We are MCS registered and NICEIC registered Solar PV installers.
Solar PV has got a lot of publicity in the press, because the UK Government were offering extremely advantageous terms for those who could afford the equipment. In essence, the deal was as follows;
You and I pay around 13p per kw/hour for electricity (Dec 2011). If you put the panels on the your roof, you would be paid 43.3p per kw/hour. In the form of a cheque, quarterly, tax free. Furthermore, every other kw/hour would attract a further 3p. So, if you generated 1000kw/hours you would get £433.00 + £15.00.
Just to make things even more interesting, the 43.3p is linked to the UK Retail Price Index (RPI), so each year it is likely to rise. And the renumeration deal lasts 25 years.
Most consumers go for the larger installations (if their roof is large enough) because the return on investment is maximised, so this installation is forecast to deliver around £1300 in the first year.
However, there has to be a catch. And here it is.
The Government suddenly decided this scheme was too generous and from December 12 2011 any new installations will be downgraded to 21p per kw/hour. Solar PV installed and registered before the 12 December will get the original terms.
Although the price of the materials is dropping, the 21p based tariff doesn’t offer a great investment opportunity for customers. After all, they have to stay in the property for 25 yrs, stay alive for 25yrs, and keep the gear maintained for 25yrs. So, following a boom time to Dec 2011, the Solar PV installation industry is now in tatters and many of the companies involved will soon disappear, along with the warranties and support.
Solar PV was an expensive diversion for us, and in hindsight, achieving all the silly Government requirements to be able to install it was a waste of our time and money. Especially when you see so many moody installs out there, and hear of the various scams that the legislation was meant to avoid.
I’ve included one of our installs here. There are 20 Mitsubishi panels, connected to a transformerless SMA inverter for maximum efficiency, on the rear of a slate roofed barn in Edenbridge, Kent.
Many of our customers were interested in panels and did lots of research on the internet. I was constantly being told the Mitsubishi panels we insisted on using were less efficient than the ‘Hokey Cokey 2000’ units they had been offered. Let’s look at this objectively.
1. What does it matter whether a panel is 20.1%or 20.4% efficient? What does that translate to in terms of revenue per annum?
2. If you wanted to have confidence that your panels would last 25 yrs, would you buy from a company that have been making them for over 40yrs, or 3 yrs?
3. If you look around your house, how many electronic products can you find that were bought 25yrs ago & are still working? And are they bolted outside the roof in all weathers?
Sometimes you need to avoid the hype and think objectively. NB: If you have a cheapy set of very efficient panels from a company you had never heard of, perhaps you shouldn’t be reading this.
If you would like a Solar PV system, get in touch. But remember, it’s only 21p!
Alternatively, wait for the CHP gas boilers later in 2012. They will heat your house and produce electricity. Exciting times, and we will be there.