Solar Panels For Conservatories
Solar panels are now commonly seen on the roofs of houses and commercial properties, but did you know that solar panels can also be fitted to your conservatory? They can be used in two different ways - either to heat the conservatory itself or, in the case of a larger conservatory, to provide power for your home.
If you are looking to build a conservatory or already have one and are looking to make your home more energy efficient, solar panels could offer a heap of benefits. In the case of solar panels being used to heat the conservatory itself, they can be mounted onto one wall and the heat collected can be controlled in your conservatory by a thermostat.
If using the conservatory to power your home, you can have panels installed on the roof. This could be especially effective if the current roof space on your home is unsuitable for the installation of a system.
Advantages and Disadvantages
There are, of course, a number of pros and cons when fitting a solar PV system to a conservatory. If you require the system to heat the conservatory itself, then the only form of renewable energy that is suitable to use is solar panels fitted to one wall. They can be used for even the most basic conservatory. However, many people find that their conservatory generates enough heat through the windows and roof in order to keep the room warm most of the year and the time when you really need the heat is when the panels may be working at their lowest efficiency.
Having solar PV fitted to a roof space to produce electricity or power to heat the water in your home can be done as long as a substantial roof structure has been fitted. Plastic roofing on conservatories is not suitable as the panels will have to be installed for a minimum of twenty five years.
Panels fitted to a roof space of a sizeable conservatory can slash electricity bills and allow you to gain an extra source of income from the government backed Feed in Tariff scheme. For more details on the scheme and information about how much a system should generate, direct.gov and the Energy Savings Trust website have some useful information.
As mentioned, the roof has got to be structurally sound prior to a solar installation. The panels will not require constant sunlight in order to work efficiently as they take energy from daylight. However, the roof should also not be overshadowed by anything and should be facing south. An assessment of the conservatory can be carried out by an accredited solar panel company and they should be able to tell you if your conservatory is a suitable site for an installation.
Finding a Company
If you are looking to add a conservatory to your home and would like solar panels installed also, it is possible to find a company that can do both at the same time. Alternatively, the company that builds the conservatory should be able to recommend a solar power company that they have perhaps dealt with before. If the conservatory is already in place, then contact a number of solar panel companies in your area for quotes and assessments of the intended site.
Make sure you choose a company that has a long standing reputation with the use of renewable energy sources. If you want to benefit from payments from the Feed in Tariff scheme, then the company you choose will have to be certified by MCS. To find certified installers in your area, it's worth taking a look on the MCS website.