Steep energy costs have prompted an increasing number of people to look into generating their own electricity through solar panels.
As well as saving money by producing your own power, you can also make savings from Feed-In Tariffs, which guarantee an inflation-linked income for renewable energy projects.
Solar PV (photovoltaic) panels activate in light, not direct sun as commonly thought. The stronger the light, the more electricity is generated.
Solar PV panels produce 12 volt DC, which is then converted to 240 volt AC through an inverter (usually installed in the loft space). From the inverter, the electricity flows through a meter to your consumer unit and connects to the electrical system in your property.
This solar energy powers your property and is no different to power from the national grid, except that it is free and is always used first. If it is night time or there is not enough power from your panels, then the system switches to the national grid, keeping everything working smoothly.
A 4kWp system can generate around 3,800 kilowatt hours of electricity a year in the south of England – roughly equivalent to a typical household's electricity needs. It will save nearly two tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.
|Location||System size||Feed-in-Tarrif generation payent (£/year) Valid between 1st April - 30th June 2015||Feed-in-Tarrif generation payent (£/year) Valid between 1st of July - 30th September 2015||Feed-in-Tarris export payment (£/year)||Electricty bill savings (£/year)||Carbon dioxide savings (kgC02/year|
|London, South England||4kWp||£510||£495||£90||£135||1,870 kg|
|Aberystwyth, Wales||4kWp||£480||£460||£85||£125||1,750 kg|
|Manchester, North England||4kWp||£450||£435||£80||£120||1650 kg|
If your system is eligible for the Feed-in Tariff scheme, you could generate savings and receive payments of £610 - £740 a year depending on your location if you register before July 2015 (based on a 4kWp solar PV system eligible for a generation tariff of 13.39p/kWh). You will get paid for both the electricity you generate and use, and what you don't use and export to the grid.
*Source: Energy Advice Service, 2015
The average domestic solar PV system is 4kWp and costs £3,000 - 8,000 (including VAT at 5 per cent).
You can pay for the panels privately and benefit from free electricity for your property.
You will also receive payment for all the Feed In Tariff and Export Tariff electricity you don’t use, which goes into the national power grid for other households to use.
The majority of homeowners cannot afford the full upfront costs to install solar pv panels. The Government's Green Deal is a way of paying for many home energy-efficiency measures from the 'savings' you'll make on energy bills. It can be used for around 45 home improvements, one of which is solar panels.
The amount you can finance through Green Deal will depend on how much your home is expected to save on its electricity bill. If this is not enough to pay for the full cost, you can still use Green Deal finance to pay for part of the cost.
SES will install the Solar PV Panels at a rate which does not exceed the Green Deal finance you receive.
You agree to enter into a contract giving 50% of the Feed In Tariff to SES for 20 years.
You agree to enter into a contract giving 100% of the Export Tariff to SES for 20 years. In return, SES agree to monitor the solar site and carry out all maintenance and repairs at no additional cost.
At the end of the 20 year period when the FIT payments come to an end, you will continue to enjoy the benefits of cheaper electricity.