The simple attraction of solar power is that it keeps on providing a readily convertible power source every day. Even through a cloudy, overcast day, solar power can be harnessed safely and turned into electricity to power a home.

A solar panel installation is actually made up of small photovoltaic cells which are laid side by side and collectively make up a single solar panel. A grid of solar panels is then put together in a frame, which is then used to convert the sun's power into electricity.

Every one of the solar panels is given a rating specific to its DC power output. This is usually between 100 and 320 watts. Collectively, an installation of solar panels, usually in a grid format, can generate several kilowatts (thousands of watts) of electricity.

One photovoltaic cell is different from another. Each cell has its own efficiency which determines how effective the cell is in converting the sun's power into electricity. It does not necessarily follow therefore that a larger solar panel containing more cells will generate more electricity than a smaller solar panel with fewer cells. This reality is helpful when dealing with smaller roofs that can fit fewer solar panels on its surface.

Schemes for Green Energy

There are several often overlapping green home improvement schemes that encourage home owners to overhaul their homes. Some deal with specific areas like home insulation or renewable energy installation, whereas others are far broader and cover over 40 different types of green improvements throughout the home.

The increasing focus on green issues is goal-driven for the government. They have two targets: One is to cut green-house emissions by 34% by 2012 and the other other is to ensure 15% or more of our energy is generated using renewable forms of energy by 2012. Both of these goals can be approached from the same direction.

With it comes to creating green homes, a series of measures can be implemented in a home to reduce the overall energy usage. This cuts energy demand, which reduces the energy generation needed from power plants that unfortunately emit their own green-house gases during the production of electricity to power the national grid. Thus, carbon emissions can be reduced by cutting the power needed from our electricity power plants and home-produced renewable energy helps with that.

For renewable energy, solar power and micro-wind turbines are highly effective in generating enough electricity to supply at least 50% of a typical family dwelling's power requirement and often will generate excess capacity which can be sold back to the national grid.

Feed-in Tariff

An interesting scheme for renewable energy is the feed-in tariff. This is a financial-based scheme where home owners who have had approved renewable energy installations fitted, can receive a payment for each unit of energy created. Furthermore, any excess energy given back to the utility company to help power the national grid is awarded an additional payment. The payment subsidy can last as long as 20 years and is expected to more than cover the cost of solar panel installation and maintenance.