A well-sized solar PV system - combined with storage if the usage is primarily in the morning/evening - can cover a significant portion of your home or building's annual electricity usage, up to 70-80% in many cases.
What this means is that for the majority of the year the building will be powered by 100% clean solar electricity, much to the annoyance of your electricity supplier!
And if that weren't enough, you even get paid to do so! The government-backed feed-in and export tariffs guarantee you payments of, currently, around 6p/kWh for every unit you generate, regardless of whether you use it or not. This equates to an extra ~£50 per year for every 3 or 4 panels you install, on top of the electricity savings.
Britain imports around 40% of the energy we use (BEIS, 2016). Solar power is contributing to the recent downward trend in import, so by installing panels you will be playing a part in the UK's return to energy independence.
A solar PV system will knock over half a tonne off your carbon footprint for every kWp installed. Thus a standard domestic 4-6 kWp system will knock 2-3 tonnes off your carbon footprint. A 50 kWp non-residential system will cut 25 tonnes off the building’s carbon footprint. The system will also make you more aware of your energy use, both in the home and outside it. As a result you will reap indirect savings both in cash and in carbon.
Everyone knows electricity prices go up over time. The graph below shows inflation-linked energy prices from 2005-2016. Although prices decreased from 2014-2016, they started rising again in 2017 amid escalating global oil prices.
Electricity Costs Since 2005. Source: BEIS, 2017
A solar PV system will give you protection against rising energy prices as you are in effect purchasing your power in advance. Overall the lifetime cost of domestic solar electricity is now between 4p and 10p per kWh (which is well below the typical 15p domestic tariff rate!).
In fact if prices rise much further owning solar panels will be like owning a mobile phone … you just can’t afford not to!