Renewed doubts about energy supply and security as a result of the nuclear disaster in Japan will mean greater focus on renewable sources and there’s no better source than the power of the sun. With the price of energy set to increase, now’s the time to consider using your roof to generate electricity.
People make many different kinds of home improvement: double glazing, a conservatory, extension or a new kitchen, but only solar PV will make a return on the outlay of between £7,000 and £15,000 – assuming your roof faces south.
Since April 2010, energy companies have been obliged to pay a Feed in Tariff (FIT) if a house owner makes an investment in their homes by having photovoltaic solar panels (solar PV) installed on their roof. Therefore, for every kilowatt hour (kWh) of energy generated your electricity supplier has to make a FIT payment of 41.3p. Most impressively the payments are index linked, free of tax, and guaranteed for 25 years – equivalent to 5 to 8 per cent return. The investment also significantly reduces household carbon emission.
During the daylight hours, the home uses any electricity generated for free which is a saving on buying power. Any not used is exported to the grid, for which the electricity provider will pay an additional 3p per kWh. (How this is calculated varies between suppliers).
Depending on the number and therefore generating capacity of the solar panels on the roof, most households will be able to receive about £600 to £1,200 annually in FIT payments.
The initial investment should be paid off in about 10 years. Thereafter the solar panels will be generating income over the rest of the FIT guarantee period.
If you can’t afford the panels, there are a growing number of companies which will rent your roof. They will undertake the installation and give you use of any electricity generated but keep the FIT to pay for and profit from the solar panels.
Solar PV is certainly worth considering but it’s essential that you deal with an installer which is Microgeneration Certification Scheme approved.
Two local companies who will undertake installation of solar PV panels are Glynn Stevens from Grange Park, a well known electrical contractor about to receive MCS accreditation (01793 870948, firstname.lastname@example.org)
and Rain Wind Sun from Purton who have been MCS installers since before the FIT scheme was launched (01793 772277, email@example.com).
Both will provide free assessments of the potential to generate electricity from your home and free quotes.