The renewable energy sector is growing at an increasing rate; at the forefront of this growth is the mainstreaming of solar power on both residential and commercial buildings.

The manufacturers of solar panels (also known as Solar PVs) are getting more and more efficient at producing equipment. These means that panels are improving all of the time, and prices are dropping. So, it feels like this is the best time to consider ‘going solar’. Let’s take a look at the big picture.

A short history lesson

Solar Energy has been broadly available for around 20 years now. Back then, panels were inefficient, bulky and rather ugly. They were also extremely expensive! However, this expense was mitigated by the generous grants available from the UK government which not only contributed to the cost of the hardware, but also reimbursed you handsomely for any excess energy that you could ‘sell’ back to the National Grid.

It seemed like a win-win, and largely it was. However, the reduction of government support is not as painful as it would have been without the enormous advances in renewable technology.

Solar Panel Innovation

One reason to get on board right now is that there is a confluence of innovation and technology, making solar panels a better prospect than ever.


Solar panels have never been more efficient than they are now. This means that for every hour of sunlight, you can create more usable energy than ever. And this does not just apply to the panels themselves, but to the other parts of the system too. The metric used to measure panel efficiency, known as ‘Round Trip Efficiency’, has never been higher – good systems are capable of 80% efficiency.


The advent of efficient and cost effective storage means that you can garner the full value of the energy created by your solar power system. Storage, in the form of batteries, can be scaled up depending on whether you are a commercial or domestic user.


Software has also come on in leaps and bounds of late. Your system can be controlled and monitored from your mobile device, putting you in control of how your system is performing whilst being able to troubleshoot without the need for a maintenance visit.


Solar PV units have never been more discrete. Now that panels are more efficient, not only can they be made to be more sympathetic to their surroundings, but you also need fewer panels than before. More recent innovations from manufacturers such as Meyer Berger have led to the introduction of solar panel tiles – the ultimate in solar style!


Solar panels are more hardwearing than ever before. Warranties can be up to thirty years, with most panels expected to last way beyond that. 

Solar Panels and The Green Agenda

There is no longer as much scepticism around climate change as there used to be. Simply put, you can install a solar panel system safe in the knowledge that it will have a positive impact on your carbon footprint.

However, not all solar panels are as ‘green’ as each other, and it pays to do your research on how serious different manufacturers are about their own sustainability. Cobolt Blue Energy are proud to be partners with Meyer Berger, who are as passionate as we are about sustainability; you can read more about this here

Solar Panels and the price of fuel

The UK has suffered in recent years from a number of factors out of our control which have pushed the price of energy further and further up. It is likely that the price of energy will continue to be volatile as the world weans itself away from fossil fuels. The only solution to this is to gain control of the energy that you are using; the easiest and most effective way to do this is with a solar power system.

The savings that you make by switching to renewable energy are based on the cost of the alternative. The higher the alternative, the more you will save. The cost of ‘traditional’ energy has never been higher than in recent years, which makes the decision to ‘go solar’ more attractive than ever.

Integrating your smart home and EV

We humans love to innovate, and we also love convenience. Smart homes are becoming more and more popular with the rise of ‘The Internet of Things’. Connecting various appliances around your home leads to the pinnacle in convenience, security and entertainment options. Smart appliances include doorbells, heating systems, multi-room audio/ video and lighting.

However, each new smart appliance represents a new drain on your energy. The solution to mitigating this demand is to power these appliances from free, renewable energy. Imagine a world of guilt-free smart living! This is now very much a reality.

Electric Vehicles present an enormous opportunity to maximise the value from your solar power system. Until the recharging network matures, you are likely to continue to be reliant on your ability to charge your EV from home. Even when the network has expanded sufficiently, why would you pay for the electric needed by your EV when it can be harvested for free?

With the number of EVs getting larger and larger, the prospect of ‘free’ motoring is something that is now within the grasp of a typical household. If you are a commercial customer running a fleet of electric vehicles, the savings are going to be even greater!

Adding value to your property

The value of solar panels is no longer in question. A good system will add value to your property, it’s as simple as that. How good the system is, and how well it has been installed is a key part of the valuation process. Ensure that you have all the relevant certificates in place if you have a system and are considering selling your property.

It is becoming increasingly normal for solar panel systems to be mentioned within the sales documentation that an estate agent will put together for you. So, not only will you benefit from the energy savings whilst you are in your home, but also from the increased resale value that your solar system will afford you.

Solar PV Compliance

These days, our industry is heavily regulated, and rightly so. But this hasn’t always been the case. When solar was in its infancy as a technology, there was the risk of low quality panels incorrectly fitted and without the right warranties.

However, government legislation has meant that there is a set of compliance measures that should accompany every installation, domestic or commercial. This reduces the risk to commercial or domestic customers, giving the assurance needed to invest in a long-term renewable solution.

Cobolt Blue Energy are here as you complete project management specialists; our end to end service includes a full set of compliance checks.

Financial support for solar

Whilst the ‘golden era’ of funding for solar panels has passed, there are still grants available both for domestic properties, and small to medium sized commercial enterprises. The availability and size of grants may depend on your location.

You can also still ‘sell’ your excess energy back to the National Grid, even though the tariffs available are not as generous as they have been.

One thing is for certain, the amount of financial support available is unlikely to increase with time. Everything we know about this sector suggests that now is the time to exploit available funding.

Cobolt Blue Energy are available to discuss any potential government funding, and also discuss options for how to maximise a return when selling excess energy, since your incumbent energy provider may well not be the best option available.

In conclusion

Because Solar is still a relatively recent innovation, it is hard to know exactly when to jump aboard. Yes, prices will continue to reduce, as more and more PV’s are manufactured. And yes, innovation will continue to positively influence our industry meaning that panels will become more efficient and more discrete. However, the simple fact is that solar panel systems are now an extremely attractive, reliable and efficient option. And, of course, the sooner you start harvesting the power of the sun, the sooner you start saving. 

Cobolt Blue Energy

Giving You The Power