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Home » Energy

Solar Panels taking off

Solar panels and Feed in Tariffs, carbon emissions….have you thought about solar panels?

Also called ‘photovolatic’ cells, solar panels are a sound financial investment as well as being great for the environment. The Feed in Tariff scheme has led to a boom in householders installing the panels, as it means that the Government will pay you for the electricity that they generate – even if you use this electricity yourself, rather than exporting it back to the grid! This means that you are paid for generating electricity, and you have lower bills as you are using less energy from the grid. With energy prices currently rising significantly, this is really important.

You’ll have likely heard a lot about renewable energy installations in the media and perhaps also from your friends and family. But it can be hard to know where to start and what’s worth investing in.

However with the news that Coventry Cathedral is hoping to have solar panels installed – well, it’s got to be worth investigating! Solar panels, or other renewable energy installations, will also significantly help to reduce your carbon footprint – often by around 1 tonne a year!

Not everyone can have solar panels installed – it’s only worth it if you have an unshaded roof (shadowing from taller nearby buildings can significantly reduce the solar energy that your panels absorb) and the slope and direction that your roof faces in can make a difference.

For a good overview of what the feed in tariff payments are and how you go about getting solar panels installed on your roof, this advice website has lots of comprehensive information to get you started (it is funded by an energy company, but the information is accurate and seems to be independent!). A more basic but good overview leaflet by the Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change is also available. Still want more information? Try the Energy Saving Trust’s ‘Buyer’s Guide to Solar PV Panels‘.

We’d love to hear from people who have investigated having or have got solar panels on their home – success or unsuccessful stories! It’s really important that renewable energy is embraced by householders, as we seek to reduce our carbon footprint and improve our energy security.

6 Comments »

  • Matt says:

    We had solar PV panels installed on our house roof back in 2006, before the FIT scheme had been introduced.
    If anyone is interested in finding out more about solar panels from someone who has them, then I’m happy to talk to you. To get my contact details and to learn more about our panels, go to my website: http://www.mitrajenkins.org.uk/solar-panels/. I’ve kept a log of the amount of electricity we’ve generated on a monthly basis over this period, which you may find interesting.

  • Ruth Johnson says:

    Just read a rather concerning article on the Energy Saving Trust website regarding some solar panel installers (http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Resources/Energy-saving-news/Renewable-energy2/Renewable-energy-firms-giving-poor-advice)

    Whilst this shouldn’t put anyone off from getting solar panels installed, it does show that choosing a reputable firm who you are confident in is really important. Also getting a range of opinions from different firms, and knowing some of the basics of installation requirements (available through the documents in the blog post) should be a help.

  • sarah evans says:

    When looking for a solar PV installer they should be MCS certified installation company. You can run a installer search on this website: http://www.microgenerationcertification.org/consumer

    Also the impartial EST cash back calculator will help you find out how much you could earn and save through solar electricity panels, wind turbines, hydroelectricity and micro combined heat and power systems using the Feed in Tariff scheme.

    Start by entering the details of your technology and then use the Investment section to see how the cash your installation earns can repay a loan you may take out to cover the upfront costs, and even potentially make you a profit!

    Sarah

    P,S hope everyone at Transition Worcester is well!! I keep checking the website – looks great and seems there is a lot going on!

  • Ruth Johnson says:

    Thanks for the comment Sarah! Great to hear from you. Also thanks re the site for checking the installer is certified, that’s really helpful.

    The EST calculator that Sarah mentions can be found at: http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Generate-your-own-energy/Cashback-Calculator

    We do seem to be busy as always at the moment – which is good of course!

    Cheers,

    Ruth

  • Jon Powell says:

    We are an mcs accredited installer and unfortunately there are plenty of poor installers out there. We have lost jobs where we have recommended to fit a smaller number of modules due to shading issues. Clients have gone with other companies who have said that shading doesn’t matter. I have seen installations completed where roof direction and pitch have been wrong on the intitial site survey.

    I would recommend asking about a company’s history and business plan. There are plenty of companies that I am sure don’t intend to be around in 5 years time.

    Although there are plenty of bad companies out there, there are also plenty of good ones.

    Oh, and if you want a quote on solar pv or energy saving electrical products, http://www.solcarb.co.uk

  • Phyllis says:

    Great article Ruth. I heard that Japanese developed solar panels that uses green ferrite (I’m not technical so I don’t exactly know what that is), essentially making solar panels absorb solar light as well as solar heat. Have you heard of it?

    solar energy

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