Fri, 27 Jan 2011 20:00:00 GMT
There has been a lot in the new recently about the solar tariffs and a lot of confusion about what is going. This lead me to thinking about how people perceive solar and what they really think the free solar deal is? Find out why this offer exists and what it means.
I got into green energy over 20 years ago with the naive intention of thinking green technologies such as solar would save the world. Renewable technologies can play their part but are not going to become popular whilst there is still cheap coal or oil in the ground. Eventually that coal and oil that took millions of years to deposit is going to run out, as it does these fossil fuels are going to get more and more expensive.
Solar electric panels do not rely on a finite resource, they turn the light from the sun into electrical energy. They make no noise, release no emissions, need little maintenance or attention and with today's modern panels they work well in our UK climate and can last for 40+ years. Having solar panels installed means that you are less reliant on your energy company, in fact a free system provides an average of 37% of a typical homes energy needs. You can just get the panels fitted and they will happily generate free electricity for years without the homeowner having to do anything.
To clear up a common misconception, the free solar panels are the same as the ones that you buy. They are not cheaper versions or less efficient versions of the pay for panels. The only difference between free and paid is how they are financed.
In the UK there is a government FIT scheme to encourage the use of solar. Essentially the energy companies are charged a premium for the clean energy generated by solar electric panels, this premium is paid to the owner of the panels through the FIT scheme.
Solar installation companies borrow money to purchase a system in order to install it for free on people's homes. Once a system is installed the company pays back the loan from the FIT money paid by the energy companies. This enables the householder to have the panels for free and get to use the electricity that the panels generate.
Some people choose to buy their own system either by borrowing the money or from other funds such as savings. In this case it is the homeowner who gets the FIT payments from their energy company which then covers the cost of the system. Many homeowners have chosen the pay for route as they can cut their bills and earn some extra profit over the 25 years the scheme pays out for.
If you apply for free solar make sure that your installation is going to be completely free and there are no surprise extras. A good installer will be happy to answer your questions. A Shade Greener have the right idea by providing a home visitor who will visit you before you sign the contract so that you can ask any questions.
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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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