UPDATE: The Feed-In Tariff is now closed for new applications. To find out about the new scheme designed to replace it, click here.
Solar panels (also known as solar PV) are a great way to generate electricity at home. Although they are not a cheap investment, they are the most common type of home renewable in the UK. We’ve put together our top 5 reasons to get solar panels.
Yes, you’ll have to pay the upfront cost of the system, but after that you will benefit from free electricity. The payback time will vary depending on the price and size of the system installed, whether or not it incorporates battery storage, and the financial incentives available at the time. They could pay for themselves (in savings on your bills and Feed-in Tariff payments) within 10 years, or it could take longer. But if you’re going to be staying in your home for decades to come, the system will almost always pay for itself over that time period. Maintenance costs are low, as the only routine attention they need is cleaning a couple of times a year.
Cut your carbon footprint
Generating your own renewable electricity is a great way to reduce your impact on the environment. When you import your energy from the National Grid, you can’t know exactly where your energy comes from. In the UK, a lot of it is generated using fossil fuels, which has detrimental effects on the environment. If you make your own energy, you know exactly where it comes from – the sun! Solar energy doesn’t produce any emissions or harm the planet, so it is an obvious choice for the environmentally – conscious.
The more people that supply their own green electricity – even if it makes up only some of what they consume – the less pressure on the UK to generate enough energy at all costs. Unfortunately, the current government’s plans for keeping the lights on revolve mainly around fossil fuels.
Get paid for what you generate
The government Feed-in Tariff pays you for every unit of renewable electricity you generate. Although rates have dropped, free money is still free money! These payments can stack up over the months and years, and it’s a welcome benefit if you would like to install the technology for other reasons. Payment rates change regularly, but (depending on the size of the system), some are currently as much as 4.5p per unit. See current rates here.
Get paid for what you export
The Feed-in Tariff also pays you (per kWh) for the leftover energy you export back to the grid. All solar PV systems have a generation meter, but most don’t have an export meter. This means that the government has to estimate the amount of electricity you generate. This is called ‘deeming’, and at the moment the estimated export amount is set at 50% of a system’s generation reading. You’ll be paid this even if you use all the electricity you generate yourself, and don’t in fact send half of it to the National Grid, like they estimate.
Battery storage can take this one step further. Until recently, there was no way to store electricity, so any generated had to be used straight away at the point of generation, or redistributed to be used somewhere else. Batteries transform electrical energy into chemical energy for storage, which can then be used later on. Recent advancements mean battery storage systems are now available on a domestic scale. This means you could potentially keep all your own electricity and maximise savings, because you won’t need to pay to import as much, and you’ll still be paid for what you generate. However you’ll need to bear in mind that although these systems are dropping in price, they are still expensive.
Independence from the grid means more stability
If you are in a position to create your own electricity at home, you will be less vulnerable to energy price hikes, like the ones we have seen in recent months! The less energy you need to import into your home, the less reliant you are on energy companies (the vast majority of which are out to make huge profits).
An increase in people generating some of their own electricity could help UK infrastructure to balance demand too. The dependability of the UK energy distribution is currently unclear, due to increasing pressure on the National Grid from reduced generation levels. Experts are warning that we may soon face blackouts. Every unit of energy produced by domestic systems is a unit that doesn’t have to be delivered by the UK’s straining grid. An extra benefit is that if you have the right kind of battery storage system, you may have backup power in the event of a power cut!
Installing solar PV
Are you thinking about installing a solar PV system at home? We have scoured the country for the best tradespeople, so that we can make sure we only recommend those we really trust.
If you would like us to find you a local installer to help install a solar PV system in your home, just fill in the form below and we will be in touch shortly!