A Bright Investment?

March 4th, 2010 by grimmo Leave a reply »

A Contribution From A Local Business


If someone offered to pay you a £1,000 a year for the next 25 years for an investment of £12,500 you would give it some serious consideration.

Well from the 1st April 2010 if you install electricity generating solar panels (photovoltaic) you will be paid for each unit of electricity the system produces. Even if you use it all!

The new “feed in tariffs” (FITs) will allow anyone fitting a typical 2.5kW photovoltaic system to their existing home to be paid 41.3p per kilowatt hour (kWh) generated. Enough according to the government to reward them with up to £900 in first year on top of £140-a-year saving on their bills.

You could earn a return of 7%-10% tax free!

Payments are guaranteed for the next 25 years and unexpectedly, linked to inflation. With electricity prices expected to rise by 20% by 2020 investors in solar panels will future proof themselves from these increases.

It also seems Britons are willing to pay more for a home with renewable energy so investing in solar could add to the resale value of your property.

So, if you are one of thousands of homeowners tired of earning a measly rate on your savings or someone looking to demonstrate their commitment to the environment why not look at solar energy and invest in the future.

If you require further information regarding these systems please contact Martin Grimsley at Homestyle Solar Solutions on 01993 703 187 or visit our website.

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6 comments

  1. david says:

    For those who can afford this sizeable investment, the sums look favourable in terms of personal financial return.

    In terms of national/global economics and environmental impact, it is, however, not so clear-cut:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/01/solar-panel-feed-in-tariff

  2. david says:

    The individual responses to Monbiot’s original article are interesting and informative too. It’s a complex issue – one for which the jury will be out for a long time. And one which is perhaps a little skewed by presentations from businesses based on selling investment opportunities to people who can afford them. And the opportunities stem from the government decision to give guaranteed financial benefits to this section of the population.

    The Dinorwig pumped storage station could be replicated many times over for the cost of this scheme – and as for the (employment-rich) option of home insulation and energy conservation projects, the opportunities are obvious.

    An open question: how should a government plunged by greedy idiots into massive debt for years to come spend 8 billion on energy efficiency, job creation and sustainability? Perhaps there are other options to explore. Or perhaps it’s best to give richer people a break while poorer people live in fuel poverty.

  3. Kevin says:

    I can’t comment on the big numbers being bandied around in these articles, so starting from the other end…

    The first figure we can rely upon is a solid, proven one for electricity generated in the south of England from a 1kW peak rated solar PV panel: 850kWhrs. So let’s forget about whether we’d be better off moving to California or the Sahara – 850kWhrs is roughly the annual output you can expect to get from each 1kW peak rated PV panel mounted on your roof facing somewhere between the south-east and the south-west.

    Looking back at the Carbon Account post, if you’re not using electricity to heat your home then your electricity use is pretty much constant throughout the year, and taking my own bill as a guide that’s of the order of 400 units (or kWhrs) per month. So for every 1kWhr peak rated panel I install, that will reduce my electricity taken from the grid by 850/400 months worth, a little over 2 months in 12.

    For the 2.5 kW peak system in the original post, that would reduce my electricity drawn from the grid by almost half (5.3 months in 12) before I’ve really started looking at reducing further the electricity I’m using. In terms of tonnes of CO2, using a conversion factor for the average fuel mix for electricity generation, that’s a reduction of 0.5 tonnes of CO2 per year, or one tenth of the UK average carbon footprint.

    In George’s defence, as we can see from the Carbon Account, the bigger killers are heating and transport, and they need solutions too, but that doesn’t mean electricity shouldn’t be tackled. In terms of return on investment, or bang per buck as George has it, there really ought to be better outcomes for this level of investment, but therein lies the rub. The problem, to a first approximation, is proportional to energy use, and the solutions are being assessed according to their current economic cost. An example…

    A small car:
    weighs in the order of 1000kg,
    takes about 25,000 kWhrs of energy to produce,
    goes on to use an average of about 15,000 kWhrs of energy every year,
    can cost as little as £6,000 delivered.

    A 1 kWhr Solar PV panel:
    weighs in the order of 100kg,
    takes about 2,500 kWhrs of energy to produce,
    repays its energy debt inside four years and goes on to generate CO2 free energy for over 25 years,
    can cost as much as £6,000 installed.

    While these two items continue to balance in terms of cost, no amount of reasoned argument is going to stand up to criticism. And while we’re legally, politically and socially constrained to working within the same system that creates such anomalies, should we be that surprised when the “solutions” don’t add up either?

    To paraphrase an ex president – It’s the stupid economy!

  4. Kevin says:

    On a practical note, how are the panels fixed to the roof, what stops the rain getting into the loft, and who pays for storm damage?

  5. grimmo says:

    Non Integrated PV systems use a system of horizontal rails fixed to the rafters beneath the roof tiles. By placing the rails horizontally they will cross several roof rafters, spreading the load and allowing more fixing points. The modules then use a simple series of clamps to affix them to the rail.
    For obvious reasons it is necassary to maintain the seal of the roof. Roof flashing is used to deflect water away from seals and joints.
    It seems most home insurance policies will insure your panels at no extra cost.

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