We all joke about the British weather, but our rainy island nation in fact receives only about 30 per cent less solar radiation than Mediterranean countries like Spain or Italy. So it shouldn’t be so much of a surprise to learn that solar power kits provide an effective alternative energy option in the UK.
From low wattage solar powered lighting kits to powerful solar power stations, affordable and versatile solar panel kits are now available to produce your own, clean, green energy, are easy to install and will save you money, too.
Why choose solar panel kits?
Solar panel kits are a flexible, green energy alternative that’s affordable and practical. It’s a popular renewable energy source for many reasons:
- green energy with no carbon emissions
- save money – produce free energy from the sun
- low cost – basic solar panel kits start from £20
- can be used anywhere – including the home and garden, on motor homes and boats
- easy to install
- robust and low maintenance
- wide range of power options
- no need for planning permission for most small solar panel kits
As well as the environmental benefits, a big advantage of solar power is that you don’t need to be connected to mains power. That means you can provide power to a shed or greenhouse, for example, without having to trail long cables back to your house.
Types of solar panel kit
There are solar panel kits to suit all budgets and needs, and fall into five main categories:
- small wattage solar power kits
- solar power stations
- solar powered lighting kits
- solar security lights
- solar motor home and boat kits
Smaller wattage solar power kits
Smaller wattage solar power kits producing up to 60/80 Watts of energy are all water-resistant and able to withstand the rigours of the weather and use high-energy crystalline cells, suitable for all-weather charging.
The very smallest, at 5-10 Watts, are good for battery maintenance, simple lighting and short weekend use. Larger kits producing are ideal for powering TVs, laptops and charging appliances and for longer trips away from home.
Solar power stations
Solar power stations are more powerful panel kits packing 60-80 Watts plus, going up to 150 Watts of green power. They’re more suitable for permanent fitting and powering both 12V and 240V appliances, good for home or office. They are generally quick and easy to install and most can also be packed away when not in use.
The largest provide up to 750 Watt hours a day, meaning it can charge 12V garden machinery and power appliances like pond pumps, lighting and outdoor heaters for around two-four hours a day.
Solar powered lighting kits
Some kits are specially designed solar powered lighting systems. They include the necessary solar panels, fittings, lights and cables to light your garden, garage, shed or wherever you need extra lighting.
Solar security lights
Solar security lights are self-contained and need no wiring. Just install them around the house or garden and they will work using remote sensors at night.
Marine Solar Panels
If you’re looking for a green power source for your boat or motor home, there are a variety of specialist marine solar panels available. Good for running, lights, water pumps, appliances and more, they range from 60-150 Watts output and are easily installed. They generally all include a charge controller and solar test meter, as well as installation materials.
The costs and savings of solar panel kits
The smallest solar panel kits can cost from around £20, while larger solar power stations can cost more than a thousand pounds. Naturally, the greater the power output, the more expensive the kit. For example, a 120-Watt motor home and boat kit could set you back around £750.
Many solar panel kits include everything you need to start producing carbon-free energy. Others may need a few extra gadgets. For example, invertors may be needed for solar panels to power 240V appliances.
Whatever you choose, however, once your solar panel kit is installed you’ll be producing totally free green power, with virtually no maintenance to worry about. Which means real money savings and a real environmental difference.