The government has confirmed today that the feed in tariff is to be cut by around 50% in December. The only amendment made from the leaked document cited in our previous post is that this is going to happen from the 12th instead of the 8th December. If you are going to be able to make use of the full feed in tariff rates, therefore, fast solar panel installations are going to be necessary. With a 14 day installation from Solar Energies UK you still have time to do that, so get in touch on our freephone number for a free quote.
Feed In Tariff Reduced
The top rate for the feed in tariff, which is currently at just over 43p for installations up to 50kW, is to be cut to 21p. While a reduction was anticipated, it was expected that this would come in April next year, and it would not be so severe. The government has cited a number of reasons for this reduction, including the cost of solar installations coming down and the price of conventional electricity going up. This, they state, means that the returns on the feed in tariff at its current rate is unsustainable.
The reason that they have had to reduce the rate is really down to the fact that they are running out of money in the budget for it. That is why, in February, the declared that the rate for larger solar arrays would be reduced significantly from August 1st this year. However it turns out that this was not enough, since using solar energy became such an attractive proposition that their budget could no longer handle the increased demand.
In fact, every other country in Europe which has introduced a feed in tariff has already had to cut the rates at which it is offered due to increased demand, so it should not have come as too much of a surprise. However this is not the only change that is due to come in to effect, you are also going to have to meet certain energy efficiency standards in order to qualify for the new top rate.
This means your property is going to have to get an Energy Performance Certificate of at least level C. The rating you get is going to be based on the amount of energy that your home uses every year, and so how much carbon dioxide it causes to be emitted. If you haven’t already had work done to your property to make it more energy efficient, then some work will probably be necessary in order for you to get a level C.
What the Changes Mean
At the feed in tariff’s current rate, which you can still get with fast solar panel installations, it normally takes around 10 years to pay off your installation costs. However with the new rate it is more likely to take 18 years. This should still allow you at least 7 years of profiting from your solar panels, but clearly it is not as good as having 15 years. You will also have to take in to account the cost of any work needed to get your Energy Performance Certificate of course, although making your home more efficient should also save you money.
Solar Energies UK
If you are thinking about utilizing solar energy for your home, it’s going to be necessary to get fast solar panel installations. You can get one in 14 days from Solar Energies UK, so there is still time. To get a free quote, get in touch on our freephone number.
With conventional energy prices continuing to rise, to some extent due to inflation and also, possibly, because fossil fuels are starting to run out, lots of people are starting to ask what our energy production is going to look like in the future. In particular, is solar energy going to be able to step up and take care of all our energy needs?
It is certainly the case that we cannot rely on fossil fuels for our energy forever. Even if global warming wasn’t a problem, and of course most scientists agree that it is and one that we have to tackle urgently. Even if that were not the case though, we would still need energy alternatives because as non-renewable sources of energy, fossil fuels are going to run out one day.
That is not going to be for quite a long time, but actually the time when they run out is not when the problems are going to start. The world economy is not doing very well right now, but ideally there should be a constant growth. When that is happening we need more and more energy each year to be able to keep up with it. When we are going to have big problems with fossil fuels, therefore, is when we reach Peak Oil, which is the point at which we are no longer able to extract more oil this year than we were last year. When that hits globally, unless we have another form of energy to take up the slack, further economic growth is going to be impossible.
The good news is that there are all sorts of forms of renewable energy which have been developed, from solar energy to wind energy. The bad news is that, at present, they make up only a very small percentage of the amount of energy that is used worldwide. So is it ever going to get to a stage when renewable energy will be able to take over completely, and what part will solar panels have to play in that?
The most precise answer that can be given to these questions of course is that nobody knows. However with the current state of the technology, it is not very realistic that solar energy, or any other renewable energy source on its own or in combination with others, is going to be able to meet the level of output that oil and other fossil fuels can.
However, that is not to say that technology cannot be improved. In actual fact, the field of solar energy has many research projects going on all around the world, with scientists trying to find ways to improve the technology. How to make it more efficient, more versatile so that it can be used in even more places, and ways to make it more affordable so that everyone can use it.
Solar Energy UK
The only way that it’s going to be possible for advances to be made, however, is if lots of people get involved right now by purchasing solar panels in their current state. With the feed in tariff offered by the government they are also a much better financial investment than before, which has helped increase their uptake.
If you are interested in getting a solar installation, get in touch with Solar Energy UK on our freephone number for a free quote.
There are plenty of reasons why it is a good idea to get solar panels installed on your roof. For one thing, it means that your energy bills will be reduced and with conventional energy prices always on the rise that could be a much needed relief. For another, we need to stop global warming from coming in to full effect meaning that we need to stop burning so many fossil fuels. And more people using solar energy is one way to do that. The reason you should do this as soon as possible though, if you can, is that the feed in tariff rate is probably going to be cut considerably in the near future.
The Feed in Tariff
If you haven’t heard of the feed in tariff before, it’s very simple. It’s a government scheme whereby you get paid for each unit of energy that your solar panels produce. Which means that you get paid for the solar energy created, whether you use it or not.
If you do use it then you will be making the corresponding savings on your energy bills of course. And if you don’t use it, then it can be exported on to the National Grid and you will be paid extra for that. In this way then you are going to be making more money than if you had to rely on the savings you make on energy bills alone.
In fact, when that was the situation, before the feed in tariff was introduced in April 2010, not many people were getting solar panels installed. That’s because it would take around 25 years just to make enough savings to pay off the costs of the installation. Overall then, you wouldn’t be saving any money. With the feed in tariff though it generally only takes around 10 years to pay off the installation costs, after which you should have at least 15 years of making significant savings in real terms. In fact you will actively be making money with your solar energy.
There is a problem with the feed in tariff though, at least for the government. It is too successful. They did not anticipate so many people wanting to get solar panels after they introduced the feed in tariff. The consequence is that they are running out of money on the budget for it so a drastic reduction in the rates is expected soon.
There is set to be a review in April 2012, however some fear the change is going to have to be made even before then. Once you are on a certain rate, however, that rate is fixed for the next 25 years. In fact the only reason it is going to change is that it will go up in order to keep up with the rate of inflation.
Solar Energy UK
If you are interested in being able to make full use of the feed in tariff before the rates are cut, get in touch with Solar Energy UK to get a free quote for a solar installation.
If you’re interested in getting solar thermal panels for a hot water system for your home, one of the decisions you’re going to have to make is whether you want to get evacuated-tube solar thermal panels, or flat-panels. There are a few thing that you have to consider in this regard, but on the whole the evacuated-tubes are going to be better.
One of the most important factors when it comes to which kind of solar collector is better is efficiency. That is, how much of the solar energy collected actually gets converted to useful heat energy for your water. And in that, the evacuated-tubes win.
The reason is that it is simply a better design. With a flat-panel you have the collector plate running across the bottom and transferring the heat up to the water that is running through it. With the evacuated-tubes though, the collector plate is running all the way around the inside of the tubes. This gives it a larger surface area, so there is more heating opportunity. Also, it means that whatever angle the sun is shining at, there are going to be portions of the collector plate which are getting the full effect. With flat-panels, at certain angles there are going to be parts of the collector plate which are in shade.
The “evacuated” part of the tube also helps with efficiency because it prevents the heat captured from escaping, and it also stops the cold weather from decreasing the level of heat within the tubes.
It also tends to be that using evacuated-tubes is the more reliable method of collecting solar energy to heat the water for your home. Really though this comes down to whether it is a direct or indirect system, it’s just that the indirect system tends to be used more with the evacuated-tubes. The reason that is better is that the water is not going to the panels directly, which has a couple of advantages.
First of all it means that you are not going to get any deposits from the water building up over time and causing blockages down the line. Instead, a heat-transfer substance is used, which just circulates around the panel, heating and cooling, transferring the heat to the water. This is also a better way of doing it because it means that if the system stagnates for any reason, you are not going to have the trouble of trying to get the water out of your solar panels.
The only aspect where the flat-panels are better is in terms of cost. They don’t cost as much as evacuated-tubes, so if your budget is tight then it is worth considering them then. They are certainly not a bad option, they are simply not as good at utilizing solar energy as the evacuated-tubes are.
Solar Energy UK
If you would like more information about solar thermal systems, or a free quote for a solar installation, get in touch with Solar Energy UK on our freephone number.
The way that a solar installation is usually described is that you have solar panels installed on your roof, and they provide you with the electricity which you use in your house. Sometimes a little more detail is given on how light from the sun is used to create electricity, but it’s rare that you’ll hear very much more about the electricity once it has left the solar panels. However that is really only the start of the process, you need a solar inverter as well to make use of solar energy systems.
There are a couple of key functions which solar inverters perform. First and foremost they convert the DC electricity which comes from the solar panels in to AC, which is what can be used through the mains to power your appliances. That is not all they do though, they also regulate the amount of power that is coming from the solar panels, making sure that you are getting the most from the solar energy provided. Getting a good solar inverter is therefore very important.
One of the main features that you are going to want to look at when considering a solar inverter is how efficient they are. That is going to tell you how much energy is lost when converting from DC to AC. With the good ones, the efficiency is going to be in the high 90s, meaning that you are only losing a few percent of energy.
In terms of the types of inverters to look for, that is which will provide the best efficiency, first of all you should think about the manufacturer. It’s important to use a trusted manufacturer as you’re going to want an inverter which will last a long time and which is well made as well as efficient, like the SMA Sunny Boys. When it comes to how they are made, two of the main aspects to look out for is whether they use a transformer or not, and whether they have a single-phase or three-phase design.
In both cases this is about how the direct current (DC) is translated in to alternating current (AC). It gets very complicated so there isn’t space to go in to it all here, but suffice it to say that those inverters which do not use transformers and have three-phase designs are going to be the most efficient.
Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT)
As mentioned, inverters are not just there to convert DC to AC, they also make sure that your solar panels are delivering their maximum yield. That is where maximum power point tracking (MPPT) technology comes in. This is a way that the inverters monitor things like light level, shading on the solar panels and the temperatures that they are operating at in order to make real-time adjustments to the load to ensure that you are always getting the best power harvest.
Solar Energy UK
If you would like to learn more about solar inverters or any other aspect of solar energy, get in touch with Solar Energy UK on our freephone number. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will be happy to help.
There are two main ways in which you can utilize solar energy. Either to create electricity for your home or to provide your home with hot water. This can be done with PV solar panels and solar thermal panels respectively. Each has their advantages.
PV Solar Panels
For the most versatility, the PV solar panels will be the best. The electricity which they produce can be used to power all of the electrical appliances in your home. You are still going to need to use conventional energy sometimes, in all likelihood, when you have used up all of the solar energy your solar panels have produced to date. However there are also going to be times when you have a surplus of electricity, and then you can make more money on that.
The way this works is that with the feed in tariff, when you have produced more electricity than you need, the surplus is exported on to the National Grid. At present you then get paid 3p per unit of electricity that you export. That is not the only way that you make money with the feed in tariff though, in fact you will be making money on each unit of electricity you produce, whether you use it yourself or not.
That’s because the feed in tariff is a government scheme which has been introduced in order to encourage more people to get solar panels installed on their roof. It does this by making it in to a better investment. To illustrate just how much of a difference it makes, without the feed in tariff it would usually take around 25 years in order to make enough savings on energy bills in order to pay off the amount you spent on the solar installation. With the feed in tariff though, it usually only takes around 10 years.
Solar Thermal Panels
At the moment there is no such scheme in place as an equivalent to the feed in tariff that applies to the heat energy produced by solar thermal panels. However, there soon will be. Next year the renewable heat incentive will be applicable to the renewable heat which is generated by things like solar thermal panels as well as heat pumps. It will work in the same way as the feed in tariff, with your being paid for each unit of energy which you produce.
Of course in this situation there will be no possibility of exporting any of the energy that you don’t use, however that is only a relatively minor part of it in any case. The advantages that you get from using solar energy to heat your water are going to be much the same as you get with PV solar power. In that you’ll be reducing your energy bills and also cutting your carbon footprint.
Solar Energy UK
To find out more about the uses for solar energy, and to get a free quote for a solar installation, get in touch with Solar Energy UK on our freephone number.
Government ministers are currently in talks about how much to cut the feed in tariff by. It was always the plan to reduce the amount available by a certain amount, however there are now fears that due to the unprecedented success of the scheme, the rate is going to have to be cut significantly in order to remain on budget. Any reduction will not affect anyone who is already on the higher level however, so if you are interested in getting solar panels for your home, now is certainly the time.
The feed-in tariff was introduced in April 2010 as a way of incentivising installations of solar panels as well as other ways of producing electricity through renewable means. The most popular option did turn out to be solar energy though, with 97% of the funds available being used for solar power. It has also led to a doubling of the number of solar installations since June, with the level now being at 85,000.
Clearly then this is a very successful scheme, in fact it has been too successful. They have a fixed budget available for this, and most of it has already been used up according to reports. This means that while it was always intended to reduce the amount that is offered for each unit of electricity produced by your solar panels, it could be that the amount is slashed by a lot more than was anticipated. There is talk that the top rate could be reduced by 75%, to around 9p per kilowatt hour from around 43p per kilowatt hour.
For the consumer it means that now is definitely the time to get involved with solar energy if you want to make the most amount of money. Remember, once you have your rate fixed it will stay at that rate and any cuts made by the government will not affect you. In fact, you can expect the rate to go up each year as it keeps track with inflation. That means that it will also retain its purchasing power.
Right now the financial benefits that you can get from taking advantage of the feed in tariff by producing solar energy often amount to around £1,000 a year. This means that you should be able to pay off the cost of the solar installation in around 10 years, and after that you will actually be making money with your solar panels.
This is also going to protect you from the rising costs of conventional energy, and with inflation continuing to increase they are likely to keep going up for a long time.
Solar Energy UK
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of having solar panels installed, or you are ready to get a free quote for a solar installation, get in touch with the knowledgeable and friendly advisers at Solar Energy UK for a free quote.
North Kesteven District Council in Lincolnshire has decided to have solar panels installed on two thirds of the council houses in the district. This amounts to 2,400 homes which will soon be getting free solar energy. The aim is not only to reduce energy bills for the tenants but also to generate a source of income for the council.
Rising Energy Bills
For the people who are going to be receiving the solar panels, it’s probably something that can’t come soon enough. The cost of conventional energy has been going up and up in recent times, and that is a trend which looks set to continue. A solar panel installation will not be able to generate all of the electricity that they need, but it is going to mean that they won’t need so much from their normal energy supplier.
Of course in this situation they are also going to have the advantage that they will not have to pay for the solar energy. That is, they don’t have to pay for the solar panels. In fact though, neither do the council. Instead they have worked out a deal with the solar company which is installing the solar modules whereby they do the installation for free but they get to keep the payments from the feed in tariff.
Feed in Tariff
The feed in tariff is a government scheme whereby you get paid for every unit of electricity that your solar panels produce. Usually it is the people who are getting the solar installation which will get the benefit of this, they certainly have first dibs in any case. Sometimes they are willing to give up that right though, as in this case, so that they can get the solar panels for free.
The very fact that some solar companies are willing to do that should be an indication of just how valuable the feed in tariff is. Clearly it is worth more than the initial cost of the solar panels or else the solar companies would not be willing to do it for free. In this case, however, the council have not entirely given up their right to all of the money, they are still going to get £150 a year for each of the properties.
Usually then it’s going to be better for the people who actually get the solar panels installed, who are making use of the solar energy, to keep hold of the feed in tariff. After all, that is why it was introduced, in order to make solar power in to a better investment. On the other hand though if there is no way that you could afford them in the first place, and that is unlikely to ever change, then you’re not losing anything by getting them for free.
Of course there is a very good reason, aside from the financial advantages, to be thinking about using solar energy, which is that it is helping the environment. The more renewable energy that is used, the less fossil fuel has to be burned.
Solar Energy UK
If you are interested in finding out more about the savings you could make with solar panels, or you want to get a solar installation, get in touch with Solar Energy UK for a free quote.
There are two ways that you can save with solar energy. One way is that you save in terms of the energy that you are using, or at least the amount of conventional energy you’re using from the burning of fossil fuels. The other way is that you save money by not having to pay for energy from those sources. In fact, although the ultimate goal is usually to cut carbon footprints, this comes about from the incentive of saving money.
The problem with conventional energy is that it comes from burning fossil fuels. And the main reason that is a problem is that it releases carbon dioxide in to the atmosphere. This leads to global warming since CO2 is a greenhouse gas and contributes to the warming of the Earth.
For this reason then, it’s important to use renewable sources of energy such as solar energy. This comes from solar panels, converting the light from the sun in to electricity. This is a completely clean form of energy, so there are no emissions involved in it. If we are going to stop global warming then its these forms of energy that we are going to have to use more of.
As mentioned, a consequence of this, using solar panels so that you do not need so much energy from conventional sources, is that you make savings on your energy bills. So we’ll now investigate this aspect of making savings with solar energy.
The traditional way to save money with your solar panels is by having to pay less on your energy bills. However, it turns out that with the technology at this stage of development, you don’t make very big savings. At least, not when you compare it with the cost of the solar installation in the first place.
To illustrate this, if you were going by these savings alone then it would normally take you around 25 years in order to save enough to equal the amount that you had to spend on a solar installation. Since solar panels only tend to last about 25 years, this means that you are unlikely to actually make any real savings financially at all.
However that has changed now due to the introduction of the feed in tariff. That’s a government scheme which pays you for each unit of electricity which your solar panels produce. There are different rates depending on the kind and size of installation you have, but at the moment the upper rate is 43.3p per kilowatt hour. At that rate, you will usually be able to make around £1,000 a year with the feed in tariff. Meaning that it usually only takes around 10 years to pay off the installation costs. Then you have 15 years of making money with solar energy.
Solar Energy UK
If you would like a free quote for a solar installation, or you want to know more about the savings that you can expect to make, then get in touch with Solar Energy UK on our freephone number.
Every now and then you will hear about a solar company which is offering to install solar panels on your property for free. It’s not a council or government scheme, it’s a for-profit organisation offering to give you free solar panels. This should immediately be viewed with some suspicion of course.
Why for Free?
The question you should be asking is why they are willing to let you get your solar energy for free. It will cost them money to get the solar panels and do the installation, so where are they going to be getting their money from? What makes it worth it for them?
The answer is the feed in tariff. That is a government scheme which pays you money for all of the solar energy that your solar panels produce. This scheme has been introduced because, on savings on energy bills alone, the returns are not very good on solar panels. So by getting extra money for the energy that is produced, in effect this makes solar panels in to a much better investment.
The companies that are offering their solar installations for free, therefore, are going to demand that you give up the feed in tariff payments in return. It usually takes around 10 years for the payments made on feed in tariffs to pay off installation costs, so after that time the solar company is going to have around 15 years of making profits off your solar panels.
Is it a Good Idea?
So is this a good idea for the people who get the solar panels? Well the truth is that it depends. If you can afford to get a solar installation, even if it requires that you take out a loan, then in the end it’s not going to be a good deal for you. That’s because you could get a better return by using the feed in tariff yourself.
On the other hand though, if there is no way that you could afford a solar installation in the first place then really you have nothing to lose by getting it for free. And you’ll still be making savings on energy bills of course, so you are going to be saving some money by doing that.
On the whole though, if you can get the money together in order to purchase the solar panels yourself and get them installed then that is the best way to go about it. It’s more expensive in the short term, but in the long run you’ll be making a lot more money that way.
Really it just goes to show how impressive the feed in tariff scheme is that there are solar companies which are willing to do the solar installation for free just so that they can make use of it. If you can then, it’s much better if you make use of it yourself.
Solar Energy UK
If you would like to find out how much a solar installation costs and the amount of money you can expect to make with one, get in touch with Solar Energy UK today for a free quote.