Just to go to show that you don’t have to live in a sunny climate to make effective use of solar energy, Ipswich is soon to have a great many solar panels installed on roofs. To be more precise, there will be two thousand two hundred solar panels put on the roofs of warehouses in the area. It is due to cost about £1 million.
Is there any particular reason that Ipswich should be having a large investment in solar energy, over other places? Not at all. But Ipswich is no less suited than other places either. Even though we hardly think of a tropical paradise when we think of Ipswich, solar energy will work perfectly well there. Solar panels even work if the sun is behind clouds so they will be in operation all through the day.
Why Solar Panels?
Why is the investment being made in solar panels? That is something which only those companies making the investment can answer, but we can be quite sure of one thing: it is a good financial investment. It is quite possible that the owner of a company wished to be able to “go green” and do their bit for the environment by using environmentally friendly energy sources. However this would be impossible to do unless the financial side made sense as well, otherwise they would not have a business on which to put the solar panels.
What makes solar energy a good investment is largely down to the feed in tariff. This is a way of generating money, rather than just making savings off electricity bills. As already mentioned, solar panels are creating energy all day, and not all of that energy will be used. Whatever is not used for the house (or warehouse) that they are stationed on, that energy is fed in to the national grid, and that energy is paid for by the government through the feed-in tariff. This makes solar energy an attractive proposition financially speaking. You will still have to wait several years until it actually pays off the initial investment amount, however after that point there will be many more years of profit making. Over the course of the feed in tariff, therefore, you should more than double the amount of money you put in as an initial investment.
Buy Solar Panels
So whether you live in Ipswich or not, it may well be an excellent investment for you to buy solar panels, which you can do with Solar Energy UK. We will also install the solar cells and set up everything so that you can start making money, and energy of course!
The only question that you have to answer, really, is whether or not you can afford the initial outlay of money. If that would make your finances too tight, then of course you can’t really afford to do it. If you could make some adjustments so that you could afford it though, then it would be well worth it in the long run.
One indication of how popular solar energy is, is that there has been a huge uptake since the feed in tariff was introduced. This indicates that there were lots of people who would have liked to be involved with solar energy but financially did not think it was viable. Either that, or they saw a good investment opportunity when they saw one.
Influence of the Feed in Tariff
For those not familiar with the feed in tariff, it works like this: for all the energy that you produce with you solar panels and do not use, it is then fed back to the national grid, and you are paid a certain amount of money. This hugely reduces the amount of time it takes to pay the initial investment off, and then you will be getting profits from it. The feed in tariff is guaranteed for twenty five years, at the rate that you first got it. As this rate is probably going to be reduced in the government’s next spending review, now is the best time to get involved.
Understanding now how the feed in tariff works, it is clear to see why it has made solar energy so much more popular. It is now not only the savings you make on your electricity bill that makes solar panels a good investment, but the feed in tariff as well.
Effects of Solar Energy Popularity
The increased popularity of solar energy should be able to see in certain effects, and so it is. One of these, recently announced, is the increased output of solar panels. The company Sharp has invested heavily in the factory they own which is used to produce solar panels. This investment means that they are now able to make far more solar panels to meet the extra demand for them, thanks largely to the feed in tariff. Whereas before they were able to make about 3,000 solar panels every day, they will now be able to make about 6,000, their capacity has doubled.
Of course this increase in production also means that extra employment has been created. To create the extra solar panels, their workforce has been increased to about 1,100 people. This will of course have beneficial effects for the local economy. It can be seen, therefore, that solar energy does not just benefit the people who make use of it, but also has beneficial effects for the larger community.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, are the environmental benefits of solar energy. This is not easy to measure of course, but the process that it works by is quite clear. All of the solar energy which is produced is energy that does not have to be made in any other way. The other way of producing energy, apart from renewable means, is of course non-renewable. They use fossil fuels which not only pollute the local environment but let off carbon dioxide, a main driver behind global warming.
It can be seen, therefore, that not only is solar energy popular, but its popularity is of benefit to the users, to the local economy, and to the environment both local and global. If you would like to have solar panels installed on your roof, or for more information, you can contact Solar Energy UK.
As everyone’s financial situation is different there is no way to answer definitively whether solar energy is a good investment opportunity for you. What it is possible to say, however, is that over a long period of time, solar panels will make you money. Whether the short term losses are worth these long term gains, however, is a question that each individual has to answer for themselves.
Why are Solar Panels Good a Good Investment in the Long Term?
Why is it that we can say that solar panels are a good investment in the long term? There are two reasons.
Save Money on Electricity Bills. The first reasons that solar cells are a financial benefit in the long run are that they are constantly saving you money on your electricity bills. As soon as the solar panels are installed on your roof this will be the case. Of course you also have to weigh this against the cost of installation, which is quite high, so it takes time for the savings on electric bills actually make the solar panels worthwhile. However there is now another way that solar panels generate money.
The Feed in Tariff. If you are just counting on the saving made from electrical bills it can take two decades or more to pay off the initial installation costs. That is why the UK government introduced the feed in tariff last year. The feed in tariff pays you for all the electricity you generate for the national grid. The solar panels will be generating solar energy all the time that the sun is shining on them (even through clouds) and you won’t end up using all of that energy yourself. The electricity you do not use is redirected along electrical wires so that other people can use it. You are then paid for this electricity. The upshot of this is instead of taking two decades to pay off the installation costs, it should take less than ten years. After that, you will actually be making profits from your solar panels. This is why, since the introduction of the feed in tariff, that has been a huge increase in the uptake of solar energy across the country.
Those are the reasons that solar energy makes good sense financially in the long term. But why choose solar energy over other forms of investment?
Environmental Benefits of Solar Energy
Although the feed in tariff makes solar energy more financially viable, that is not the main reason that most people choose to invest in solar energy. In fact, most people would like to be able to take advantage of solar energy, and it is only the costs that stop them. The main reason for this is that solar energy benefits the environment. It is a totally clean and safe form of energy production, and reduces the amount of electricity that has to be created by using polluting fossil fuels.
So whether you are just looking to make some money in the future, or you want to be a part of improving the Earth’s environment as well, solar energy is now a good investment for many people. If you would like to take advantage of this opportunity, contact Solar Energy UK for more information on getting solar panels installed on your roof.
It was recently reported on this blog that a large proportion of the UK had never heard of the feed in tariff. It was speculated that this was probably one of the main reasons that so many people still thought that having solar panels installed was not a financially viable option. At the same time, however, the feed in tariff has been the driving force which has made it so that solar energy has become a lot more popular in this country, directly because it makes solar panels a better financial investment. However there are still some concerns that the feed in tariff is leading to a certain type of investment in solar energy which was not intended. So we’ll now explore the good, the bad, and the ugly of feed in tariffs.
Feed in Tariffs: The Good
Since the introduction of the feed in Tariff in April last year there has been a huge uptake of solar energy. In fact the rate for 2009 was doubled in 2010 within six months of it being brought in. What is the reason behind this? Simply put, the feed in tariff makes your solar panels make you money. How it works is this: solar panels are producing solar energy whenever the sun is shining on them, and while you will use much of this energy in your house, you will not use all of it. With the feed in tariff though, for all of the energy which you do not use, and which is fed back to the national grid, you will be earning money. At the moment the feed in tariff is at the rate that it was introduced at, around 43p per unit of energy. This might not sound very much but it adds up quickly, and significantly cuts down the amount of time that it takes for the solar panels to pay for themselves, and start making you profits.
This government scheme was brought in particularly to assist home owners, but also applies to businesses (and now, local government). But why might that be bad?
Feed in Tariffs: The Bad
The feed in tariff scheme is so good that there have been plenty of companies looking to cash in on it by building solar energy farms. Of course there is nothing particularly wrong with this, the UK could do with some solar energy plants as well. The problem the government has with it, however, is that they will not be able to keep the feed in tariffs at the rates they have them at for very long if companies are installing lots of solar panels at solar energy plants. This means that home owners will end up missing out. There is also a concern that this will lead to the misuse of farmland, which could be being used to grow food, but will be used to produce solar energy instead because of the feed in tariff.
Feed in Tariffs: The Ugly
Solar energy helps to save the Earth’s environment by reducing the amount of energy that has to be produced in less clean ways. Nevertheless, some people still complain that solar panels make houses look ugly, and of course with the feed in tariff there have been even more installations of solar cells, making more houses “ugly”. So perhaps the feed in tariff is making more houses ugly, but it is also helping to keep the Earth beautiful.
And now is a great time for everyone to get involved, especially with the feed in tariff being offered at what will probably be its maximum rate.
One of the main advantages of solar energy over other forms of renewable energy is that it can be used on a variety of scales. From the pocket calculator through to massive solar energy farms. One of the most useful thous is the ability to use solar energy for houses. Of course houses can benefit from solar energy farms as well, but it is also possible to get solar panels specifically for the roofs of houses. Even in the UK, when it is (regrettably) cloudy much of the time, they still work then. In fact just about the only time they do not work is in darkness.
One of the main reasons that people want to use renewable energy, of course, is that it is good for the environment. We know that our children, and our children’s children (and so on) will have to live on this planet, and we want to leave it to them in good condition. We don’t want them to have to live in a vastly polluted environment, suffering the effects of global warming to boot. So to prevent that, we would like to be able to use renewable energy as much as possible.
When renewable energy, such as solar energy, is used, it has a doubly good effect for the environment. Not only does it not create any pollution itself, but it also means that however much is created by renewable means does not have to be created by polluting, non-renewable fuels. The more we use renewable forms of energy, therefore, the less fossil fuels have to be burnt.
However, although most of us would like to use renewable energy to save the environment, if it is not practical financially then we are unable to. Fortunately, then, solar energy has the added advantage of being a sound financial investment as well. Yes, the initial outlay for the installation of solar panels is quite high, but you have to factor that against the money you will save, and make. You will save money, of course, on your energy bills, as much of your energy will come from your own renewable source. With the feed-in tariff, introduced last year by the UK government, you are now also able to make money by using solar panels.
Solar panels are producing electrical energy all the time the Sun is shining on them. This means that you will not always be using all the energy that is being created. While some will be stored in a battery system, soon you will have surplus energy that you are not using. Instead of having this energy wasted, it will instead by siphoned off to the national grid, and for that energy you will be paid a certain amount of money per Watt. This means that when you are using solar energy for houses, you will be paying off the initial expense for installing solar panels sooner than you otherwise would, and once that point has been surpassed you will begin making profits.
It can easily be seen, therefore, that solar energy combines environmental benefits with financial benefits, and it makes complete sense to make use of solar energy for houses.
A survey has recently been done into the level of interest and knowledge home owners have regarding renewable energy. It has shown some interesting results, with the vast majority having at least considered it and yet many not understanding what the benefits of renewable energy are for home owners.
Some Interesting Statistics
Before going into some of the issues thrown up by the survey, here are some of the more interesting statistics:
Only 5% of those asked said they had no interest in renewable energy,
80% said they were definitely in favour of renewable energy,
Only 15% said that they were considering having a renewable energy system installed,
42% of respondents had never heard of the feed-in tariff,
While 60% felt they needed to know more about renewable energy.
Solar Energy Benefits for Home Owners
The main question that arises from this study is probably why, with so much interest in renewable energy (and most of that in solar energy) so few people are actually considering having renewable energy systems installed. The answer can only be that they are not aware of the benefits. Indeed, with nearly half having not even heard of the feed-in tariff, that is not surprising. There is a concern that installation costs are too high and that returns are too low. However, this is probably mostly the view of people who have not looked into the matter very deeply.
While it is true that installation costs are quite high, there are returns to be made. Solar energy systems begin to start paying for themselves immediately through the decreasing electricity bills and from the payments made from the feed-in tariff.
It is unlikely that anyone who has never heard of the feed-in tariff reads this blog, as it is mentioned very frequently here, but for anyone who is not familiar with it, here is a brief explanation. The feed-in tariff is a system whereby money is paid to you by the government for all the energy which you create with a renewable energy system and you feed back into the national grid. This is all done automatically of course, and is guaranteed for twenty five years, and you will start to see profits from it long before that time is over.
Environmental Benefits vs Financial Benefits
With so many people being interested in solar energy, mostly due to the environmental benefits, it can only be the lack of understanding of the financial benefits which are holding them back. Yes, in the short term it is quite expensive, and perhaps prohibitively so for some people. For those who can afford the initial outlay however, it will make a significant financial return. In the meantime of course, there will also be the benefits to the environment of less pollution being created.
If you are reading this blog then you will be one of the few who actually knows the important points about solar energy, and renewable energy in general. Even if you cannot afford to have solar panels installed yourself, please talk to your friends if they might be able to. As you know, this will not only be good for everyone because of the environmental benefits but will be of long term financial benefit to them as well.
The Welsh government is set to invest heavily in solar energy. Solar energy providers are now being given the opportunity to bid for projects which will reach £100 in total. This will include installing solar panels on council houses as well as larger projects. Wrexham council is also getting involved in solar energy, planning to have solar panels put on schools and leisure centres, as well one in three council houses. The aims of these investments are to generate income over the longer term, and also cut pollution.
£100m Over Four Years
The Welsh government’s plans to spend £100 million over a four year period is set to create business for 22 different firms. The work will vary from the large, creating an estimated 5MW of power, to the small, installing solar cells on roofs. This is of course good news for energy production in Wales as solar energy is the most popular form of renewable energy available today. And although initially quite expensive to set up, the savings made through reductions in energy costs will end up saving money.
Wrexham council also intends to save money at the same time as saving the planet from the pollution caused by burning fossil fuels. They estimate that the schemes they are intending to impliment should reduce bills by 40% and make a significant reduction in the amount of carbon dioxide emitted. The amount of money that they expect to make, over 25 years, is over £25 million.
The UK government is already offering a feed-in tariff for all renewable energy produced, which is available to everyone. This means that, whether you live in Wales or not, there is no need to wait for another government scheme, everybody can already take advantage of the feed-in tariff.
The feed-in tariff works by giving you money for all of the energy you produce through renewable means, solar energy included of course, which is subsequently fed back into the national grid. This has been, and continues to be, a very successful scheme. So much so that the government is talking about having to cut back rates at the next spending review in 2012 because there has been such a large uptake. This means that if you are able to have solar panels installed on your roof, and you want to take advantage of the best rate, then the sooner you can have them installed the better. Whatever rate you start at will be guaranteed for 25 years, so you are sure to make money on the investment over time.
Save Money, Save the Earth
The Welsh government is getting involved with saving money and saving the Earth, and you can as well by having solar panels installed on your roof. You will be helping to stave off the effects of global warming and making a sound financial investment for the future at the same time.
Solar energy is an innovative form of renewable energy produced by solar cells. The solar cells are arranged into solar panels which can then be installed onto roofs or joined together into an array to form a solar energy plant. But what exactly are the advantages of solar cells?
What are the Advantages of Solar Cells?
For something to have advantages, it must of course be in comparison to something else. As solar cells produce electrical energy, they can be compared to other forms of electrical energy production. These can be classified into two main groups, renewable energy and non-renewable energy. We will look at each in turn, analysing the advantages of using solar cells.
1) Non-Renewable Energy
Everyone is pretty familiar with the problems of using non-renewable energy by now. Those are, generally, that they pollute the environment and that one day it will run out. When it comes to pollution there are the local, short term effects and global, long term effects. The short term effects include, for instance, the smoke that is produced when burning fossil fuels, which degrades air quality and can have a detrimental effect on land and water sources as well. The long term effects are those caused by global warming, due to the emission of carbon dioxide when these non-renewable energy sources are burned. Neither should be taken lightly. But what about the advantages of using solar cells instead?
Quite simply, once the solar cells have been constructed, their use does not create any more pollution. Since they do not encourage extra energy use, this also means that the energy they produce does not need to be produced by non-renewable energy sources, so that the amount of pollution produced is actually cut.
As for non-renewable energy running out, solar cells have the advantage that they never will. They do have a life span and have to be replaced after several decades of use, but beyond that they will last as long as the Sun is in the sky.
So far however, all of the advantages cited for solar cells could equally well be applied to any other forms of renewable energy. Wind turbines will last as long as there is wind, tidal energy production can continue as long as there are tides and so on. So what are the advantages of solar cells over other forms of renewable energy?
2) Renewable Energy
Solar cells, and the solar panels they are arranged into, are relatively small. They can fit on roofs. They can also be put together for solar energy farms. In fact, smaller solar cells can power calculators and soon a whole host of other portable electronic devices. With the use of spray-on, nano sized solar cells which are in development, they could power just about anything. The main advantage solar cells have over other forms of renewable energy is therefore their versatility.
Wind turbines, tidal energy producers and other forms of renewable energy generally require a lot of work in construction and a lot of space. It is unlikely that a mini wind turbine will ever power a watch, for instance. They are also, for some, an eye-sore whereas solar cells can be integrated into the environment much easier.
Solar cells therefore have many advantages over both traditional, non-renewable forms of energy and more modern, renewable energy forms.
Proposals have recently been presented to Fenland District County for a new solar energy farm. The site for the proposed solar energy plant, 23 acres of farmland at Black Bush Farm, is big enough to be able to deliver power in the amount of 2.7 Mega Watts. This will no doubt provide much of the power for the 460 homes which are to be built nearby, just outside Whittlesey by the parent company of Lark Energy, Larkfleet Homes.
This is only the latest of a series of solar energy farms which have been proposed across the UK, all of which will be able to make use of the feed-in tariff offered by the government. The benefits will of course be that they will cut down on the pollution created by the normal production of electricity by means of fossil fuels. All of these projects are important in helping the country reach the goals of a significant cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020.
Fenland also uses another form of renewable energy already, with 35 wind turbines in use near to the proposed site of the solar energy farm. The solar energy farm will have the added advantages of not creating any noise pollution, and also will not have any detrimental visual effects as there are no overlooking homes in the area. This also means that the construction of the site should not cause problems for anybody.
There are a couple of problems with this sort of solar energy production, though. Concerns have been raised in certain quarters that solar energy farms are not the proper use of farm land. The UK does not produce enough food to feed the whole population, meaning that if there were a disruption in food imports for any reason a major problem could be created. Those who argue in this way usually say that Britain’s farmland should be used for growing food, and that the feed-in tariff encourages the misuse of farmland as a way of creating renewable energy.
As a counter argument to this, however, it could also be pointed out that the UK relies on energy imports as well which means if there were any disruption in that regard, any energy created here would also be hugely beneficial. Not to mention the fact that non-renewable energy will, by definition, not last forever. Therefore the more renewable energy we produce, the better off we are in terms of energy independence. Looking further into the future, we also want to stave off the negative effects of Global Warming, which solar energy also helps to do.
The government is, it seems, taking the concerns of proper land use on board however. In a statement towards the end of last year they made it clear that they wanted the feed-in tariff to be used primarily by households. That is, they are hoping that individuals will be encouraged to have solar panels installed on their roofs more than businesses building solar farms.
In any case, not many would argue that having a few solar energy farms would be a bad thing for Britain, it is just a case of how far it should be taken. For the moment then, new solar energy plants can only be a good thing going into the future of clean energy production. And if all goes well, there will soon be one in Fenland.
Solar power is an important part of the renewable energy field. It can be used on a large scale as well as a small scale for a variety of different purposes. In fact, potentially there is no limit to the purposes to which solar power can be put. Solar energy can be used to power houses with solar panels that are installed on the roof. It can also be used to power multiple houses by way of solar power plants, or objects as small as calculators with small solar cells.
Solar Power for Houses
One of the most useful aspects of solar power is that it can be used for projects both large and small. It is relatively simple to have solar panels installed on individual houses. Why would anyone want that though? There are two main reasons, which will be of varying importance to different people. The first, and in many people’s eyes, most important reason is that it is good for the environment. For every kWh or energy which is produces by way of solar power, a corresponding amount is saved in terms of fossil fuels. This means we are not using up our planetary resources so quickly, and are also not polluting the environment as much. In terms of the long term at least, this is a very important reason for using solar power. Although it may seem as if one house can make a lot of difference in this regard, as long as enough people do it then it will make a big difference.
However it is not all about the long term, because we also have to live and be prosperous in the short term. This translates to monetary concerns. If solar energy led to a loss financially then very few people would be able to afford it, and it would not really be a sustainable technology, even if it’s use leads to a sustainable environment. Another very important aspect of solar energy then is that it is actually profitable financially. That is, it becomes profitable over time, which is the short term in planetary terms but financially is, again, long term. There is an installation cost for solar cells, but then they immediately start saving you money on your energy bill. On top of that, with the government’s feed-in tariff which pays you for energy which is produced and comes back into the national grid, over time having solar panels installed actually becomes profitable.
Therefore solar power fulfils the two requirements of any renewable energy project, it is good for the environment and it is good financially. It is only when these two work together that there is the possibility of success, which there clearly is with solar energy.
This has led to an expansion of the use of solar power in recent times, with solar power plants being built, and people having solar panels installed at an increased rate. The best thing is, individual people and families have a chance to get involved in saving the planet at the same time as saving, and even making, money with solar power.