A guide to using the energy made by solar panels

09 April 2024 | OVO Energy

The amount of sun that hits earth’s surface in an hour and a half is enough for the whole world’s power for a year. This amazing fact makes solar energy one of the most important sources of renewable energy, and an important part of our move away from fossil fuels.

Solar panels are a bright opportunity for homes across the UK 

The potential of solar energy to power homes is huge, and the technology is constantly improving. Not only is solar power useful for powering homes, it can also ease the pressure on the National Grid and help create a more flexible energy system.

The benefits to installing solar panels on your home include lowering energy bills, reducing your home’s carbon footprint, and even the potential to increase the value of your home. And with the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) incentives in place, you can get paid for the energy that you don’t use.

We’re on a mission to bring our customers along on the Path to Zero, and renewable energy is an important part of this vision. We’re trusted by millions across the UK and with our MCS accredited solar panel installers, you can be sure your journey into solar will be in safe hands. Find out about our solar offering.

Power home appliances with solar panel energy

One of the best things about investing in solar panels is that they power your home. Using the energy generated from your solar panels means you’re less reliant on electricity from the grid, and that helps lower your electricity bills. In fact, if you get your solar panels and battery from OVO, you could cut your electricity usage by up to 85%.1

How much energy could my solar panels make?

A typical 10 panel system can generate around 4694 kWh of electricity per year. That amount could power all of this on one average day:

  • Ironing a shirt
  • Powering an internet router for 24 hours
  • Cooking with an electric oven for 1 hour
  • Toasting 4 slices of bread
  • Running a fan for 12 hours
  • Playing a digital radio for 10 hours
  • Running a space heater for 1 hour
  • A 2 hour dishwasher cycle
  • Using 2 laptops all day long

How can I get the most from my solar panels?

If you can, it helps to use more energy during the day, when your solar panels are producing electricity, than at evenings and nighttimes. Especially for appliances that need more energy, like washing machines and dishwashers. 

Try our online solar calculator to see how much energy you could save depending on the size of your solar system.

Solar battery storage systems

What do solar battery storage systems do?

Getting a battery storage system is a brilliant way to make the most of your solar panels. By pairing your solar system with a battery, you can store any extra energy made by your solar panels during peak sunlight hours. And this means you can use that energy when power generation is lower, such as at night or on a really cloudy day.

Recent improvements in battery storage means they’re more efficient and compact than ever – so you can even fit one inside your home in a utility room or loft. 

Battery storage capacity usually varies between 1 to 13 kW. The size you’ll need depends on the number of solar panels you have, and your home’s energy use. If you’re unsure which size is best for you, you can book a free video survey with our solar experts, and they’ll help you find what will best suit you and your home.

Book a video survey

Selling solar energy back to the grid

On a bright day, your panels might make more energy than you need to power your home. If this happens, you can sell it back to the National Grid and get paid for your unused energy. Result. 

The government introduced the Feed in Tariff (FIT) scheme in 2010 as an incentive for homeowners to install solar panels or other microgeneration technology. This has been replaced by the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). Through the SEG, you can sell power back to the grid, and get a payment per kWh from your electricity provider. 

When you get solar panels and a battery through OVO, you can get our brilliant SEG rate of 20p per kWh – and save up to £1,200 a year.1

Get a quote

What are the benefits of solar panels?

They can help you:

Save money on your energy bills 

By teaming your solar panels with a battery, and signing up to our anytime SEG rate of 20p per kWh, you could reduce your energy usage by up to 85%1. Find out how much you could save.

Reduce your carbon footprint 

Solar energy doesn’t produce emissions, so it’s a great way to reduce your carbon footprint – and improve your home’s energy efficiency.

Increase the value of your home 

Getting solar panels can improve your home’s efficiency and help increase your EPC score. They can also help to boost the value of your home. In fact, homes with an improved EPC rating from F to C saw an average increase in value of 15% or £55,786

How does solar power work? 

Let’s go right back to when it all started. In 1839, the 19 year old Edmund Bequerel discovered the photovoltaic effect. This means the ability to turn the sun’s radiation into electricity. 

Today’s modern solar panels use this photovoltaic effect to make electricity. The panels are made of photovoltaic cells, containing silicon. When sunlight hits the silicon, the electrons within the cells start moving around. This creates electricity in the form of a direct current (DC). It’s then converted into an alternating current (AC) by an inverter. And then that electricity can be used to power our homes.

Rooftop solar systems are becoming more popular in the UK, with 190,000 installed on homes and businesses in 2023 alone. The price of solar panels has dropped by over 90% over the past 10 years, and batteries are becoming more efficient, so there’s never been a better time to go solar.

1 These annual energy savings are dependent on your property type and location, roof type, slope and size. If your roof is shaded or isn't south facing, figures are likely to be lower.

We based the figure on the following:

a) You have 12 (430W) solar panels and a 9.5 kWh battery installed

b) You’re home all day with an annual electricity consumption of 2,700 kWh (Ofgem). You currently pay our Standard Variable Rate of 23.33p (correct at 1 April 2024) and will use 42% of what you generate

c) You sign up for our exclusive SEG rate (20p kWh) for customers who purchase solar and a battery from us, and you sell back the remaining 58% of energy generated.

You’ll get a more accurate savings estimation once we’ve surveyed your property.