How do you know when a politician is lying? When they open their mouth. It’s an old joke, and one that we have to hope is not the case this time because when addressing the British Business Embassy on Energy, the Deputy Prime Minister renewed the Coalition Government to green energy.
“Global Energy Revolution”
Reminding the audience that the UK is the 6th largest market for low-carbon products, he assured those listening that the Coalition is “committed to… a clean, green, low carbon economy.”
He recognised the “global energy revolution” occurring right now and claimed that they are “not going to be left behind”.
Of course one of the only reasons to make a speech of this kind is because the actions of the government have evoked fears that it is not actually the case. After all there have been significant reductions in the feed in tariff, making solar energy less attractive as an investment opportunity.
Of course the government are right when they say that the costs of installations have come down and that the feed in tariff still makes solar panel installations a good investment. However, it sends out bad signals. As do reported grumblings from the Treasury about renewable energy.
“Stable Policy Framework” Needed
The CEO of the Renewable Energy Association (REA), Gaynor Hartnell, welcomed the sentiments of Clegg’s speech. However, he also added that the Coalition needed to provide a “clear and stable policy framework” in order to assure that the renewable energy sector continued to grow.
After all, investing in solar energy is a long term commitment, and if businesses or individuals are going to invest, they have to feel that the situation is going to stay much the same. That they are treading on stable ground, in other words. However with the reductions in the feed in tariff recently, many people have been put off, not just because of the lower payouts but because of the uncertainty of it.
It is important to remember, however, that once you have your solar panel installation, any further changes to the policy are not going to affect you. Those who had their solar panels installed when the feed in tariff was at its highest are still getting that higher rate. Indeed, even more than that since it is also linked with inflation, ensuring that your payments retain their buying power.
Still, the whole financial incentives business for solar energy UK production is quite complicated, and can tend to be confusing. This has been confirmed by a recent survey which revealed that many consumers are confused about the incentives available for solar energy and other renewable energy systems. It is no wonder really, with the Treasury appearing to be hostile to any further spending on renewable energy, and the Deputy Prime Minister coming out in its support.
Solar Energies UK
With the costs of a solar panel installation coming down significantly, government incentives for solar energy in the UK are not as important anymore, but the sooner you get your installation the more that is likely to be on offer. If you’d like more information for your specific circumstances, or a free quote, get in touch with Solar Energies UK on our free phone number.
It is not just solar energy from PV panels which are being incentivised by the government, there is also a tariff available for renewable heating systems which you have installed. This applies to things like ground source and air source heat pumps, as well as solar thermal panels. The scheme is called the Renewable Heat Incentive. It has been found that an increasing number of poultry farmers are making use of this by installing renewable heating systems on their property.
Heating for Broiler Sheds
With a reduced need for ventilation, resulting in a drier environment, using renewable heating systems for broiler sheds is very advantageous. With farmers constantly under financial pressure of course, any sort of financial assistance they can get is going to be welcome.
Of course it’s not just broiler sheds which will benefit from a renewable heating system though, any farm (or residential) building could be heated in this way.
When you get a renewable heat system installed by MCS accredited installers, such as those provided by Solar Energies UK, you will automatically qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive.
How the Renewable Heat Incentive Works
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) works in the same way as the feed in tariff does for solar energy produced by solar PV panels. You get paid for every unit of energy which you produce with your renewable energy system.
The amount you get paid will depend on the size of your system.
If you have a system which produces less than 200kWth then you can get a maximum of 8.3p p/kWth. If it can produce 200kWth to 1,000kWth then you can get a maximum of 5.2p p/kWth. When you take in to account the amount of money you are saving on your energy bills, this adds up to significant savings.
Payments are made in quarterly instalments, after your meter has been read to determine how much energy your system has produced.
Solar Thermal Panels
One of the most effective and efficient forms of renewable heat comes from the use of solar thermal panels. These convert solar energy in to heat rather than electricity, the way PV solar panels do. You still keep a boiler, but instead of having to heat cold water, it is taken to the roof first where it is heated by the solar thermal panels and then sent to the boiler for any additional heating. This vastly reduces the amount of energy needed to heat the water for your house.
When it comes to solar energy, UK production is usually focused on the PV solar panels but you can also make impressive savings with the solar thermal panels as well.
Solar Energies UK
Whether you own a farm, another sort of commercial property, or a residential house, having a renewable heating system installed can be just as profitable as a PV solar energy system. If you would like to learn more, or to get a free inspection and quote for your property, please get in touch with Solar Energies UK on our freephone number.
When it comes to solar energy, it’s easy to get caught up in all of the facts and figures and lose sight of the big picture. Of course the financial aspect is important, especially if you are looking to make a sound investment which will make you a good return. That’s not what this article is about though, this takes a look at the world with a wide angle lens and assesses the importance of solar energy (UK based in particular) to the future of the human race on this planet.
The major threat to the environment, which we have been hearing about for some time now, is of course global warming. A consensus of scientists agree that this poses a clear and present danger to the future of the human race. It is caused by the massive amounts of carbon dioxides, and other greenhouse gases, that humans are releasing in to the atmosphere.
The consequences of this are hard to say with any certainty, but there are fears of sea-level rises, crop failures, extreme weather, and other scary apocalyptic outcomes. So, that being the case, why don’t we simply stop emitting so much carbon dioxide?
Well, it is not that simple of course because the carbon emissions come from our producing energy, needed to run the economy. Without the energy, there would be no economy. No economy means mass starvation.
The solution has to be a gradual (although as fast as possible) transition to energy sources which do not emit carbon dioxide. This is where solar energy comes in of course, along with the plethora of other renewable energy sources. What they all have in common is that they utilise natural occurrences (eg. Wind, tides, the heat of the ground and of course light from the Sun) in order to generate either heat or electricity… or both.
Most renewable energy processes require massive set ups, meaning that they have to be undertaken by corporations and governments. That’s where things like PV solar panels, solar thermal panels and heat pumps differ however. They operate on a small enough scale to be affordable, and installable, for private households. This means that it is within the capabilities of many of us to actually make a difference in saving the world (as silly as that might sound).
In 2011 the amount of solar energy produced in the UK increased by around 3% to reach nearly 10%. That is a massive increase, and if it were to continue then it would not be long until much of the country’s energy came from renewable sources. However this is where the financial aspects have to be brought in to play again. The government has reduced the feed in tariff recently, meaning that there are bound to be fewer installations this year.
Solar Energies UK
When it comes to solar energy, UK production is at least not going to shrink any time soon. Every new solar panel installation is a step in the right direction. If you would like more information about solar panel installations, or a free quote, then please get in touch on our freephone number.
Nobody can accuse supermarkets of being inefficient or uneconomical, which is why it’s good news to see that Sainsbury’s has become the UK’s and Europe’s largest producer of solar energy from rooftop solar panels. They have installed around 69,500 solar panels on the roofs of their UK supermarkets, and by so doing cut an estimated 6,800 tonnes of carbon emissions.
There has been a lot of talk about government targets to reduce carbon emissions significantly in the UK by 2020, however that is only going to happen if businesses and individuals get involved as well. Sainsbury’s therefore has its own targets, to cut their carbon emissions 30% in absolute terms and 65% in relative terms of their 2005 level by 2020. And ten years after that to have cut their carbon footprint by 50%.
Solar Panel Installations
Quite a lot of major companies have been having solar panels installed, either at factories or at the headquarters. This is a good indication that they are still financially viable, despite the cut in the feed in tariff rate. After all, an environmentalist individual might decide that it is worth possibly making a loss to get solar panels on their roof. However, a for-profit company could not afford to do that, they must think about the financial implications as well.
Many people believe that corporations do not care about the environment. The truth is though that they will care about what their customers care about. If consumers are more inclined to shop at a supermarket that has good green credentials, then supermarkets will compete for the best green credentials. As a side product, they will also be helping the environment.
Indeed, as CEO of Sainsbury’s Justin King said in a statement, following the news that his company is now the largest operator of rooftop PV solar panels in the UK, it is good for the environment and for business. Whether he happens to care about the environment or not, as CEO he cares about the environment if it complements the business. In this system, the desires of consumers are the most important thing.
However, it still wouldn’t make any sense for them to install so many solar panels if they were not saving money with them. Which actually begs the question, raised by Justin King in his interview, as to why other supermarkets are not making use of their roof space to do the same thing.
Solar Energies UK
As individuals, however, we do not have to wait for large companies or governments to decide to take the plunge in to solar energy UK production, we can do something about it ourselves. Solar panel installations cost a lot less these days than they used to, so it’s well worth looking in to whether it makes sense financially for you.
If you would like to find out more then contact Solar Energies UK on our freephone and we can provide you with free expert advice, an information pack and a free quote as well.
According to a survey by uSwitch.com, many consumers are confused about solar energy when it comes to the feed in tariff. That’s hardly a surprise since the government keeps changing it, meaning calculations have to keep changing. If you would like a detailed evaluation of the practical and financial possibilities of getting a solar panel installation, then feel free to call Solar Energies UK on our freephone number for free advice. We’ll go over the basics here though.
How the Feed in Tariff Works
The idea behind the feed in tariff is to find a financial incentive for people to get solar panel solar installations. It is a government scheme intended to boost solar energy UK production, in order to reduce the amount of carbon which the country is responsible for emitting. This scheme is in operation in a number of other European countries as well.
Before bringing in the feed in tariff there was a fund providing solar grants to people who wanted to get a solar panel installation, but the problem with that was that while it reduced the cost of the installation slightly, it did nothing about the relatively poor financial return you got when the panels were up and running. The feed in tariff is designed to help by providing a continuing boost to the financial return on your investment.
While there is are no centrally funded solar grants anymore then (although the cost of an installation has come down significantly in the last couple of years) with the feed in tariff you are paid for every unit of energy which your solar panels produce. That’s whether you use the energy or not. The energy you don’t end up using is exported back on to the national grid and you get paid extra for that. This rate is linked with inflation so will continue to rise each year as long as inflation is increasing.
Feed in Tariff Reductions
When we talk about the rate of the feed in tariff then, what is meant is the amount that you will be paid for each unit of energy which your solar panels produce. It started off at a maximum rate of about 43p, but at the end of last year was cut in half to just 21p. Recently further to 16p and there is already talk of that being reduced further. The amount of time that the scheme runs for has also been reduced from 25 years to 20 years.
The reason for the reductions is that the scheme has been too successful, it has led to a boom in the solar energy UK market, with the total amount of energy produced in the UK from solar panels increasing by 3% last year. Since the government’s fund is limited, it has to reduce the rate so as to avoid running out of money.
Is it Still Worth It?
Whether it is still worth your getting a solar panel installation or not is going to be dependent on your personal circumstances and the kind of return that you demand. Just because the rate is being reduced, however, does not necessarily mean that solar energy is not worth the investment anymore. The cost of a solar panel installation has been reduced, as noted, so the cost is lower than it used to be. Also, the cost of energy has increased and continues to increase, so the savings will also increase over time. Plus you have the added psychological benefit of knowing that you are helping the environment by cutting carbon emissions (only you can put a value on this, of course).
Solar Energies UK
With the terms of the feed in tariff being changed regularly by the government, it is easy to get confused about it all. We hope this article has helped to explain what is happening somewhat, but if you would like more detailed advice on whether a solar panel installation would be advantageous to you, get in touch with us on our freephone number and we will be happy to give you expert advice for free.
With a further reduction in the feed in tariff at the beginning of this month, fears have grown that solar energy in the UK is no longer going to be a financially viable project. However Mitsubishi, a car manufacturer which already has proven green credentials, have had 196 solar panels installed on the roof of their UK headquarters. This is an indication that even with a lower rate for the feed in tariff, solar panel installations are still profitable.
Solar Panel Finances
While explaining the decision for the solar panel installation, Mitsubishi Motors UK managing director, Lance Bradley, cited a number of factors which apply not just to businesses but to individuals as well. He said that this was a financially sound decision due to the “falling costs of the hardware,” as well as, “increasing energy costs.”
These are trends which have been recognised throughout the industry, and were no doubt large contributors to the solar energy UK boom in 2011, which saw the amount of solar energy which the UK produced increase by around 3% to just under 10%. While the feed in tariff was credited with this expansion, and undoubtedly had a large part in it, it is important to remember that people still had to afford the installation in the first place and there had to be the demand there. Also, the feed in tariff is still in effect, although reduced. One of the aims of the scheme to begin with was to boost the industry as a whole, a kind of push start, just to get the motor of the solar industry going.
Eventually of course the aim is for the solar industry to be profitable without any government assistance. There are two ways that this could happen, either through conventional energy becoming so expensive that being able to get energy for free once you have had the solar panels installed will quickly make the savings worth it. Or else through an improvement in solar panel technology, including more efficient production processes, making them cheap enough to make them profitable sooner. Of course these two factors are not mutually exclusive, and both factors are in play with solar energy production in the UK.
Environmental Benefits of Solar Energy
While the financial aspects of solar energy are important in terms of the practicalities of implementing the technology widely, the reason it is important is not financial of course. Every unit of energy that we consume from conventional energy means corresponds to a certain amount of carbon dioxide released in to the atmosphere (as well as other gases, some of them toxic). This is contributing to the degradation of the environment, and of course according to the theory of global warming it could lead to disastrous results.
Everyone who uses solar energy is therefore helping the world environment and if enough people and businesses do this then eventually we will begin to live in a sustainable way on this planet.
Solar Energies UK
If you would like to get actively involved in helping the environment at the same time as providing yourself with greater security against energy price rises, get in touch with Solar Energies UK on our freephone number to get an information pack and a free quote for a solar panel installation.
With 7,000 solar panels, the 1.65MW solar array on the roof of Promens Packaging plant in Beccles, Suffolk has just created it’s 1 millionth unit of energy. This is an array which produces 1GWh of clean electricity every year, and has accrued to a £50,000 saving for the firm.
Solar Energy for Businesses
This goes to show that it makes a lot of sense financially for businesses as well as private households to utilise solar energy UK production by getting a solar panel installation. The savings are significant, and will of course be even greater if conventional energy prices continue to rise, as they are expected to.
It’s not just the financial side that is beneficial for businesses though, the Engineering Manager of Promens Packaging believes that their move towards solar power has probably increased their customer base. “Our greener credentials certainly impress [customers],” said Adrian Banks.
Indeed, this is an important point regarding ways that ordinary people can continue to help in the fight to protect and preserve our environment. Consumers can give added value to businesses which have shown themselves to be environmentally concerned. If this is done then it gives an incentive for other businesses to also take steps such as getting a solar panel installation.
Even without that driving demand, however, if using solar energy in the UK is going to reduce costs then businesses will be able to undercut competitors by reducing the costs for their products, not having to deal with such high production costs.
This is all good news for the consumer of course, as it will lead to lower prices.
Solar Energy for Your Home
One of the best things about solar energy is that you do not have to wait for some centralised authority, or businesses, to make a change. You can make the decision to make the change for yourself. If you are environmentally concerned and don’t have to worry too much about budgeting then you might like to get a solar installation no matter what the financial implications are. Most people, of course, do not have that luxury. Which is why it’s good news that the cost of solar panel installations have come down in recent years.
There has been a recent boom in solar energy UK production driven by households, largely because of the government’s feed in tariff rate. That has recently been reduced for a second time, but it still helps to make solar power attractive financially. If you are interested in getting a solar panel installation then it’s always best to do so as soon as possible for the best financial return, since the government only intends to reduce the feed in tariff rate further in the future.
Solar Energies UK
At Solar Energies UK we are proud to be able to provide the opportunity for businesses and individuals to save money and the help the environment by providing solar panel installations. If you’d like more information, including a free quote and information pack, get in touch on our freephone number.
With the feed in tariff rate coming down again today, the Solar Trade Association (STA) points out that even at the new lower rate, investing in a solar panel installation can still provide a significant return on your money.
According to Paul Burwell, the CEO of STA, even with the new 16p feed in tariff rate, “solar is a no-brainer investment.” That is when you compare it to most other investments that you can make, and the fact that energy prices are likely to continue to rise in the future.
In order to help people who are considering investing in solar energy UK production through a solar panel installation for their home, the STA is providing a calculator which will help you to calculate the return you are likely to get from your solar cells (if you contact Solar Energies UK we will be able to help you make this calculation for free as well).
Using this calculator, the STA has provided an example whereby a 4kWp system would pay for itself within ten years, and that over the full 20 years that your feed in tariff would run for, you could expect to see a 9.2% return on your investment.
Rising Energy Prices
The other factor that has to be taken in to account is the cost of energy. In recent years there have been significant increases, and if that were to continue then the savings you would make using solar energy would be even more important. At the very least, the use of solar energy will guard against the pressures of inflation.
Of course it is impossible to say what will happen in the future, but at the moment the rise in conventional energy prices is happening faster than government projections predicted. At some point, of course, if conventional energy prices become high enough then a solar panel installation will become viable financially without any government assistance. That, actually, is when we can expect to see a rapid increase in the use of solar energy. This will not only be due to a rise in conventional energy prices but also in the continuing trend of solar panels becoming cheaper.
When to Invest?
With solar energy UK production it is always best to get involved as soon as you can. The feed in tariff is only going to be reduced further in the future, the government is never expected to raise the rates again once they have lowered them. It’s also not a good idea to wait until the cost of an installation is reduced through better production processes (unless you have to, of course) because you will be missing out on the savings that you could be making in the mean time. Also, it is an unpredictable process.
Solar Energies UK
If you would like more information on the feasibility of a solar panel installation for your home, then get in touch on our freephone number and we can provide you with an information pack, personalised assessment of your situation and free quote.