If only they weren't so expensive and you could store concentrated electricity in a box all our problems would be solved!
If you have come here looking for a place to buy solar PV (photovoltaic) , here's a few comments, I hope they are helpful:
- I don't sell renewable energy systems on this site, I do promote them in the sense that I want to save the planet and am happy to share my experiences.
- I really resent the "double glazing salesmen" (forum link) who have seen this industry as a way to make a fast buck. You will see guide prices all over this site, don't get ripped off!
- In my experience, Solar PV and Solar water heating are the most reliable and useful renewable energy generating systems
If you want a reputable company to buy solar panels from, there are many very reputable companies, in the South East try Waterlink. This is the commercial off-shoot of South East Water. They have to be reputable or will get jumped on from a height by the Water regulator! I have listed them specifically because of this, I am not aware of any other suppliers that will have that level of regulation.
Solar photovoltaic or water heating DIY
If you are considering buying Solar Panels cheap and installing them yourself, don't bother. Seriously, its not worth the apparent saving. You won't get the FIT (for Electric) or RHI (for heat) and these incentives really make the whole installation financially viable whether you are on gas or oil.
Shortage of Solar PV Panels
Another thing to consider (I'm writing this mid May 2010) there is a sudden shortage of solar PV panels, this is due to various companies buying up stock, stockpiling it and aiming to sell effectively at a ransom price. While you might have to wait a few months, stick to a reputable dealer selling at the right price lets say £10,000 for 2kW going up to £16,000 for 4kW and MCS registered - that is really important.
The shortage will be over fairly soon, Spain is finishing its FIT subsidy scheme so there will be more panels on the market.
This shortage of course doesn't effect Solar Water Heating Systems, any installations by an MCS accredited installer will be able to claim the RHI from April 2011.
My own experience of Solar PV: A case study based on my experience of both installing and running solar panels in a domestic setting
Solar Electric in the developing world: Despite the cost, this is where solar PV has really made an impact, from solar lighting through to solar fridges for vaccines.
Solar electric panels in commerce: Why pay for marble cladding when solar panels are cheaper, say something about your company and generate power!
Solar Electric, where can I buy it: Various links and examples of solar panels for sale. Focusing more on practical systems rather than gimmicks.
Solar PV projects: Some ideas for DIY and what I would like to do if I didn't have to spend so long at work etc etc..
Why is solar so expensive?
Simple, just remember that you are buying a very large sheet of what is effectively integrated circuits, in fact it is perhaps amazing how cheap they are!
But how can they afford to give away solar powered calculators, why is the solar panel so cheap in them? Its just that calculators and the LCD display draw virtually no current and hence need a very small power source.
Solar panels are available off the shelf and in various sizes. Clicking on the image will take you to a supplier.
Realistically, you would need some kind of solar kit and an idea of what you want to do with it. Put it another way, given a power provision problem, make sure you look at solar as a potential solution. It might be the cheapest or the most appropriate in the long run