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.
- 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?
- Do I need to inform building control that I intend to install a solar PV system?
- Yes, you should speak to building control about your intentions, and they will advise you if you need to take any further action with them. All installers should advise you that you need to contact building control.
- 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.
- What is a Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC)?
- The government created an obligation for electricity suppliers to encourage homeowners to fit specific renewable micro generation systems. For domestic electricity generation, this system has now been superseded with the Feed in Tariff (FIT).
- Is efficiency important when choosing solar panels?
- Often not, the efficiency of any given panel relates to how effectively it can convert the sun's light. Given that the sun's light is free a panel can simply be made larger to offset a lower efficiency. Only when suitable roof area is at a premium does it make sense to choose high efficiency panels, this will maximise the amount of power that can be generated from the limited space.
- Can I heat water with solar PV panels?
- Whilst PV panels do not directly heat water (this is what solar thermal panels do) they do produce electricity that can be used to do anything that you want to - even export it back to the grid for an extra payment. This electricity can be used to heat water if you have an immersion water heater.
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