A bright future for PV solar panels

After months of uncertainty for the PV (photovoltaic) solar panel technology industry, the clouds are clearing, and the sun is breaking through for the solar panel industry at last.

With a considerable reduction in PV costs over the last 18 months, (but won’t last forever) the old feed-in tariff rate should have been reduced much earlier conceded the industry. It wasn’t, and that’s why we saw the feeding frenzy last year.

The solar panel industry has been in limbo since the two court case fiasco over the Christmas period, thus creating customer uncertainty and a public relations nightmare for trade just finding its feet.

In 2010 there were approx 500 registered solar companies, compared to 2011 which saw 2,500 more companies entering the market. The rapid growth fueled by the feed-in tariffs has been remarkable.

Consumer confidence had disappeared since 43 pence feed-in tariff rate deadline expired last year, but finally the new Department of Energy and Climate Change minister Greg Barker has put confidence back into the solar panels arena with a pledge for this much-needed energy sector.

“Today we are announcing plans to improve the feed-in tariff scheme. Instead of a scheme which benefits the only the few, the new improved tariff scheme will now provide for the many.”

Greg Barker, Energy & climate change minister.

The 15.44 pence feed-in tariffs for solar panels

The new feed-in tariff rate of 15.44 pence, now aligned with the cost of installing solar panels. You may receive a reduced rate of tariff, but the upfront installation cost is thousands of pounds lower than if you had purchased in 2010.

The benefits for you installing solar panels today will be just as rewarding as the early pioneers and adopters, from the earlier days of the feed-in tariff scheme which paid much more for their technology.

The scheme will continue to deteriorate over time to newer adopters, so acting now to get a higher rate of 15.44 pence per kWh is essential if you want to avoid missing the higher level tariffs. The scheme is expected to be lowered to 15 pence per kWh by 2014 but maybe sooner depending on high demand, so act today and avoid the crowds.

If your home is energy efficient with loft insulation, and cavity walls where possible? If you have an energy-efficient home, then the next logical step will be solar panels.

The incentive schemes for both technologies including solar heating panels are available, and your new energy-generating technology will be an invaluable addition to your home, as predicted costs for energy price rises take hold.

Energy efficiency first

If you feel your home is not as energy efficient as it can be, then do the basics first, and then you save money on your energy bills straight away. Solar panels are an addition to primary efficiency measures. There is no point generating power from the sun if your home is as draughty as a barn.

It is with this common sense that the new feed-in tariff scheme is now being rolled out.

Cheaper panels (See three reasons to install solar panels soon) a reasonable rate of return that’s better than the banks, energy savings and technology that will make you proud that lasts longer than a mortgage.

Seriously, don’t wait around, get ahead of the crowd and benefit from solar panels today.

Welcome to the solar panel century.

"Light is life."

Stuart Lovatt 2012-02-11