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Shine On: How Solar Power Can Reduce Your Bills

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To many people, solar power still seems like a luxury or high-end way to generate energy. It's assumed that the panels are expensive to construct and to maintain, that the equipment requires specialist machinery to convert solar power into anything you can use and that it's not really a technology for private households. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Most private households could probably benefit from the installation of solar panels on their roofs — so it's well worth considering them for your own home. Here's everything you need to know.

Your Home Needs to Face the Right Direction

The one sticking point that may make your home unsuitable for solar panels is the direction the roof faces. Your panels need to be installed on a surface that's facing north, or thereabouts. If your roof is facing east-west instead of north-south, you may not be able to see as much benefit from the panels; you'll only collect a portion of the energy no matter where you install them. It may be possible to find a solution, but you'll need to speak to a specialist.

The Panels Pay for Themselves

Okay, not outright — but eventually, you'll make enough savings on your energy bills that you'll 'make back' the cost of the panels. Then, you'll go into pure savings. After all, you don't need to pay for the energy you generate from your solar panels; even if it doesn't entirely supplant your other power sources, you'll see significant reductions in the bills. For the record, you don't need to switch between power sources either; when they're installed, all of that will be taken care of for you, and they'll simply feed directly into your home.

They Work When It's Not Sunny

So long as the sun is out, your solar panels will be working; it doesn't need to be an especially bright or sunny day for them to start collecting energy. They collect particles of light, called photons, and use them to displace electrons. You don't need direct sunlight to do this. In fact, even 'fake' light from light bulbs generates photons; it's simply that natural daylight is the most effective source for the panels to draw from. As such, you don't need to worry about cloudy weather ruining your panels!

Simply put, solar panels are an investment for the future. The earlier you install them, the sooner you'll see the benefits of the energy they generate — and that energy is great for the environment, too. It's a win all-around.