If I had had a roof which faced south I would have gone solar years ago, back when the Feed in Tariff was a stupidly high 43.3p/kWh. However, back then the solar panels were less efficient and more expensive, and given we didn’t have anywhere near an optimum south facing roof it seemed impractical at the time. And we didn’t have the spare cash.
Although the Feed in Tariff is now a much reduced 14.9p/kWh, solar panels have increased in efficiency and come down in price, and with the good old grid under pressure it seemed as good a time as any to jump on the bandwagon. The Feed in Tariff (FiT) goes down again in the New Year, further provoking the move to get this done now. I pushed out a few enquiries and after some discussion about the finer details we’ve placed a contract to supply, install and commission to the local network a twenty panel array for a total outlay of around £5k5.
Of course, it’s not really newsworthy nowadays to blog to the world, “hey, folks, I’ve gone solar!” But for my own peace of mind I want to keep track of how my investment is doing… did I buy a pup? At this stage I won’t identify the company I’m dealing with. Later, when it’s clear they were smashing, or awful, I’ll mark them out for attention or avoidance. I’ll also detail the specification once it’s all in and working.
I guess I’m a pretty poor eco-druid. No, truth to tell I’m a bloody awful one. We probably use more than our fair share of energy in this house, even now there’s only the two of us here (miss being at Manchester, where it rains and yet they have solar arrays). The four-bed detached house was built in 2001 to current standards and is therefore not too bad in terms of insulation etc. Gas is only used for hot water and central heating. All the lighting is low energy but there’s a lot of electronics going on all the time – computers, entertainment etc – and of course cooking, washing and (unless it’s good and sunny outside) drying.
- Electricity annual consumption 6300kWh which costs around £900
- Gas annual consumption 15000kWh which costs around £700
So there’s our benchmark. Those are the figures against which we’ll test the solar array.
I believe there are lifestyle changes that can boost the effectiveness of solar generation. The way it works seems to be that you meter the amount of juice you’re generating then the government pays you for half (FiT and p/unit) assuming you use the other half. With such an estimate it makes sense to try and use more than half. Using electrical goods when the sun shines, etc. Potentially, early retirement might assist with that…
So, there we go; them’s the plans. They could however all fall over if the DNO refuses to grant a connection – possible but unlikely. Waiting is, and the next update will probably be after the site installation survey has taken place.