In a verbal exchange, the wisdom of adopting solar panels was brought into question. I was unwillingly brought into this mild-mannered dispute as a third-party expert to cast a professional opinion on this particular solar panel quandary.
Commonly known as ‘Solar Stu’ to my friends for my undiminished enthusiasm for all things solar panelled, I suppose it was this that brought about this situation, but the question posted and this couple now each stood to hope for me to back-up their point of view.
Using my best diplomatic skills and to somewhat ‘sit on the fence’, I realised that both sides of this argument were correct.
The question should be, “will a solar panel installation be affordable for your circumstance?” Affordability is subjective and differs depending on many different factors, but installing solar panels should not be undertaken if it breaks the bank.
Many people borrow money or sign-up to finance deals to adopt this technology, but this route should be undertaken if it’s again ‘affordable’ long-term.
The long-term benefits of solar technology are now apparent in the world of escalating energy costs, but spending money at the expense of your short-term financial security could be a mistake.
Putting affordability aside, if you are one of those lucky enough to purchase outright and invest without adding further debt to your household’s bottom line, then I certainly wouldn’t class an installation as a waste of money. With the current feed-in tariff incentive being what it is, the return on investment is much better than the interest rates of most high street bank accounts.
Under these circumstances, spending money on a solar panel system is a smart way to use your cash constructively, primarily as the financial rewards via the currently generous feed-in tariffs which are also index-linked to protect your investment over the twenty years it ran.
As my quarrelling friends have yet to receive their first reward cheque through the letterbox, however, I suspect this verb swashbuckling will end once the cheques start landing on their welcome mat.
Solar panelling is not just a matter of money
Setting aside pride there are other reasons to adopt solar panel technology other than ‘getting one over the Jones’s next door, for those who have already taken, the benefits can be described multiple.
Independence from the current traditional high-cost significant six energy sounds utopian, and it is, but imagine if you could reduce your dependence these middlemen companies (as I call them) and that dependence on the weak global markets too.
Every time your gas and electricity bill rises by another 8-10% then your energy company always says, “don’t blame us, blame the ‘global energy markets’. This dependence will cost you dearly between now and the year 2033.
This year is the year your feed-in tariff reward will run up too. Can you imagine how many price increases that your energy company will ‘announce’ between now and then?
Cushioning your home from these volatile external influences and harvesting the energy that bombards your roof every day of the year, will undoubtedly be a brilliant move indeed.
Speaking of moving, which was also brought up in the previously mentioned dispute, I say this to anyone who may not be staying put long-term at their current postcode. If you, and this is the critical factor, ‘own your solar panels’, then this will make your property stand out from the housing market crowd.
It’s proven that selling property with solar technology can demand a higher price and you are more likely to get your asking price and sell your property much sooner than a comparable property without this technology.
The feed-in tariff rewards are transferable to the new owners and stay with the address for the period of the tariff scheme. The super long-life of this technology is what makes it financially a no-brainer if you’re staying put or moving on.
Given all these practical and emotional benefits that solar panels can provide, I (however biased) would never consider installing solar technology as a waste of money, if bought for a sensible price.
And if you’re still not convinced, then President Putin with his hand on the European gas tap has become the best solar panel promoter since his recent muscle flexing and argumentative spats with the West. Mr Putin has recently done more for promoting the advantages of green and alternative energy than all the western politicians combined.
It’s a funny old world, isn’t it?