If you want to make a difference and you are thinking about solar power you may be wondering what your options are. In the UK there are currently 3 options that you can take advantage of in order to go green and use green electricity.
You can switch to a green energy tariff from one of the energy providers or you can install solar panels on your home and generate your own electricity. If you choose solar you may be able to get free solar panels if you meet the right criteria or you can pay to have them installed yourself. Although free panels sound good initially if you have the money buying and getting an accredited installer to install them for you means that you can make more then your money back and still get free electricity.
Let's look at the first option and that is to switch to a green energy tariff. If you do not wish to switch providers your current electricity provider should have a green tariff available. You may automatically think that to be green you are going to have to pay a little extra, in some cases this is true but many green tariffs will cost you the same as you are paying now.
There are a few thing to check before you switch, if you want to be as green as possible then check what the green tariff actually means. Some providers will top up green electricity with what they call brown electricity. This means that if they cannot produce enough from renewables they will top it up with power from standard sources.
Some tariffs do not actually mean you are using green electricity but instead put some money into a fund to support renewable energy generation. Some of the smaller companies supply just green energy which means that you are supporting and industry that is actively reinvesting in green technologies and creating sustainable jobs for local communities.
The are a few solar panel installers who offer free solar panels for your home as long as you meet the requirements. It means that you will get all of the electricity the panels produce without having to pay out any money. The companies can do this because of the feed in tariff that pays people to generate renewable or green energy. The requirements usually mean that you have to have a south facing un-shaded roof and live within their catchment area.
Alternatively you may choose to get solar panels installed on your roof. The advantage of doing this now is that you can now take advantage of the governments feed in tariff which means you get paid for every kilowatt of electricity you produce even if you use that electricity yourself. There is also the feed-in tariff which means that you get paid for any spare energy you sell back to your electricity company. The high rate that is currently set for solar produced electricity means that over the panels productive lifespan you will more than make back your initial costs. The payback period will depend on the initial solar panel cost.
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According to DECC figures a 2.5kWh solar PV system can provide half of homes yearly electricity requirements.
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