The benefits of solar electricity

There are a number of benefits that come with installing a solar PV system, not least of which is being able to earn £560 a year through your bill savings and the Feed-In Tariff.

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  • Reduce your electricity bills: A typical home PV system can produce around 50 percent of the electricity used by an average household in a year. Because this is free to you, you can save around £140 a year on your bills, more as energy prices rise.
  • Cut your carbon footprint: Solar electricity is green, renewable energy and doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) or other pollutants. A typical home PV system could save around 1 tonne of CO2 per year – that’s around 25 tonnes over its lifetime.
  • Money for the electricity you generate: Under the FIT scheme you can be paid a Generation Tariff of 14.90p/kWh, which adds up to a payment of around £370 a year for the average household.
  • Sell electricity back to the Grid: If your system is producing more electricity than you need, or when you can’t use it, you can sell it back to the Grid and make 4.64p/kWh, paying the average home £50 a year. Find out more about the Feed-in-Tariff here.
  • A safe investment: The Government have guaranteed the Feed-In Tariff for 20 years and your tariff rate is fixed when you sign up. It is also index linked so that it retains its value

What to do next?

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FAQs

Can I export the electricity I generate using a solar PV system?
Yes, one of the benefits of the Feed-In Tariff scheme is that you can earn an extra 4.5p per kWh that is generated then exported. All unused electricity will automatically be exported unless you connect batteries to your system. Your electricity company can fit an export meter or they can pay you based on estimated export rates (usually 50%) - sometimes your electricity supplier can authorise installers to fit the export meter instead. Do not confuse the export meter with the gross generation meter, which is fitted as standard on all solar PV installations.
Do I need a three phase electricity supply to install solar PV?
Systems with up to about 10kW peak power don't need more than a single phase electricity supply, however it is very unlikely that your system will exceed 4 kW peak power. Your installer will advise you exactly what is required.
Are solar PV systems a lot cheaper now?
The cost of the PV cells and associated equipment is driven by international supply and demand. Prices of these components have fallen substantially over the past few years as larger manufacturing facilities have been set up in response to strong demand particularly in Germany and Japan. Installation prices have in turn fallen as a result of the reduction in system prices and as the industry has grown. This drop in prices is set to continue.
How are solar PV panels fixed to the roof?
This will depend on the roof, but typically solar PV panels are fixed using rigid stainless steel brackets that are fixed directly to your roof rafters. The brackets hook out from underneath your existing tiles. Tiles or slates should not be drilled to fit the panels, nor should mastic/silicone be used to weatherproof your roof. Solar panels can be fitted to any roof type except thatched roofs.
How long does a solar PV panel installation take?
A solar PV installation normally takes 2-3 days.
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