As our commitment towards a sustainable future strengthens, many AGA customers are increasingly curious about the feasibility of a solar-powered AGA. So, can you run an electric AGA on solar panels? In this article we hope to answer any questions you have about switching to this sustainable way of powering your home, including your range cooker.
This blog will be covering:
- The benefits of using solar panels
- How much money can I save by powering my AGA cooker with solar panels?
- Sizing a solar panel system for your AGA
- Aren’t solar panels expensive to buy and install?
- Are there any government incentives for solar panel installation?
- Do solar panels work with British weather?
- Other renewable sources
- Other uses of AGAs
- Tips on how to run your AGA sustainably
- Final thoughts
Using solar panels at home offers numerous benefits, both for homeowners and the environment. Here are some key advantages of installing solar panels:
Solar panels harness sunlight, a renewable energy source that is abundantly available. By using solar power, you decrease reliance on finite fossil fuels, contributing to a more sustainable energy future.
Reduced electricity bills
Solar panels generate electricity that can power your home's electrical appliances and lighting. By utilising solar energy, you can significantly reduce or even eliminate your monthly electricity bills, saving money in the long run.
With solar panels, you generate your own electricity on-site, reducing dependence on utility companies. This energy independence provides more control over your energy consumption and protects against rising electricity costs.
Solar power is a clean and green energy source. It produces no greenhouse gas emissions or air pollutants during operation, helping to combat climate change and improve air quality. Solar energy contributes to a cleaner and healthier environment for current and future generations.
Many governments and local authorities offer financial incentives to promote the adoption of solar energy. These incentives can include tax credits, grants, rebates, or net metering programs, which allow you to sell excess energy back to the grid. Taking advantage of these incentives can further offset the cost of installing solar panels.
Increased property value
Homes equipped with solar panels tend to have higher property values. Solar power is increasingly valued by homebuyers due to its long-term energy cost savings and environmental benefits. Installing solar panels can be a wise investment that enhances your home's resale value.
Solar panels are built to withstand various weather conditions and typically come with long warranties. They require minimal maintenance and can last for several decades, providing a reliable and durable energy solution for your home.
Solar power installations can have a positive impact on local communities. They reduce strain on the electrical grid, leading to a more reliable and resilient energy system. Solar initiatives also encourage community engagement and foster a sense of environmental responsibility.
It's important to assess your home's location, available sunlight, and financial considerations when considering solar panel installation. Conduct thorough research and consult with reputable solar companies to determine the feasibility and potential benefits specific to your situation.
The amount of money you can save using a solar AGA setup depends on various factors, including the cost of electricity from your provider, the size and efficiency of your solar panel system and the amount of sunlight your home receives. Nevertheless, once the initial investment is covered, the savings on energy bills can be substantial in the long run.
The size of the solar panel system required to power your AGA will depend on the model of your cooker, how you use it and its power consumption.
It's always best to consult with a certified solar installer to get accurate sizing for your solar AGA setup.
Solar panels can be used for more than just an AGA
While our primary focus here is to answer if a solar-powered AGA is feasible, it's worth noting that solar panels can power much more than just your cooker. They can provide electricity for your entire home, including lighting, heating and other appliances, making your home a more sustainable and energy-efficient place.
While the upfront cost of solar panels can be significant, the long-term savings on energy bills can offset the initial investment. Plus, solar panels add value to your home and contribute to a sustainable future, making them a worthwhile investment.
Yes, there are a number of government incentives available for solar panel installation in the UK.
The main government incentive for solar panel installation is the Feed-in Tariff (FIT). The FIT is a payment that you receive for the electricity that your solar panels generate. The amount of the FIT you receive depends on the size of your solar panel system and the amount of electricity you generate.
The FIT is currently being phased out, but it is still available for new installations until March 2027. After March 2027, there will be a new scheme called the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). The SEG will pay you for the electricity that you export to the grid, but the payments will be lower than the FIT payments.
In addition to the FIT, there are a number of other government incentives available for solar panel installation, including local authority grants, tax breaks and loans. If you’re considering installing solar panels, be sure to do your research and find out what incentives are available in your area.
Are solar panels difficult to manage and maintain?
Solar panels are relatively easy to manage and maintain. They don't have moving parts, which reduces the risk of damage, and require only occasional cleaning to ensure they're working at their best. Most solar panels come with a 20-25 year warranty, ensuring you have support if any issues arise.
Solar panels do indeed work in British weather. While they are most efficient in direct sunlight, they can still generate electricity on cloudy days, albeit at a reduced rate. Modern solar panels are also designed to withstand various harsh weather conditions.
While solar power is a great option for powering your AGA, it's not the only renewable energy source available. Wind and hydroelectric power can also be viable options, depending on your location. Consider investigating these alternatives if you live in an area with less sunshine but have access to strong winds or flowing water.
Aside from cooking, an AGA can be utilised in various ways to enhance your home and daily activities. Here are some alternative uses for an AGA:
- Heating - one of the primary functions of an AGA heat storage cooker is to provide radiant heat to the surrounding area. In colder climates or during winter months, the AGA can be used to warm up your kitchen and adjacent spaces, creating a cosy atmosphere.
- Drying clothes - the AGA's radiant heat can also be utilised for drying clothes. By placing a clothes rack or drying rack near the AGA, you can take advantage of its warmth to speed up the drying process. Be cautious not to place delicate or heat-sensitive fabrics too close to avoid damage.
- Warming plates and utensils - the AGA's hotplates and ovens can be used to warm plates, dishes, and utensils before serving meals. Placing them on the warming plate or in a low-temperature oven helps keep food warmer for longer periods and enhances the dining experience.
- Bread proving - AGA range cookers are known for their gentle and consistent heat, making them ideal for bread proving. Use the cooler oven or warming plate to create a warm environment that helps dough rise evenly and effectively.
- Room freshener - when not in use for cooking, the AGA can act as a natural air freshener. Place a dish filled with herbs, citrus peels, or aromatic spices on the warming plate or in the oven at a low temperature. As the heat activates the ingredients, it releases a pleasant fragrance into your kitchen and surrounding areas.
- Kitchen centrepiece - AGAs often become a central hub in the kitchen, providing warmth and a place to gather. They can serve as a cosy seating spot, a place to rest groceries or kitchen tools, or even a makeshift pet bed. The AGA's presence can add charm and character to your kitchen space.
Running an AGA sustainably involves making conscious choices to minimise energy consumption and reduce environmental impact. Here are some tips to help you operate your AGA in an eco-friendly manner:
- Whilst traditional AGA models are designed to provide constant heat, adjusting the temperature settings can help conserve energy. During warmer months or when the AGA is not in frequent use, you can lower the oven and hotplate temperatures to reduce energy consumption while still maintaining a functional heat source. New all-electric AGA cookers can be switched on and off as required and the eR7 models offer the lowest any running costs of cast-iron heat-storage cooker on the market as they are fully programmable.
- On new models make use of your induction hob which offers a fast and efficient way to cook.
- AGA hotplates retain heat even after they are turned off. Take advantage of this residual heat by turning off the hotplates a few minutes before finishing your cooking. The retained heat will continue to cook your food while saving energy.
- Plan your cooking and baking to make the most efficient use of the oven's heat capacity. Whenever possible, cook multiple dishes at once, taking advantage of the oven's multiple compartments or shelves. This way, you maximise the energy used during preheating and reduce the overall cooking time.
- AGA cookers retain heat for a long time, even after being turned off. Utilise this residual heat by using the AGA's warmth for additional cooking tasks such as slow cooking, keeping food warm, or reheating dishes. This minimises the need for additional energy sources.
- Traditional AGA models also have lids that help retain heat. On these older models, when cooking, make sure to keep the lids closed as much as possible to maintain a consistent temperature and prevent energy wastage. Additionally, ensure that the AGA's insulation is in good condition to minimise heat loss.
- Ensure your AGA is properly maintained to optimise its energy efficiency. Keep the AGA's flues and vents clean and free from obstructions to promote proper airflow. Regularly check for any leaks, worn-out seals, or inefficient components that may contribute to energy wastage.
- Take advantage of the AGA's radiant heat and thermal mass by using suitable cookware. Opt for flat-bottomed pans that provide the best contact with the AGA hotplates to ensure efficient heat transfer, which helps minimise energy loss and ensures optimal cooking results.
- Take a look at our AGA Cookshop, which stocks exclusive ranges that are ideal for getting the most out of your AGA cooker.
In conclusion, running your AGA on solar panels is not only possible but also a great step towards a more sustainable lifestyle. While the initial investment can be significant, the long-term savings, environmental benefits and added home value make it a worthwhile venture.
There's a lot to consider when thinking about a solar-powered AGA setup, and we hope this article has helped answer some of your queries. Embracing renewable energy for your AGAs is a fantastic way to combine tradition with innovation for a greener, brighter future.