According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) the average UK spend on electricity has almost doubled between 200 and 2010. Scottish Power has just announced another 10 percent increase in the price of electricity. The six main suppliers in the UK; British Gas, EDF, E.on, Npower, Scottish Power and Scottish and Southern Electric always follow each others prices. This means 99 percent of us in the UK are about to get even higher electricity bills.
One thing that you can be sure of is that your electricity bills will continue to rise year on year. The big 6 always use the excuse that the wholesale price has gone up so that they have to pass on the prices to customers. They really tried to hold back the price rise and protect their customers for escalating bills but they just couldn't hold back the price increases any longer. Yet when the wholesale price falls there is always an excuse not to reflect the change in their customer's bills. There is always another excuse, why don't they just come clean with the real reason; more profits for the shareholders.
The reason the cost of electricity will keep on going up is because most of the electricity produced in the UK and indeed the world is derived from fossil fuels. We burn coal, gas and oil to generate electricity. Fossil fuels by their nature are a scarce resource and when they run out they cannot be replenished. This means that as fossil fuel become scarcer and more expensive to dig out of the ground the cost of our electricity will rise.
In the UK we are very dependant on fossil fuels from unstable parts of the world. Someone in the Middle East only has to sneeze and the price of oil skyrockets. The fact is that eventually more and more of your income will go on fuel bills which means you will have less disposable income to spend on other things.
The use of photovoltaic systems will help to cushion you from the increases in the cost of power over the next few decades. Solar PV, whilst it cannot completely replace the need to buy in electricity it can certainly make a big difference. Once installed a solar photovoltaic system could continue to produce electricity for 40 years or more. That means reduced electricity bills for a long time to come.
The biggest reason for investing in solar right now is the feed-in tariff. The tariff pays green energy producers such as householders with solar for all of the green electricity they produce. The reason this tariff is so great is that it pays you regardless of whether you use the electricity you produce yourself or not. It means you get paid for generating the power and you also get to use the electricity yourself.
The tariff is what has made solar economically viable in the UK. If you installed the largest photovoltaic system on your roof under the scheme you could earn a tax free annual payment of over £1,400. You will get this payment for 25 years and it will increase every year in line with inflation. This guaranteed payment alone will more than cover the cost of buying a solar panel system.
The amount of money that you save on your electricity bill is going to vary depending on how much electricity you use during the day and how much electricity your panels are producing. Figures vary but you can expect to save up to half on your electricity bills.
As the cost of electricity rises the amount you will save on your bill will also increase. The cost of electricity is expected to increase considerably as it has already proven year on year. Having solar fitted is a great way to cushion you against the rising cost of electricity.
In addition to earning the tax free Fit payments and the savings on your electricity bills you will also get paid for all of your surplus electricity that you sell back to the grid. The amount that you get paid for this also increases every year under the government scheme.
For most people the electricity company will assume that you sell back half of all the electricity that you generate unless you have had an export meter installed. At the moment the amount that you get paid for selling your surplus electricity is very low, a fraction over 3 pence which is about 10 pence less than what you pay for it. Not really fair but that's the way it is.
If you have travelled around any middle class area or your town or city you will have noticed more and more houses having solar installed. Some will be doing this for environmental reasons but for the majority it will be purely a financial decision. The reason that are getting solar panels installed on their roofs is because they can stand to more than double their original investment over 25 years.
As a very rough rule of thumb at today's current solar panel prices you can expect to earn back nearly 3 times the original cost of the panels.
The cost of solar is falling all the time, in the last 3 years alone the cost has fallen by about a third due to the high demand in part generated by the government's solar panel grants. Over the next few years the cost will continue to fall and it is expected to reach a point where solar panels will be cost effective without any type of grant.
Whilst the government scheme is guaranteed for 25 years they may not be as generous with the tariff payments in the future. The sooner that you install solar means that you will be able to lock in the higher early adopter rates now which will be guaranteed for 25 years. Leave it too long and you may miss the higher rates. In fact the government plan on reviewing the rates again in 2012 and many people believe that due to the popularity of solar they may cut the rates as they will not need to encourage people as much.
If you can afford to buy your own panels then that is by far the best option especially with the grants available. The government set the amount that they pay out to people using solar intentionally high at the start of the scheme to cover the cost of anyone wanting to take out a loan to buy solar. You can find out how much a system would cost for your home by completing the solar quote form.
If you cannot afford to buy your own system or you do not want to make the investment then a free system is your best option. There are several companies offering free solar and you can find out if you qualify by completing the free solar enquiry form.
Under the feed in tariff scheme you will get paid from your energy supplier. The energy supplier is then passing on this cost to its customers. So anyone not installing solar is going to lose out over the next 25 years which is another good reason to go green.
Solar turns the suns energy into electricity. It doesn't make any noise and it has no moving parts so needs almost no maintenance over its lifetime. Unlike other renewable technologies it is a practical way to generate green electricity without any additional planning being required.
When solar panels generate electricity they do not produce any carbon, they do not generate any pollution or noise and best of all because they use the suns energy unlike fossil fuels like coal and, gas and oil will last for millions of years.
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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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