John and Mary, an ordinary couple from Lincolnshire who has recently invested in PV solar panels (photovoltaic) for their home explain in their own words why they took the plunge.
There is currently a window of opportunity to take advantage of a clean energy cash-back scheme, guaranteed by the government for a 20 year period, but if you defer your installation for a few years, your entry benefits will be less, so don’t wait to make the decision.
We are enthusiastic about reducing our carbon footprint but are attracted to the PV electricity feed-in tariff scheme, mainly for financial reasons.
It is not an inconsiderable outlay, and you cannot take your money back as you can from a bank, but a 7.9% per annual rate of return over 20 years.
The resulting reduced electricity bills, the annual cashback and a buffer against future energy cost increases seemed too good an opportunity to miss.”
Stuart Lovatt, the founder of Heat my Home adds, “One customer, with an old revolver disc in his electricity meter, is said to spend hours watching it go backwards! Some people become very proud of, and enthusiast about their solar panel installation, sometimes boring family and friends, but most people are just happy to be getting a better deal than from their bank and energy supplier.”
If you agree that this is a subject worth exploring further, please use this guide to solar to begin your solar panelled journey.
Welcome to the solar panel century.
Why solar panels?
The Office for National Statistics calculates a 78.2% rise in electricity prices by 2020.
Photovoltaic panels collect energy from the sun, even on cloudy days. An inverter turns the electric current from DC to AC for your main distribution board, and a smart meter record the energy that you use. Any surplus is exported out.
Installers must be MCS accredited (Micro Generation Certification Scheme).
There are three guaranteed streams of income:
The Electric Generation Tariff– Currently at 15.44p per kWh for all electricity generated, paid to you by your power supply company, even if you have used it.
The Electric Export Tariff– An additional 3p per kWh for any surplus-to-requirement electricity exported to the National Grid.
The Heating Tariff– If you install solar heating panels or tubes than a tariff of 8.5p per kWh paid for a guaranteed 20 year period.
The PV installation and the rights to a feed-in tariff can be transferred, by contract, to a new owner (just tell your energy supplier) should you wish to sell your home afterwards.
Once allocated to your home, it remains fixed, by law, and guaranteed for 20 years, or 20 years for solar heating panels.
The UK was the first country in the world to make carbon reduction targets legally binding through our Climate Change Act 2008.
The 2002 Renewable Obligation encourages large-scale, renewable electricity generation, then the Energy Act 2008 authorised feed-in tariffs to help householders and others to invest in small-scale, low carbon electricity generation by providing them with a clean energy cashback scheme.
Summer 2009 saw consultations with a vast range of interested parties including the Regional Development Agencies, existing generators, technology manufacturers, trade associations, and academia.
The six most significant electricity suppliers are bound, by recent license amendments, to pay the feed-in tariffs to small-scale generators for the power they generate.
The feed-in tariff scheme came into effect in April 2010 and is expected to be paid to over 750,000 small generators, to reduce carbon dioxide production by 7 million tonnes. This situation gives us peace of mind over uncertain future energy supply and spiralling costs, by turning consumers into generators.
After choosing an MCS accredited/Real scheme approved solar installers, a technical survey of your home’s roof orientation. A South facing is best, but either East or West is excellent.
With pitch, load-bearing and shadowing of panel arrangements, wiring and other equipment specifications documented.
Estimates of costs and rates of return can then discuss with you.