Solar hell?

Recently reminded of this subject on a recent trip to Wales as we saw loads of solar panels on rooftops. I’ve been toying with the idea of some form of self-generated  energy for some time now so have been doing the usual research into what’s available as you do.

And it’s no real surprise that adverts for companies are appearing that’ll take all of the hard work out of it for you – simply sign a contract and they will install a Solar system on your house, provided your roof meets their acceptance criteria.

But scratch a little under the surface and you’ll discover something about ownership and cost issues.

On a 5000 kw system you will expect to receive around 4500 kw per year

The government will pay you 41p for every unit collected, so let’s see 0.41 x 4500 = £1845, average household uses say 2000 units per year, so there’s another 2500 that can be sold back to the grid (at 8p each) £200

So you can make over £2000 per year if you install a 5 kw system yourself.

Or you can let someone else earn it, and if you’re lucky they’ll earn it for 20-25 years – so you could save a large amount on energy costs but you do stand to lose a lot of additional cash. And add an unnecessary legal wrangle into any potential future house sale. (An agreement has to be included during transfer of ownership that agrees to the solar equipment ownership staying with the installer)

Sure, a 5 kw system might cost £15,000 to install, but look at it like a conservatory that pays you back – people have no issues with taking out a mortgage extension for aforementioned conservatory, or double glazing, or central heating but installing solar cells? Nah. Ten years and that will repay its cost but on top of that you could be vastly reducing your energy bill.

There are many more green innovations – many of which are no longer innovations – and of course the rhetoric will be that by banding together we will be saving the planet etcetera , but solar is a simple cost choice above all else, you can save (and make) a bunch of cash, and if you’re so inclined, save the planet at the same time.

Take the plunge, but please don’t allow someone to install it “cost-free” for you, find a reputable local firm who will charge you but once they’ve finished installing will leave you with a system you own 100%

Unfortunately my current house does not have a large enough roof area for solar – boo

http://www.businesscornwall.co.uk/news-categories/press-releases/reducing-cornish-carbon-footprint-123

http://www.homesun.com/faqs/other-questions/#how_can_homesun_afford_to_reduce_the_cost_of_solar_so_dramatically/

http://www.engadget.com/2010/08/08/homesun-to-install-gratis-solar-panels-on-uk-roofs-hope-for-rei/

http://www.fitariffs.co.uk/eligible/levels/

http://www.heatmyhome.co.uk/pv-solar-panels.htm

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THE PERSONAL BLOG OF CORNWALL-BASED COMPANY DIRECTOR // CHRIS RICKARD