Fri, 9 Mar 2011 13:39:00 GMT
I get emails more or less daily from people with all sorts of questions about solar. Sometimes I don't know the answer so I have to dig around to try and find it and this often turns up some shocking facts. One I turned up the other day was about how a typical household energy bill is broken down, keep reading as you are going to be amazed.
An article over at Solar Power Portal attempted to break down the cost of your bill to show where the money goes. The interesting part is what they, the energy companies, call environmental costs which cover green technologies such as solar. Now what has been happening is that the big 6 energy companies use this figure as an excuse to explain away high energy bills.
The public of course assume means that it is renewable technologies that is costing them money and pushing up their bills. The truth is that most of these costs are made up of Nuclear Decommissioning, the cost of shutting down the power station, decontaminating the land and safely storing the nuclear waste. The actual cost of this is estimated to be about £266 of a typical UK household energy bill.
To get an idea of the overall costs the current bill is estimated to be around £72 Billion. It is bill payers that are paying for this, why is it never explained to us but instead forced onto struggling families?.
As if that isn't bad enough the cost of gas is going to rise year on year, we generate up to half of all our electrical energy by burning gas. As it gets more difficult to secure gas and coal supplies the price will spiral. We buy in a lot of our gas and coal from abroad, we've used up most of our North sea oil so how are we going to heat and power our homes?.
The solution is obvious, although the answer seems to be lost on successive governments. We have the technology and know how to generate energy from clean, renewable sources such as solar. These safe technologies mean that we do not have to depend on other countries for our power and over the long term costs less. When a solar panel comes to the end of it's life (25 - 45 years) it is recycled. In fact there are companies that will take away old solar panels for free and extract the valuable materials from the panels to reuse again.
We can each save ourselves money and use less energy by ensuring we have efficient and well insulated home and use energy efficient appliances. We can build homes that only cost £25 a year to heat because they are well designed and insulated, these homes can be built at the same cost of standard homes so the buyer doesn't have to pay more. In Europe they have built 30,000 of these types of home that are built to PassivHaus (passive house) standards.
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