Monday, 23 August 2010

Solar Electricity.

As a result of my previous post on this subject I have received a number of enquiries from readers who wanted more information; so here goes:

I'd long been interested in renewable energy but like most people didn't take the plunge because of lack of knowledge and the cost. That all changed when I asked Wrecsam council officers who were involved with the council's 'Reducing Carbon Footprint' corporate priority for advice and assistance with environmental projects in my ward.

I then had a survey carried out by Northern Solar a Liverpool based company that was recommended which indicated that the roof was 70% south facing and had capacity for 16 photovolaic panels (2.96KWp). The system performance was calculated using the Government's Standard Assessment for Dwellings, which indicated that the system would produce 2222KWh of electricity per annum and offset 1262Kgs of carbon. It is also anticipated that electricity savings could be around £350 per annum. The feed in tariff for the electricity produced is 41.3 pence per KWh which is 2222 x 0.413 = £917 together with the £350 is over £1200 per annum. The feed in tariff income is tax free and only 5% VAT is payable on installation costs. This of course is all dependant on getting more sun than we've had so far this August!

Now to the hard part...the cost! The whole system cost just over £11,000 which seems expensive but if the system performs as anticipated it will show a return on investment of about 10% as well as the very generous tax incentives. It beats investing money elsewhere...where else can one get a 10% return? I anticipate that it will take 9 years to pay off capital costs against a system lifespan of 25 years.

I had the system fitted on the 29th July and in the 23 days since then the system has produced 232 KWh's of electricity which is 10% of anticipated performance. Daily the system produces an average of 10kwh (summer) with 15 to 18kwh on clear sunny days to 6kwh on cloudy/rainy days like today; but irrespective what the weather is the system produces in daylight and not just sunlight.

Many people will however have been put off by the cost but there other options like that provided by Isis Solar and similar companies who 'rent' the roof space, provide the pv panels free but take the feed in tariff, but the householder gets the benefit of the electricity use saving. There are also various Welsh Government initiatives like Ynni'r Fro for community development initiatives or Arbed funding for housing in Community First areas.

I very much hope this blog has been of assistance but for detailed information and other sources of renewable energy go to the Energy Savings Trust or the Carbon Trust for businesses.

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