Solar energy facts everyone should know

There is currently a lot of debate about solar energy and its place as one of several renewable energy sources in the UK’s move to net zero. Here’s all you need to know about it.

What is solar energy?

Solar energy means radiation from the Sun which produces heat and light that causes chemical reactions to generate electricity. It is the most plentiful energy source available, and just 90 minutes of solar energy hitting the Earth potentially gives enough power to meet global energy consumption for a year. It will never run out, making it completely renewable, which is probably why it’s the fastest-growing new electricity source.

Does it work in the UK?

One of the most common misconceptions about solar energy is that it isn’t reliable in the UK, due to our mixed climate and lack of sun. But according to the Energy Saving Trust, solar panels can work even on cloudy days.

While they always work best via direct sunlight, solar panels can still absorb sunlight on a cloudy day and convert it into electricity. The reason is that solar panels can absorb energy not only from the light we see but also from wavelengths which pass through clouds.

Solar batteries can also be used to store excess energy generated from solar panels to use at night and at other times when you are generating less.

Is it expensive?

Many homeowners are choosing to install solar panels, but many are put off by the cost, which depends on where you live and the sort of panels you install. However, prices have been dropping and for those looking for solar panels, manufacturers and retailers offer a wide selection suitable for many different kinds of properties.

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Is it reliable?

Because we know the time of sunrise and sunset every day of the year, it’s possible to forecast the amount of electricity that will be generated by a solar panel system. It has the advantage of not being wasted too, as any excess can either be stored or sold back to the National Grid.

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Stéphane is the founder of, a comparison service for traders. helps traders compare 20 Forex and CFD brokers in one place, through guides, reviews and comparison tables. These brokers include familiar names like AvaTrade, FxPro, FP Markets and eToro. Some of Stéphane’s first ventures were focussed on online dating, before pivoting towards affiliate marketing in the financial services space.