120 years ago, the first ever solar PV cell was built, made of selenium and gold. The cell was only around 1% efficient. Now solar photovoltaic panels can generate enough energy to provide heat and electricity to an entire household, and not only can the sun`s radiation produce energy, but so can the wind on the days when we do not have the sun in our eyes.
Improvements in the solar panel and solar thermal field have coincided with an expanding variety of choice for the consumer when deciding on what system to purchase. There is the option of flat plate collectors, which turn heat radiated by the sun into hot water; evacuated tube collectors, which carry out the same task as flat plate collectors, but are made up of several cylindrical collectors, which sit in parallel and collect more solar energy as the cylinders capture the sun from many angles. Solar photovoltaic panels are also on offer and they save electrical energy by converting the sunlight into electricity. So now we have an array of solar panels which can all carry out different jobs.
Innovations that will help you make the most of your solar panels start with A-frames. The A-frames are designed for flat rooftops, so that the solar panel can still be positioned at the correct angle to make the solar panel as effective as possible. Further innovations include new racking options which make for a faster and cheaper installation.
All these systems have to be maintained, but the amount of maintenance required differs depending on the type of solar panel. Hot water solar systems typically come with a ten year warranty, and do not require a great deal of maintenance. The system should be checked personally on a yearly basis, and you should also seek the advice of a MCS approved installer from time to time.
Solar photovoltaic panels that connect to the grid require very little maintenance, you just need to ensure they`re kept relatively clean, and that shade from trees or near by buildings are not a problem. However, these systems should be checked by a qualified MCS technician. Stand-alone systems (not connected to the grid) need maintenance on other parts of the system, like batteries.
Governments are now trying to supply businesses, communities and homeowners with more incentives in the hope solar energy and other forms of renewable energy will improve everybody>s personal carbon footprint. You can now attain feed-in-tariffs which allow you to be rewarded for generating your own sustainable energy. The scheme will pay for every unit of electricity which is generated with MCS approved renewable technologies like solar PV, whether it is used in your home or exported back to the grid.
The government have also designed a new Renewable Heat Incentive, which is designed to provide financial support that encourages individuals, communities and businesses to switch from using fossil fuel for heating, to renewables such as wood fuel. If you adopt the scheme, you will have to replace your fossil fuel heating system (e.g. Gas, Oil and Coal) with a renewable technology (e.g. wood fuel), and you will be paid a set amount each year as an incentive for adopting the eco-friendly scheme.