So it’s understandable why so many homeowners are turning to solar panel installation as an effective way to help reduce their carbon footprint and energy costs.
However, for those keeping an eye on their sustainability and monthly energy bills, installing solar panels is only part of the journey towards an energy efficient home.
There’s a lot you’re able to do after your solar panels are installed to help run your home more efficiently.
At Projects4Roofing, we understand how important making the right energy choices are right now for a lot of people across the country.
That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide with practical tips to help you improve your home's energy efficiency after installing solar panels.
Understanding solar panels and energy generation
Before we jump into the post-installation tips for an energy efficient home, it’s worth having a quick recap on the importance of solar panels as a method of generating renewable energy.
We have an article that goes into depth about the way that solar panels work - but explained simply, solar panels convert sunlight into electricity using photovoltaic cells.
When the sun’s rays hit the photovoltaic cells, there is a ‘photovoltaic effect’ which creates a flow of ‘direct current’ electricity. This current is then ‘inverted’ into alternating current using an inverter, and can be used to power your home.
Solar panel installation is one of the easiest and most effective ways for homeowners to become more sustainable - it’s actually estimated that they can reduce the carbon footprint of your home by as much as 80%!
And when it comes to cost savings, it’s estimated that installing a typical 4kW solar panel system can save you as much as £1000 on your annual energy bills!
So if you were still on the fence about whether or not installing solar panels could make an environmental or financial difference for you - the answer is a resounding yes!
Maximising solar energy usage
Once you’ve had your solar panel system installed, you’ll be one of the 1.3 million homes in the UK that are making a positive difference to the environment at the same time as saving on bills.
But to get the optimal benefit and reduce reliance on the national grid, you’ll want to make sure you’re making the most of the renewable energy you generate.
Run energy intensive appliances during the day
One of the simplest things you can do to optimise the use of your solar energy, is to schedule energy-intensive activities like running your washing machine or tumble dryer, during peak sunlight hours.
Daylight hours are when your solar panel system is generating the most electricity, so by running your high-energy activities at the same time it reduces the likelihood that you’ll need to use electricity from the grid.
Consider a Smart Home Energy Management System
If you want to take things a step further after installing solar panels, you might consider investing in a smart home energy management system.
Technology has evolved quite dramatically over recent years, and the latest home energy management systems can link up with heat pumps, battery storage and your household appliances to optimise the usage of energy generated from your solar panels throughout the day.
Energy storage solutions
If you truly want to make the most of the energy generated from your solar panel system, consider investing in solar battery storage.
If you generate any excess electricity during the daylight hours, it can be stored in your battery for use during the evenings and night-time, reducing your reliance on energy from the national grid.
Battery storage can add to the initial cost of your solar panel system, and it’s not the right solution for everyone - but it can help you get the most out of your solar panels.
Make sure your panels stay clean and out of shade
Another important factor in getting the most out of your solar panels is to keep them clean and out of the shade - especially if you have a string inverter.
We’re not going to go into too much detail here (we've written another post on the different types of inverter) but as a bit of a recap, if you have a string inverter your solar panel system will only achieve the performance of the weakest performing panel.
So, if one of your panels is only operating at 50% efficiency (because it’s become dirty or is half covered in shade from an overgrown tree) your whole solar panel installation will only operate at 50% efficiency.
There are solutions that you can put into place (like solar optimizers) that can help the efficiency of your solar panel system if you can’t get around the issues of shade or debris interfering with your solar panels. But for a lot of homeowners, a simpler solution is to make sure your panels are kept clean and you make sure trees are carefully trimmed.
Conduct regular maintenance checks
Beyond keeping your solar panels clean and shade free, if you want to generate the most renewable energy possible from your solar panel system, it's important to conduct regular maintenance checks.
This includes looking for any signs of physical damage, ensuring all connections are secure, and regularly checking that each panel in your system is operating at optimal efficiency.
Energy-efficient home upgrades
You’ve installed solar panels.
You’re making sure your energy-intensive appliances are operating during the day.
You’re completing regular checks on your solar panel system to make sure it is clean, out of the shade, and all panels are operating optimally.
But there’s still more you’re able to do to make the most of the renewable energy your solar panel system generates.
Install energy-efficient LED lighting
If you’re looking to improve energy efficiency in your home, switching to LED lighting can make a significant difference.
It’s actually estimated that switching to LED bulbs can reduce your energy usage by as much as 90%, and they have the added benefit of being longer lasting than traditional bulbs.
Choose energy efficient appliances
If you’ve bought any new electrical appliance over the last decade or so - you have probably noticed a colour coded sticker and an energy efficiency ‘rating’ on the packaging.
The concept of grading the energy efficiency of things like your fridge, TV and washing machine isn’t new - but the rating system got a big overhaul in 2021 to make it easier for consumers to understand.
As simple guidance, all electrical appliance for your home are now rated on a scale of A to G, with A being the most energy efficient and G being the least.
So when it’s time to upgrade your TV, aim for an A!
Consider a smart thermostat
Investing in a smart thermostat can provide you with a lot more flexibility over your home heating and energy usage.
Some advanced devices are able to adjust the temperatures based on who is in the house, and can even integrate with weather forecasts to help optimise your energy usage.
A lot of smart thermostats also provide remote access through a smartphone app, you can adjust your home's temperature from anywhere.
Forgot to switch off the heating in the morning in the midst of getting everyone ready for work and school? Just press a button on your smart thermostat app.
Considering a solar panel system for your home?
Speak to Projects4Roofing
A solar panel installation is one of the most effective ways for homeowners to become more sustainable, reduce their reliance on the national grid, and save money on their monthly energy bills.
If you’re interested in finding out more about installing solar panels to your home, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team.
At Projects4Roofing we promise a clear and transparent process, and no pressure selling.