The use of Solar panels as an environmentally friendly source of energy is nothing new. The technology has been with us for a while, yet here in the UK a relatively small number of households have taken up the opportunity to “go green”. Is it possible that we all think solar panels are much more expensive than they actually are?
Chandra Marsono / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
The biggest factor that puts people off installing solar panels on their homes seems to be the initial price of the installation. A large number of home owners in the UK are still under the impression that installing solar panels is expensive and ultimately not cost effective, yet over the past five years or so there has been a dramatic decrease in the cost of solar panels allowing for competitive rates and even free installation through various deals.
To find out more I spoke with Thomas Russell, Solar Business Development Manager at Skyline Solar Ltd who told us
“There has been a steady downward spiral in recent years – typical installation costs have gone from nearly £20,000 for a 4kW installation as of April 2010, to currently being on average around £7,500.”
Since April 2010 the Government grants for solar panel installation have been replaced with the new Feed In Tariff scheme (FITs). FIT is a cash back scheme which has been made mandatory for large energy suppliers.
How FITs work
The Generation tariff means you get paid by your energy supplier a set rate for each unit of electricity you generate. Once you’ve registered your tariff levels are guaranteed for a period of time up to 20 years.
As the name suggests, the Export tariff means your energy supplier pays you for the units you export back to the grid. Depending on your meter this will either be calculated as you export or is estimated at 50% of the electricity you generate.
Of course generating income is just a small part of how solar panel installation can benefit you. A large incentive is the independence it can provide from the rising energy prices we all face.
For more information on Feed in Tariff scheme in the UK see our Introduction to the Feed in Tariff Scheme.