5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Domestic Solar Installation

April 7, 2023



Investing in a solar panel system for your home is often an excellent financial decision. Not only can you make a significant reduction to your energy bills, you’ll also reduce your carbon footprint. However, as much as solar PV systems have improved in terms of performance and efficiency, there are still things you can do to make the most of your system and maximise your return on investment. In this guide, we’re going to explore 5 different ways to get the most from your solar installation.

How to Improve Solar Panel System Efficiency

Install a Solar Battery

Installing a solar battery as part of your solar system is a great way to ensure you use up to 100% of the energy generated by your solar panels. For obvious reasons, solar panels only generate electricity during daylight hours, but most homes consume the majority of their electricity in the evenings. Consequently, homeowners may still need to use energy directly from the grid.

Selling your excess electricity back to the grid used to be a way of minimising this loss, but you would still have to pay more than you received. Step forward the solar battery. Installing a battery as part of the solar system stores the energy you generate during the day for use at night. Although it’s a significant upfront investment, the savings accrued over the life of the solar panel system more than make it worth it.

If you’d like a solar battery installed as part of your solar installation, or you’d like to retrofit one to an existing system, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Keep Your Solar Panels Clean

Solar panel maintenance and cleaning are essential to making sure that the whole system runs as efficiently and effectively as possible. Over time, dust, dirt and grime can build up on the panels, blocking light from getting through and reducing their efficiency. This can happen slowly, so you may not notice the difference or realise that there’s a problem. As solar panels are often installed at an angle, wind and rain will naturally remove some of this, but you should still regularly have your panels professionally cleaned typically every 3 or so years depending upon the situation.

Install Solar Bird Protection

Birds and other small animals like squirrels and rodents love nesting under solar panels. They provide great protection from wind and rain for them. However, they nest on connectors between the panels and over time this will cause them to fail, creating earth leakages which shut the system down. In addition, their nests can unfortunately trap debris like leaves, twigs and feathers under the panels which acts like insulation. This can raise the panels’ temperature, and while that might be great for a nesting bird, it reduces their efficiency, ultimately costing you money.

We recommend that all solar panel systems have solar bird protection installed. To install bird protection, we attach UPVC clips to the edge of the panel which clip to your roof tiles. The bird protection mesh is then cut to size and installed around the entire edge. This stops any little critters from getting underneath.

We’ve seen solar systems with bird spikes installed or chicken wire wedged in but unfortunately, these are ineffective. They may stop larger birds, but small animals, rodents and other debris can still get underneath the panel. 

As an MCS-qualified solar PV installer, we will remove solar panels, clear nests and bird droppings. We then install solar bird protection without drilling into the side of the panels which invalidates warranties. To find out more about our solar bird protection services across Sussex and the South East, give us a call.

Solar Immersion Water Heaters

Using your excess solar electricity to heat your water is another way to increase the system’s overall efficiency and reduce wastage, and there are several different ways to do this. One of the simplest and most effective is to install an immersion controller in your hot water tank. When you have a surplus of electricity being generated, it is diverted to heat water which can be used for showers and baths, rather than using electricity from the grid. A hot water tank with an immersion controller is much more cost-effective than solar thermal technologies and does not require maintenance.

Air or Ground Source Heat Pumps

Air or ground sour heat pumps take heat from the surrounding air or ground and heat a tank of water, which can then be used for hot water and to heat your home. As they require electricity, you can integrate them into your solar system to provide the power to run them, further reducing your costs.

Air source heat pumps are more common and are well suited to the UK climate, still providing heat at outside temperatures well into the negatives. They work particularly well with underfloor heating systems which provide a slow and steady supply of heat.

EV Chargers

Many more of us are making the switch to hybrid or fully electric vehicles as the price of petrol continues to rise and we’re becoming more aware of our impact on the environment. Fortunately, there are several home EV chargers on the market now that are specifically designed to work with solar or other renewables.

Much like heating water or charging a battery, you can make the most of any excess electricity you’re generating by charging your vehicle. At Savent Solar, we like to use Zappi Myenergi chargers. They work by connecting to the solar system and monitoring the amount of solar energy available before adjusting the charge rate to the EV based on the amount of solar energy being generated. This helps to ensure that the EV is charged using as much solar energy as possible, reducing the amount that needs to be purchased from the grid. You can also set the charger to only charge at off-peak times or at a slower rate to ensure maximum efficiency and cost savings.

If you or friends and family are interested in installing a solar panel system, or you’d like some maintenance done to an existing installation, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re always happy to update, expand or improve on any system. 

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