, however, it is to best get to in touch, so we can send what is most suited to your needs.