Whilst free solar is great for many there are several benefits for those able to investing in solar panels for your home. You may think why you should buy your own solar PV system if there are companies who are willing to supply, fit and maintain the panels for you. The simple answer is the feed-in tariffs, according to the Energy Savings Trust if you installed a 3.96kWp system you would end up with a tax free profit of £35,000 after 25 years.
An investment in solar is a long term commitment and should only be entered into if it is right for you. This means that you would need to remain in your home for at least 7 years in order to recoup your initial investment. Remember once installed you cannot easily take your panels with you and fit them onto your new home. Installing solar would however increase the value of your home and make it more saleable to a potential buyer however it would be doubtful if you could recoup the full financial benefits through an increase sale price for your home. You could probably however recoup the initial or remaining cost of your investment in solar.
The big draw for solar has undoubtedly been the feed-in tariffs that were introduced by the government back in April 2010. Without which there would be no market for domestic solar PV in the UK. The tariff works in a way that the earlier you invest in solar the more you get in the form of tax free payments. After April 2012 the tariffs payments are set to be reduced which means that you will not profit by as much if you install and register your solar system after this date. This is why there has been a large surge in installations recently. If you are thinking of investing in solar then do it now.
You do not have to buy the most expensive system to profit from installing solar, however the larger your solar PV system (up to 3.96kWp) the more you will benefit. The reason for this is two fold, firstly the larger the solar PV system the cheaper per kilowatt installed it becomes. Secondly the larger the system the more you will earn from the feed-in tariffs, these are the solar panel grants that the government introduced.
There are a lot of installers out there which means that if you are sensible and do your research you can get a very good deal. The cost of solar has fallen dramatically over the last few years and as the market has matured installers have found specific solar systems that perform better in our milder UK climate. There are also many very knowledgeable and experienced installers in the UK as well as many less reputable companies and salesman. This is also why you should fully research solar before you start getting quotes. You need to be able to understand the information the solar installation company is telling you as well as be alert for any misleading information.
How much you spend is going to depend on the size of the system you get installed, I have written about solar panel cost previously so you can get an idea of how much you can expect to spend. The largest sized system can cost as low as £14,000 which may possibly be even lower since I obtained this price in June 2011. Smaller systems cost around four to five thousand pounds. However to get the best price you need to compare prices. I have found that after comparing 361 solar PV quotes that prices for specific systems vary by as much as 65% (65.76% to be precise). On average however a more realistic 40% is more usual. The point is that if you want to get the lowest price then compare quotes from different solar installers.
It is important that you ask the right questions and get the right information in order to make a good comparison. Although price may be your overriding concern getting a good deal on price is only good if the installation and aftercare service is up to scratch. Make sure you know how many installations the company has done and how long the company has been going. Ask if it will be the companies own installers who will be doing the work or a sub-contractor.
To compare a particular solar photovoltaic system against another you know what the solar systems are. Ask what make and model the panels and inverter are and how long the warranty is on each. The panels and the inverter are the most expensive part of the system and make up most of the cost for the parts of the solar system. Check exactly how you will be able to monitor your solar panels performance. Most modern systems will allow you to access all the data from your computer.
The first step is to find MCS certified installers that cover your area in order to get quotes. A surveyor will be able to look at your roof and suggest a suitable sized system for your roof. There are several things that need to be checked including whether your roof can support the panels, access to be able to install a system and general suitability. You will also be able to obtain a SAP estimation that will give you an idea how much solar power your system could produce and how much that would equate to in yearly tax free tariff payments that you earn for generating clean electricity.
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Grants & Schemes
According to DECC figures a 2.5kWh solar PV system can provide half of homes yearly electricity requirements.
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