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The Great 'Get Paid To Generate Energy' Hunt

edited 20 April 2010 at 9:21PM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
651 replies 108.3K views
2456766

Replies

  • Lip service to green issues.

    I'd love to be able to DIY a system and if needs must, have the hook up done by a qualified electrician (ie: someone who has paid for Part P ticket). But this scheme doesn't support that.
    There is also no support for generation from waste products. ie: waste wood, oil, etc.

    It's a nice idea, but they are not really serious about home generation, just trying to look like they are saving the environment (by using resources to build solar panels and turbines).

    Recycled waste, recycled equipment.
    I guess off grid is the way to go then.
  • karengikarengi Forumite
    37 posts
    I would like to know why wind generation is not viable for most people and in what type of environment is wind generation viable? Does anyone have any knowledge on this?
    Karen

    New Comper :D
    First win - A creme egg beachball!
  • "3. Whilst the FITs have made PV far more attractive, it is still a very long term investment and even the most enthusiastic solar advocate will not expect to show a 'profit' in less than 10 years. Totally agree at the moment, but the 'return' is based on capital, i.e what it produces as income versus what it costs to install & run; herein lies the big issue; Because the 'return' is pretty simple to calculate based on average income from generating, the known FIT values etc, it is simple for providers of the panels & installation packages to set prices which offer this supposed 8-10% return, and in the current financial climate they are possibly attractive to some, however this is in fact a complete rip-off as the industry is operating a cartel; see below re installers; If you source the components seperately, the combined cost is for a 2.2KpW system between 30-50% lower than buying in a package BUT try finding an MSC installer to meet the FIT compliance requirement and it is a 100% brickwall of no-one willing to step outside the complete package only cartel. Totally agree some form of robust ombudsman is required to ensure this gets sorted, otherwise the required uptake will never even begin."

    The above point mentions it is "simple to calculate based on average income from generating", which is true - if you know the size the system being installed you can predict how much electricity you'd generate and therefore the income. However, in addition to this obvious 'income' you have the financial savings in fuel costs that you are no longer paying out, i.e. you don't need to purchase as much electricity from the grid. This is not so easy to predict, and is often forgotten about in calculations on payback periods. It is assumed, and probable, that fuel costs will continue to rise significantly, and with PV system lifetimes of 25+ years, a payback period of 10 years is quite feasible. In fact that payback period could be revised (to be shorter) in a few years time when fuel prices have gone up even more!

    In defence of the secondary point regarding cartels and packages - as a small business solar installer I'd like to point out that if we are to guarantee a system installed by us we really like to know where the components come from! We have been asked to install a variety of components supplied by potential customers, but if we are not sure of the condition and/or authenticity of the product, then we are jeopardising the entire installation by installing that piece. This is usually not worth the financial risk to either the customer or the installer, not to mention possible safety aspects. We only accept this type of proposal where we feel there is no risk to either party. It is also worth remembering that installers have access to trade prices and may well find components at cheaper prices anyway.

    As a final note, do your research - it is a big investment for a home owner so make sure you are happy with the installer you choose. A good solar installer worth his salt will not pressure you, will not be just a salesman, and will be willing to answer all your questions and give you advice.
    Saving money and energy seem to be the only things on my mind these days! :p
    ...installing solar energy!
  • Bungle1976 wrote: »
    I started looking into solar thermal a couple of years ago, I found that there are a LOT of cowboys out there (one of the salesmen openly told me that he used to sell double glazing).
    Yes, unfortunately this is true. Though one of the big culprits for this (I won't mention names) went under in the past few months so one big bad cowboy out of the picture!! :j Cowboys give the good installers a bad name! :(
    Bungle1976 wrote: »
    I contacted all the people who put leaflets through my letterbox and a number of on-line companies. Virtually none of them would give me an estimate over the phone even though I knew exactly what I needed and was happy that when they sent out their "surveyor" (or high pressure salesman as they actually are) that the price may change if I had missed something.
    Again quite typical of the hard sell. In defence of decent solar installers, though, it can be quite hard to give a price over the phone. What we can do though is give you a ballpark figure for a typical installation based on your description of your requirements, with the caveat that if you were seriously interested a formal quote would need a site survey to be done - by a techie not a sales guy!
    Bungle1976 wrote: »
    When these people turned up I was getting quotes of between £8k and £10k which is frankly outrageous and would support Cardew's statement above.
    I've heard even worse! :mad: A good price guide, assuming a typical 3 bed house, 4 people, usually it is between £3000 and £6000. The range is due to the technology (flat plates are cheaper but less efficient than evacuated tube collectors which are better suited to the UK), how complex the install is, do you need a new cylinder, are you south facing, etc.
    Bungle1976 wrote: »
    If you have the time, skills and confidence to do it yourself (time was the issue for me) then payback will be even quicker, even though you won't get the grant for using an accredited supplier.
    True to some extent, provided building regs and notifications are followed appropriately. And true that you wouldn't get the grant this way. But the big disadvantage installing yourself is still waiting to show itself - there is a new FIT coming in next year for solar thermal! It is called the Renewable Heat Incentive, and to qualify for it, you will need a solar installation to have been installed by an MCS accredited installer!

    ...so, we got back to the topic of feed-in-tariffs in the end! :D
    Saving money and energy seem to be the only things on my mind these days! :p
    ...installing solar energy!
  • karengi wrote: »
    I would like to know why wind generation is not viable for most people and in what type of environment is wind generation viable? Does anyone have any knowledge on this?

    As an example, B&Q used to sell small wind turbines for use on your house. They then withdrew them after they realised that these small turbines, for use on small domestic urban properties, weren't working well. In some cases they were costing energy to run them!

    One reason is that wind turbines operate in an optimum range - if the wind isn't strong enough they can't generate electricity (obvious). Less obvious is that if the wind is to strong, the power conversion within the turbine cannot handle it, and subsequently it can't generate electricity! Because in urban areas there are lots of objects around, the wind speed isn't consistent, so it is very difficult to get a turbine to work well.

    Another reason is that wind speeds low to the ground (where these little turbines are placed) are slower as well as erratic. The larger turbines that you see dotted around (both the massive power company ones, and the medium ones that you see placed on farms, etc.) take advantage of wind flow higher up (greater than 10m from the ground) where the wind speed is greater and more consistent. Hence, larger tubines work well.

    It's pretty difficult to get these larger turbines on your house (planning permission, conservations areas, etc., noise issues from turbine rotation), so are only a viable option if you live in a rural area with lots of landspace, or possibly for use within industrial units where residents are unlikely to complain.
    Saving money and energy seem to be the only things on my mind these days! :p
    ...installing solar energy!
  • CardewCardew Forumite
    28.1K posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Rampant Recycler
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    I've heard even worse! :mad: A good price guide, assuming a typical 3 bed house, 4 people, usually it is between £3000 and £6000. The range is due to the technology (flat plates are cheaper but less efficient than evacuated tube collectors which are better suited to the UK), how complex the install is, do you need a new cylinder, are you south facing, etc.

    As someone with a vested interest(presumably) in installing Solar Thermal, and promoting your firm on this site;)(I expect your posts will be deleted or modified) what annual output would you predict from a system costing £3,000 to £6000. - 1,000kWh??
  • /quote
    I'd love to be able to DIY a system and if needs must, have the hook up done by a qualified electrician (ie: someone who has paid for Part P ticket). But this scheme doesn't support that.
    quote



    Can anyone expand/confirm this?

    background (not necessary reading for the question): I am reasonably competent in the concept/electrics as I have an all be it small system with a 80W solar panel, controller, battery combining to power some homemade led lights and a pond pump. I will happily admit that we will never make the money back on an off-grid system like this but it was fun setting it up and as a project plus I like the stats I get, the ability if the power goes out to have some light and obviously the environmental credentials. Since its all DC, its reality save to muck around with and importantly we don't need to fill in a form hah.

    Know we know the potential we want a larger grid-connected system. The issue is that we want to buy the panels, inverter and set them up on the garage ourselves as its much cheaper. Can we still get this FIT if we only get a certified electrician to come around and add the breakers/generator meter/final connections and check for safety? Or do we HAVE to get the panels bought and installed for a registered company who charge over the odds. ex I got a 80W panel from China for £160 which costs £300 in the uk and its the same manufacturer.
  • edited 23 April 2010 at 12:55PM
    Vagabond84Vagabond84 Forumite
    2 posts
    edited 23 April 2010 at 12:55PM
    Hi, I'm new to here but have been getting Martins email for a good while now. I felt I best post on this subject as I have a degree in renewable energy and I work in PV as a design/project engineer albeit for a company which specialises in large scale PV not domestic so I won't be trying to sell you anything, but might be able to help someone out.

    In respect to the best technology to install it totally depends on your location, If you're pretty rural go for wind as it will pay back a lot quicker. All roof mounted turbines are not going to be very effective and could affect the structure of the house when it is spinning. So pole mounted is the way to go, but really you need to be in a fairly open area.

    PV will take longer to payback but has a lot less issues when it comes to planning permission. In most cases permitted development rights exist meaning the local council cannot stop you installing.

    When looking at PV, the efficiency varies greatly from panel to panel so it is best going with an installer who is not operating using a single product as you will not get the best solution, also get a number of quotes and finally ensure that the product AND the installer are both MCS accredited otherwise you are not entitled to anything.

    The PV panels which I deal with are not like the ones which are commonly seen as we focus commercially, so we use thin flexible panels and a new CIGS panel neither of which are suitable for domestic. In order to generate the most amount of energy on a domestic property I recommend Sanyo hybrid panels which will give the most amount of kWh (what you get paid for) per kWp installed. Although they are a more expensive upfront option the economics really stack up.

    The other option is of course to wait for the renewable heat incentive to come into play next year. Depends what you want to do, personally I'd prefer to generate electricity than heat, as I can use that all year round.

    Finding the initial capital to pay for a renewable technology is the hardest part, and unfortunately I have no news on any grants that may exist.

    One interesting point is that some financial companies are looking to begin renting roof space in order to install PV. The idea is that you will get free electricity and they will claim the FIT incentive. Whether this comes about however is another matter. If you are interested just keep an ear out.

    Finally if anyone would like help deciphering any of the techie bits and pieces then give me a shout and I'll help you out. I'm interested in the energy saving so anyone I can help get moving onto installing anything is a bonus for us all.

    Cheers.
  • gingerscot wrote: »
    /quote
    I'd love to be able to DIY a system and if needs must, have the hook up done by a qualified electrician (ie: someone who has paid for Part P ticket). But this scheme doesn't support that.
    quote



    Can anyone expand/confirm this?

    background (not necessary reading for the question): I am reasonably competent in the concept/electrics as I have an all be it small system with a 80W solar panel, controller, battery combining to power some homemade led lights and a pond pump. I will happily admit that we will never make the money back on an off-grid system like this but it was fun setting it up and as a project plus I like the stats I get, the ability if the power goes out to have some light and obviously the environmental credentials. Since its all DC, its reality save to muck around with and importantly we don't need to fill in a form hah.

    Know we know the potential we want a larger grid-connected system. The issue is that we want to buy the panels, inverter and set them up on the garage ourselves as its much cheaper. Can we still get this FIT if we only get a certified electrician to come around and add the breakers/generator meter/final connections and check for safety? Or do we HAVE to get the panels bought and installed for a registered company who charge over the odds. ex I got a 80W panel from China for £160 which costs £300 in the uk and its the same manufacturer.

    Hi,

    Both the panels and the installer have to be MCS certified in order to get the tariffs. So even a qualified electrician won't be enough.

    However if you buy the panels yourself and they are accredited and then manage to find someone to install them who is accredited you may save a few quid that way.

    Do be careful when looking at accredited panels though and ensure they definitely are on the central register, which can be found here microgenerationcertification.org

    Sorry can't link to it as I'm new :)
  • Cardew wrote: »
    As someone with a vested interest(presumably) in installing Solar Thermal, and promoting your firm on this site;)(I expect your posts will be deleted or modified) what annual output would you predict from a system costing £3,000 to £6000. - 1,000kWh??

    Ooops :o I'm a newbie at posting and didn't realise that :) sorry MSE. Oh well, hopefully they'll only delete the probem bits and leave the useful info behind. The price bracket I gave isn't necessarily ours ;) but would apply to a decent small to medium sized installer. Plus I talked about flat panels which we don't even use, so hopefully that's recovered my statements somewhat :o

    The panels (evac tube) I have on my own house (3 bed, 1 bath) have a predicted yield of 651 kWh each per annum (I have two panels). My house is directly south facing, so two panels is enough, but if you're a bit more west or east you may need 3 panels. So that should give you a rough idea and is probably quite typically of an installation using a reputable installer with fairly decent panels. If your house is bigger, or lots more hot water needs, you may need more panels.
    Saving money and energy seem to be the only things on my mind these days! :p
    ...installing solar energy!
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