Solar – never mind the payback it gives generously!

Friday, June 14, 2013

When talking about  solar energy in the home one of the first questions most people ask is “How long will it take to get my money back?” 

I find this so frustrating as the very same person has most probably recently bought themselves or are considering buying a new   Smart 3D 51" Plasma TV costing in the region of £2k or are perhaps considering a new/second hand car costing possibly £5k upwards.

Do they ever stop and ask what ‘pay back’ the TV or car will give them?  No.

The TV will continue to cost you – TV licence; electricity; satellite/cable subscription etc, etc.
The car will continue to cost you– Road Tax; insurance; servicing; fuel; general wear and tear depreciation.

A solar PV (electricity) or Thermal (Hot Water) installation starts giving the moment it is installed.  With installation costs within the region of £3k - £7k depending on the size yes, calculations can be done to show projected savings and ‘pay back’ but what people do not seem to grasp is what else they are gaining,  take PV for example:

Even on a cloudy day in the UK we generate solar power.  During the day, any electricity that you use in the house ie: washing machine, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner  etc uses the  free electricity that your panel is generating. 

On top of the ‘free’ electricity you get to use your electricity supplier pays you for what they deem is half of the electricity your panel produces (Feed In Tariff – FIT).  Although the PV installation has a generation meter which measures how much electricity your panel produces, the majority of homes do not have an export meter to measure just how much electricity is fed back in to the grid.  This means that if you use all the electricity you generate during the day by running your appliances you will STILL receive a FIT payment for half of it.  This FIT payment is guaranteed for 20 years.

Yes, you still have to pay for electricity used at night but immediately your installation is in  your electricity consumer meter readings are greatly reduced.

With Solar Thermal, again solar energy is being produced all year round, obviously you are not going to supply all your hot water during winter months by solar alone, but you will find that it will raise the water temperature a few degrees and pre-warm the water in your cylinder which means a thermostatically controlled boiler will not need to work quite as hard as it would otherwise.
If you would like to know more about solar PV or Solar Thermal please,  give Rob or Lin a call on Oxford 01865 424869 or email