solarWe all know about renewable energy (or at least hopefully we do) and one of the most affordable of these innovative bits of tech is the solar panel. Common misconceptions of the solar panel is that they are massively expensive to buy and do not offer fantastic returns. Both of these are incorrect as the government actually offer payment schemes to people who are generating their own power. Not only do they offer payment schemes whether you use the energy or not….they also will take your excess power from you and pay you for what they take!

So, are solar panels hugely expensive? No. They actually offer decent returns of up to £1000 p/a weather permitting (savings & government scheme inclusive) and usually range from £4000 - £6000 for a standard 4kW domestic system. So within 5 years or so they will have paid for themselves. Grants used to be offered from the government, but they were terminated due to the amount of money people were generating from having these solar panels. That’s how cost effective they can be…so if you’re contacting a renewable energy company, make sure you ask what returns you can get from your investment!

The standard price the government will pay you for the energy you generate is set at 13.99p/kWh, (providing certain criteria are met, if not that drops to 7.1p/kWh). If you are applying for solar thermal panels (i.e to heat your water not to generate electricity) then there is a scheme that offers an installation voucher of £300, depending on whether you and your home meet certain criteria. The amount paid to you for energy passed back to the grid is set at 4.5p/kWh. These rates are fixed for 20 years from registration (allowing for increase due to inflation).

In a commercial sense, solar panels are definitely something that can offer LARGE savings. Take an agricultural farm for example – on average a farmer will spend over £10000 p/a on energy bills. Installations up to several MegaWatts (several thousand kW- roughly about as much energy per hour to power 1000 average homes..) are available to commercial customers and if you think that you could receive hundreds of pounds from a 4kW system, well times that by 500 and you would be somewhere close for a large scale commercial application. Not only that, but if you are thinking of installing some solar thermal panelling to heat your industrial buildings or agricultural chicken houses etc. then providing the installation is lower than 200kWth (thermal kW per hour), the government will pay you 8.9p/kWth regardless of whether you are using this energy or not!

So to sum up this job lot of solar advice, if you are thinking about solar panelling in a domestic or commercial environment – talk to your local renewable energy company and ask how much in total you would initially spend, but also how much you would save long term. It is strongly advised, if you are considering it, that you take the bull by the horns and get involved. For more information please visit Think Renewables Energy.


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