If you’ve been watching or reading the news at all in the last three years then you will probably have heard mention of a financial crisis (every now and then). Recently talks of an economic crisis are heating up again, leading many investors to look for good long term projects that are not going to be affected by the troubles in the market. One of these projects which has been grasped is solar energy.
Solar Energy Companies
For the larger investors, the corporate investors, they are looking at solar energy farms. That is, the large installations with enough solar panels to cover 4 football pitches in some cases. The energy that they create is sold on to the National Grid, and that’s enough energy to power a few thousand homes.
Of course this was an even better investment when the feed in tariff was available for large projects such as those. However, with the budget available for that government scheme running low (due to how popular it is) only smaller scale projects qualify for the highest rates now.
Even so, however, UK homes and businesses are sure to need energy in the future, and with conventional energy costing more and more, the use of solar energy is likely to become more popular. Which is why large investments are being made in solar energy companies which can create solar farms.
You don’t have to be a big corporate investor to make use of the opportunities opened up by solar energy though. Indeed, as just mentioned, if you only want solar panels for your home then you’ll be able to make full use of the feed in tariff, making it in to an even better investment.
It might not be that you are actually thinking about solar panels in that way though, as an investment. Perhaps you are more concerned about the environmental benefits that solar power confers. However even if that is your main concern, few people can afford to ignore the financial implications altogether.
When thinking about the finances then, it is going to depend on the sort of solar energy system that you get, including the type of solar panels and the size of them, as to what the specific financial situation is going to be. However in general, taking the feed in tariff in to account as well, it is usually possible to pay off the initial installation costs within 10 years. That is down from around 25 years, which was the situation when the feed in tariff was not in place.
This means that you can usually get an annual return on your investment of around 10% with the feed in tariff, and so well worth considering whether you have environmental concerns or purely financial ones.
Solar Energy UK
If you would like more information on the specifics of the financial investment, and how much you can expect to make in your circumstances, then get in touch with Solar Energy UK for a free consultation. We will also be able to give you a free quote for a solar installation.
If you want to be able to make use of the feed in tariff, a government scheme that pays you money for all of the electricity you produce with solar panels, then you might have to act fast. There are fears that the government budget for the scheme next year has almost all been accounted for by the installations which have been made this year. If they do not increase the amount of money that is available then they may have to scale back considerably what is soon going to be on offer for using solar energy.
Sign of Success
In the world of private business, the more successful something is, the better. Yes you are having to spend more in order to keep up with demand, but you are also receiving more money. This means that not only can you afford to do this, but it is profitable to do so. However, that is not the case when it comes to governments.
When a government program is successful, or rather more successful than they expected it to be, this causes problems. That’s because they don’t have any money coming in, they only have money going out. So if lots of people make use of a scheme, as they are the feed in tariff, it means that they may run out of money for it.
What they are going to do to deal with this problem is unclear. They may simply increase the budget for the scheme. They could do this by reallocating resources from other, perhaps less successful, programs. Or by borrowing or taxing more. It’s likely that if they do choose to increase the budget then this will be paid for through borrowing (that is, future taxes).
Why is the Feed in Tariff So Successful?
In a way it is understandable if the government has been surprised by the increased uptake of solar energy after they introduced the scheme. Not because it doesn’t make solar panels in to a much better long term investment, but because in the past their incentives have not worked so well.
For example, before the feed in tariff there was a national solar grant scheme. In this way you could get around £500 off the cost of a solar installation. This did not lead to lots of people getting solar panels though.
Actually there is a big difference between the two schemes however. In the case of solar grants, it was only reducing the initial cost a little bit. So instead of having to pay £10,000 for a solar installation for instance, they would have to pay £9,500 instead. The number of people who cannot afford to pay ten thousand, but can afford nine and a half thousand is going to be relatively small for obvious reasons.
So now there are no national schemes that help you with the initial cost (some local authorities still offer them however) but in terms of the long term investment the situation is much more favourable. It’s quite common to make £1,000 each year with the feed in tariff, so 2 times more than the one-off solar grant payment.
Solar Energy UK
To qualify for the feed in tariff, and any other government schemes in the future, you will be able to do so by using the MCS accredited solar installers provided by Solar Energy UK. If you’d like a free quote, give us a call on our freephone number.
There are two ways that you can save by using solar energy. The most obvious of course is the way that you save money with solar panels. The other one is the way that you help save the environment from the effects of global warming. Of course you are only going to see noticeable results with the money saving aspect, and it requires lots of people working together to save the environment with renewable energy.
Before the feed in tariff was introduced the only way that you could save money with a solar energy system was through reduced utility bills. This is always going to happen of course, when you have solar panels creating much of your electricity, that you are not going to have to pay for so much of it from conventional suppliers. This is the only natural way of making savings in fact, without government intervention.
In April 2010 though, the UK government introduced the feed in tariff. Through this scheme, anyone who has solar panels installed gets a certain amount paid to them for every unit (kilowatt hour) of electricity that they produce. In effect this means that you are saving even more money, especially as the way it works is that what you are owed is taken off your electricity bill. This means that instead of having to pay your electricity supplier, they should actually end up paying you instead.
To show just how much better financially this situation is, before the feed in tariff was introduced it would normally take around 25 years for savings on energy bills alone to pay off installation costs. Now, it is normal to pay off your installation cost within around 10 years. That means that you have an extra 15 years of actually making money with your solar panels.
Saving the Planet
Of course the whole reason that the government has got involved with incentivising solar energy is that it wants the environmental benefits. These come about due to the fact that, as you are demanding less electricity from a conventional supplier which burns fossil fuels in order to create electricity, there are correspondingly less carbon emissions. That is advantageous for the government as it ha a target to reduce carbon emissions considerably by 2020.
And the reason that carbon emissions are so important is that it is the amount of CO2 that we are releasing in to the atmosphere which is causing global warming. Nobody really knows what the effect of this is going to be, however some serious scientists have made some pretty dire predictions. Usually science is all about having a hypothesis and then testing it, however this is one theory that we do not want to be taken through to its conclusion as the results could be disastrous. Which is why using more solar energy, and other renewable energy sources for our electricity production is essential.
Solar Energy UK
You can help to save the planet, at the same time as saving money on energy costs, by getting a solar installation. If this is something that you would like to learn more about then get in touch with Solar Energy UK for a free quote.
The production of solar energy in the UK has increased recently, due to the introduction of the feed in tariff. What this goes to show is that people are interested in using solar panels, they were only put off in the past by the meagre returns that you get from the savings on your energy bills alone, considering the cost of a solar installation.
Increasing Energy Prices
One of the main reasons that people are interested in using solar power now is that the cost of conventional energy is rapidly increasing. Some of this is probably due to the inflation that we are seeing, however the cost of energy is increasing faster than the rate of inflation.
This means that everyone is interested in being able to get their energy cheaper. And once you have solar panels installed you will be getting solar energy for free of course. The only problem is how much the installation costs.
Even so though, plenty of people can afford the cost of the installation, they just didn’t think that it was worth it before the feed in tariff was introduced. Indeed, before the feed in tariff it would take around 25 years to save enough on your bills to pay off the installation cost. And that is about how long solar panels last for, so you wouldn’t necessarily get any financial benefit at all.
Feed in Tariff
The feed in tariff has put an end to that situation though. As long as you use MCS accredited solar installers to get your solar panels put up, you will qualify for the feed in tariff. If you want a particularly large installation though, 50kW or more, then you do not get nearly as much from the feed in tariff any more.
However the reason that the government made that change is that they wanted more individuals, who only need smaller installations for their individual houses, to be able to make use of the fund available.
Now, instead of taking around 25 years to pay off the cost of the installation, it usually takes around 10 years instead. This leaves you with around 15 years of making a profit with them.
What you also have to take in to account is that the more conventional energy prices rise, the more savings you will be making. So solar energy is effectively inflation proof. Especially as the feed in tariff also tracks the RPI (Retail Price Index) which means that the amount you get from the feed in tariff will keep pace with inflation as well.
On the whole then, the situation with solar energy in the UK is improving. People continue to get solar panels in order to offset energy costs as well as a way to help the environment. This situation is set to improve for other forms of renewable energy as well as the renewable heat incentive is due to come in to effect soon, which will incentivise the use of renewable heating sources such as solar thermal panels.
Solar Energy UK
If you would like a free quote for a solar installation then get in touch with Solar Energy UK today.
A project worth £60m has been embarked upon by Wrexham Council, which intends to install solar panels on 3,000 council houses in the area. They are doing this in order to reduce the energy bills for those involved, while they will pay for the scheme with the money which they receive from the feed in tariff scheme.
Feed in Tariff
The feed in tariff is a government scheme which pays you money for all of the solar energy that you produce with solar panels. At least, that is the way it normally works. What the council intends to to is install the solar panels for free, allowing the residents to benefit from reduced energy bills. They will then receive the payments from the feed in tariff.
This is therefore a good deal for both involved. After all, the main reason that everyone hasn’t got solar panels already is due to the cost of the installation. Anyone who gets them for free will benefit from the corresponding reduction in their energy bills.
What the feed in tariff usually does is make solar power in to a more attractive investment, which is why many people who can afford them are now getting solar panels. And actually it is the same case here, Wrexham Council clearly sees it as a good investment as well, despite the fact that they are going to have to borrow the money to be able to afford to pay for them.
Of course the reason that solar energy is so important, that it has been incentivised, is because of the reduction in carbon emissions that uses it causes. In fact, just this project by Wrexham Council is forecast to lead to a reduction in carbon emissions to the order of 3,000 tonnes of CO2 every year.
Wrexham is not the first Council to decide to make use of the solar energy in this way, although this is one of the largest projects that has been proposed. If more Councils decided to do this then it would go a long way towards helping the government reaching its target for cutting carbon emissions to a large extent by 2020.
And why are carbon emissions so important? This is something that just about everyone knows about by now, the problem of global warming which is caused by greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. If this were allowed to go unchecked then there could be some devastating consequences, including the polar ice caps melting leading to rising sea levels.
However we cannot simply stop using fossil fuels right away, without an alternative being in place, because that would lead to a catastrophic economic collapse, leading to the sort of worldwide suffering that we are trying to avoid. That’s why it’s so important that as many people as possible start using renewable resources like solar energy, so that we can stop burning fossil fuels and exacerbating global warming.
Solar Energy UK
If you are interested in getting a solar installation on your property, get in touch with Solar Energy UK today for a free quote.
While the feed in tariff has made using solar energy in to a much better investment, due to the cost of the initial solar installation it still prices many people out of the market. There is always a search going on, therefore, to make solar panels cheaper so that more people can afford them. One of the main focuses of study in this regard is on nanotechnology.
How Would Nanotechnology Help?
To understand how nanotechnology could help with making solar energy cheaper and more efficient, first you have to know what the problem is with the current way of doing things. What solar cells are made of at the moment, fundamentally, are thin layers of the crystal semiconductor, silicon. Although the cost of manufacturing silicon is coming down, it is still quite expensive.
There are two different layers of this silicon which go in to making up a solar cell, one of which has a negative charge (n-type) and one of which has a positive charge (p-type). When light hits the silicon, it makes electrons switch sides. This upsets the balance between the layers, as electrons have a negative charge, and this is how a current is produced because to correct this balance the electrons have to flow along a wire that leads to your house.
However the problem with this way of doing it is that it isn’t very efficient. For all of the particles of light (photons) that hits the solar cells, only around 1 in 5 of the electrons at most make it across the interface between the layers of the silicon to create electricity. One of the main reasons for this is the relatively small interface between the two halves, there is not enough contact between them.
This is where nanotechnology can help because it is so small, microscopic, that it can drastically improve the surface area of the interface between the two layers. In effect, it will become a lot more “bumpy,” meaning there will be more contact, meaning there will be more opportunities for the electrons to switch sides and create a current.
Dye-based Solar Panels
In fact this technology has already had some limited applications in dye-based solar panels. With these sorts of solar cells, the solar energy is created with titanium dioxide nanoparticles coated with a molecular dye, instead of using silicon. The interface between the layers is much larger in terms of surface area, and there are also advantages in that they can operate in higher temperatures, with lower light levels, and they are more flexible and less delicate.
This form of technology is not fully developed as of yet however, but there is potential for them to be used in many more places. It won’t just be that you have to get solar panels for your home, you’ll be able to get solar cells to put on your rucksack as well!
Solar Energy UK
At the best way to make use of solar power is by using solar panels on your home, and if you would like to find out how much you could save by doing so, and get a free quote for a solar installation, then get in touch with Solar Energy UK today.
The question of how much you can save with solar panels is one that anyone who is considering getting a solar installation is bound to want an answer to. Of course it is not possible to give precise figures, as it depends on the size of the installation, the kind of solar panels you have, and the sort of weather that you get. Although the weather is not that important a factor when it comes to solar energy as solar cells work in all light conditions.
Feed in Tariff
One of the most important things to think about in terms of how much you can save with solar panels is whether you are making use of the feed in tariff or not. You will be able to as long as you get your solar installation from MCS accredited solar installers, such as the ones provided by Solar Energy UK. When the feed in tariff is included in the calculation, the investment becomes far more attractive.
Before the feed in tariff was introduced, in April 2010, the number of people using solar energy in the UK was quite low. The reason for this was that people could simply not justify the expense of getting the solar cells installed considering how much they could expect to save on energy bills. It could take around 25 years just to save enough to pay off the cost of the installation, and the solar panels would probably stop working soon after that.
However, with the feed in tariff in place, many more people have been getting a solar installation. That’s because now, for every unit of energy that is produced, you get paid a certain amount. At the moment, the top amount is 43.3p per kilowatt hour. This translates, for an average installation, to around £1,000 a year.
The result of this is that you should be able to pay off the cost of the installation within around 10 years, instead of 25 years. And after you go beyond that point, you will actually be making money. You also do not have to be concerned about the fact that you may move house before you get to see these returns as, by having solar panels installed, the value of your property will be increased by a significant amount.
It’s not just money that you’ll be saving by using solar energy of course, it is the environment as well. That’s because for all the renewable energy that you’ll be using, that’s energy that does not have to be produced in the traditional way, with fossil fuels. This means that there will be a corresponding reduction of the amount of carbon dioxide which is emitted. In other words you will be reducing your carbon footprint as well.
Solar Energy UK
If you would like to find out more about the sorts of savings that you could expect to make in your situation, and to get a free quote for a solar installation, get in touch with Solar Energy UK today.
If you own an electric car as well as having solar panels on your roof, then the amount of time that it will take to pay off your initial solar installation costs can be cut in half. This is according to a report made by British Gas.
Without an Electric Car
At the moment, if you have solar panels on your roof but you don’t own an electric car, then the money you make is based on the savings on energy bills for the power you use on your home. Also though, you can make use of the feed in tariff.
It is the feed in tariff, introduced in April 2010, which has made solar energy in to a much better investment. With this government scheme, for every unit of energy that you produce with your solar panels, you get a certain amount of money. This is on top of the savings that you naturally make on your energy bills.
With the feed in tariff taken in to consideration, the amount of time that it usually takes to pay off the cost of the installation was cut from an average of around 25 years to an average of around 10 years. This made it a much more attractive investment. If you also use an electric car it gets even better than that though
With an Electric Car
If you use an electric car then you continue to get all of the benefits just mentioned, and more besides. That’s because you’ll also be able to make savings on travelling costs.
The figures from British Gas estimate that for a normal petrol car to travel 1000 miles it costs £150. By using an electric car you are already making huge savings, as then it will only cost just over £37. However, when you are getting most of the power for that from your solar panels, the cost is reduced to just over £5!
If it is assumed that the average car user travels around 12,000 miles in a year, that reduces the fuel costs from nearly £2,000 to just £65. When you take in to account the feed in tariff as well, this means that you should be able to pay off the solar installation costs in less than 5 years, rather than around 10 years. This should give you around 20 years of actually making money with solar energy.
Even if you do not have an electric car right now though, getting solar panels for your home should still be financially beneficial. It is going to allow you to make savings on your energy bills, and with the cost of conventional energy continuing to rise, those savings are set to increase. The feed in tariff rates also track inflation so the amount you get you receive will retain its purchasing power.
And should you get an electric car in the future, that will simply help your finances and the planet even more.
Solar Energy UK
If you would like a free quote for a solar installation, get in touch with Solar Energy UK today.
You may, or may not have heard that a solar energy company in the USA, Solyndra, touted by President Obama as a leading light in the industry, filed for bankruptcy recently. This has led some commentators to suggest that the solar power field is doomed to failure. Actually though it shows just the opposite, that solar panels are getting cheaper, something that is also true here in the UK.
The reason that solar panels used to be so much more expensive was because silicon was so expensive. There were actually only seven factories in the world which were able to make silicon which was fit for solar panels, and this small supply meant that the prices were very high.
This led lots of solar companies to try to come up with a way to make solar panels without having to use silicon. That is, some cheaper material so that they could bring costs down. That is what Solyndra was doing, making solar panels out of something other than silicon. Where they got in to trouble was when silicon suddenly became a lot cheaper, and what they were using was more expensive, so they go priced out of the market.
So while this was bad for Solyndra it was caused by good news for everyone else, the fact that solar panels can now be produced much less expensively. This is naturally going to lead to increased demand, meaning that more innovations can be funded and the costs should come down even more.
Solar Energy Prospects
In short then, if you have heard about the fall of Solyndra and you were worried that this was a sign that solar panels are not actually that great an investment, there’s no need to be concerned. This is actually a sign that solar energy is becoming cheaper, and more popular.
This is something that is happening all over the world, in fact in the UK we are still somewhat behind. While solar panels have been installed on the roof of one car manufacturer here, in Europe there are plans from car manufacturers to use solar power and wind turbines for many of their factories.
However Europe is a bit further along the line than we are in the UK, but we are starting to catch up. The feed in tariff scheme has been a considerable help, as it has made solar energy in to a better investment. This has led to a vastly increased uptake of solar panels.
The more people who get solar panels for their home, and the more companies that get them for their business, the larger the supply will grow to take care of this and the more the costs are going to come down. This, of course, will lead to more demand and the cycle will continue.
Solar Energy UK
If you would like to get solar panels for your home, you can get a free quote by contacting Solar Energy UK. If you decide to use the MCS accredited solar installers for your installation then you will qualify for the lucrative feed in tariff.
There’s really no need to understand how solar energy is created by solar panels for you to get a solar installation, however it can help. Especially if you are under the misconception that they only work in particularly warm or sunny conditions. This article will therefore give a brief overview on how solar panels work.
To understand how solar cells create electricity it is first understand something about what electricity is. To put it simply, electricity is the flow of electrons through a substance. Only certain substances have the properties which allow this to happen, which we call conductive materials. Metals are a good example of this sort of material for example.
However there is also something called a semi-conductor. One of the properties of semiconductors is that when light hits them, it causes electrons to move in them. It should come as no surprise then that solar cells are made of semiconductors, usually silicon. Note, that heat is not involved, and that it does not require strong light to work.
This is not the end of the story though. You cannot simply connect a wire to a piece of silicon and expect for electricity to be generated. Solar cells have to be set up in a very specific way in order for electricity to be created (which is the flow of electrons, not just the movement of them).
For solar energy to be produced then, it’s necessary to direct the movement of the electrons. In order to achieve this, solar cells come in two halves. One of the halves has got a negative charge (n-type), while the other one has a positive charge (p-type). When light hits the silicon and electrons move, they switch sides. This causes an imbalance to be created.
Now that is an excellent position to be in as nature hates imbalances and will correct them in the easiest way possible. What is provided in order to correct this situation is a wire which leads to the house. The electrons therefore flow along the wire, which means that you get electricity in your home.
That is the basic way that solar energy is created then. There are different sorts of solar panels though, which usually have to do with the form that the silicon comes in. If there are a multitude of silicon crystals which have all been grown together, then that’s a polycrystalline solar panel. They tend to be slightly less efficient but also slightly less expensive.
Then you have monocrystalline solar panels, which have been cut to size from a single silicon crystal. They are a bit more efficient and a bit more expensive. There used to be more of a difference between these two types of solar panels however with technology improving, they are now very similar.
Solar Energy UK
If you are interested in getting a solar installation, then contact Solar Energy UK to find out more and to get a free quote. If you decide to use us for your solar installation you will also be eligible to take advantage of the feed in tariff, which pays you for all of the solar power you create with your solar panels.