You may be wondering of there are any government solar panel grants that can help you with the cost of buying and installing panels on your home. We will cover government solar funding in this article.
Up until April 2010 there where sizeable grants available if you wanted to invest in renewable technology. Since then direct funding for solar panels has been replaced by the Ofgem managed feed in tariffs or FIT's. Rather than paying you a grant toward the cost this tariff instead pays you for the electricity that you generate.
The way the system works is that you are paid for every kilowatt of electricity you generate under the microgeneration scheme. To qualify you need to use microgeneration certification scheme registered installers and the appropriately certified panels. This will enable you to apply and qualify for the feed in tariff. Once this is in place the actual payments will come from your current energy supplier, this is the electricity company that you are currently getting your electricity from.
Whilst you do not currently get any help with the initial costs of installing the solar panels the tariff more than makes up for this. A typical well positioned home installation is expected to pay for itself within 12 years. This means that after the 12 years the estimated £900 a year is yours tax free. This payment is guaranteed for 25 years as this is the minimum length of time the government has committed to running the FIT tariff.
If you can afford the initial set up costs this is currently a really good investment. However not everyone has the thousands of pounds it can cost to get solar PV installed on their homes. This is why a few companies have set up a scheme whereby you can have the solar panels for free.
This is not an altruistic as it initially sounds, although they will supply, install and maintain the panels for 25 years the installers are the ones that will be claiming back the lucrative feed in tariff. You benefit by getting the free electricity that the panels generate over their lifetime which is usually 25 plus years.
In order to qualify for the new solar grants which have been known as the feed-in tariff since April 2010 you need to meet certain criteria. To ensure you get the generous new tariff payments you need to install a system that has MCS approved equipment and has been installed by an MCS approved engineer.
The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) list all of the solar products and installers that are certified. Your certified installer will be able to register your installation for you which will then qualify you for the payments.
Rather than being paid a lump sum or a grant you will be paid for every kilowatt of electricity that you produce. These payments are guaranteed for 25 years and the rate per kilowatt will go up every year in line with inflation. This essentially means you will get paid more every year.
As well as getting paid for generating green electricity from a renewable source you also get to use any electricity that you produce. If you produce more power than you can use during the day your energy company will pay you an additional 3 pence per kilowatt that you sell back to them.
On the whole the feed-in tariff is by far much more generous than the old solar panel grant scheme. In fact under the old scheme you would have only been recompensed for a fraction of your overall costs for installing your solar panels. Under the new scheme you will not only recover your initial costs within 7 to 11 years but you will also get paid that again over the remainder of the 25 years as tax free payments.
Under the government's solar panel grant scheme one of the promises was that there would be a yearly indexed link increase in the payments to homeowners. The rate paid for all renewable energy generation has increased.
The rate that will affect most homeowners who have installed solar photovoltaics is the tariff for solar PV installations of less than 4 kilowatts. Prior to April 2011 the rate paid out for every kilowatt of electricity was 41.3 pence, the new rate is now 43.3 pence.
The tariffs that target homeowners is particularly generous and for solar is the highest rate in the scheme. Every year the rate is set to increase. Early adopters will be able to lock in the current high rates and will get paid more over the 2 years that the scheme is guaranteed to run.
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Grants & Schemes
For every kWp of solar panels you install you could be earning up to £500 a year. That means a 3kWp system could earn you up to £1,500 a year for 25 years.
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