Back in 2010, businesses introduced the feed-in-tariff scheme to encourage us to create our own energy. With energy being used up faster than ever, it made sense to try and cut back on the amount we buy from our suppliers and start giving something back to the grid.
Of all renewable energies, the solar panel is the one that we like the most. According to The Department of Energy and Climate Change, this year around 85% of us are backing the solar cause, often in addition to wind energy (a worthy runner up with 77%!)
But while we support it, we aren’t all aware of how the feed-in-tariff scheme works.
If we install a PV solar panel system at home, we’ll be paid for every unit of energy that we create, whether we use it to power our homes or send it back to the energy grid. The amount we get changes in line with the Retail Price Index but we could benefit with the protection from the frequent rise in prices from our energy suppliers. The average system varies from £8,000 to £14,000 so it’s worth using the Energy Saving Trust’s calculator to work out what your income and savings could be.
I’ve always shied away from solar panels because of their appearance. I’ve known that I could benefit but I hadn’t considered the payoffs to be worth the ugly strips or looked into them in greater depth. Now that they’ve developed to be a lot nicer on the eye and we have a scheme set up, I’ve started to reconsider joining the other 85% of us giving them the green light.
The biggest myth is that they won’t be much use in rainy England. If they’re in shadow, they won’t generate as much electricity so we need to place them on a roof or wall that’s within 90 degrees of south-facing. But, whether it’s sunny or otherwise, it’s daylight that matters. So as long as a tree or a neighbour’s house doesn’t put them in shade, they’ll work fine.
What we do need to consider is the quality of our roofs as the panels aren’t light but planning permission isn’t needed for a standard amount either, unless you live in a conservation area. If you’re wanting to install a system, check with your local planning department that you’re okay to go ahead and always assess the weight of the load on your roof with a structural engineer, builder or solar panel installer.
Do you have solar panels installed already or are you considering them? Let us know your thoughts below. For more information about the feed-in-tariff scheme, visit Gov.UK’s official website.