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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
1356766

Replies

  • noncom_2noncom_2 Forumite
    212 posts
    Doc_N wrote: »
    I have a £17,500 quotation for a 4 kWp solar PV system with 22 Mitsubishi panels. That's from a small local company with a proven track record.

    <snip>

    What sort of quotations are other people getting for 4 kWp systems (the efffective maximum, given the Feed in Tariff limits)?

    Ballpark figure, as they haven't done the survey yet, but over the phone in conversation with a National MCS company, I got an estimate of £15k for a 4kW system. Not sure yet if I've got enough roof space for that though.....
  • BinjonsBinjons Forumite
    6 posts
    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?

    In addition to the other reply I'd like to add that the thing about wind turbines is that their power output is cubed (as opposed to doubled) in relation to their size (ie the amount of wind they can capture.)

    Big turbines are VERY effective (don't let any NIMBY's tell you otherwise!) but small ones are not worth it, perhaps with the exception of a pole mounted one in a very windy location.
  • Doc_NDoc_N Forumite
    7.3K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    ✭✭✭✭

    .......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

    An interesting point you make there.

    If your roof is large enough to take the solar PV panels to produce 4 kWp with enough space left over for solar thermal panels, would it be beneficial to hold back until next year to do the PV and the thermal together?

    Or can they be regarded as two entirely separate systems, so that the PV can be done now, and the thermal next year?
  • Doc_N wrote: »
    An interesting point you make there.

    If your roof is large enough to take the solar PV panels to produce 4 kWp with enough space left over for solar thermal panels, would it be beneficial to hold back until next year to do the PV and the thermal together?

    Or can they be regarded as two entirely separate systems, so that the PV can be done now, and the thermal next year?

    They can be done as separate systems, though you may save a little on install costs if you have them done together, especially if scaffolding is needed to do the install. In fact the MCS accreditation is separate for different technologies (thermal vs PV), so in theory you could have a diffferent installer for each.
    Saving money and energy seem to be the only things on my mind these days! :p
    ...installing solar energy!
  • My dad is getting 3.68kW solar PV system fitted as I type this. He was going to go for a slightly higher rated system but the installed found there was some extra thing he needed to get if it was over 3.68kW that was going to cost a bit to get so it wasn't worth it. He is paying £15K for that lot.

    I am in the process of planning for a new house and looking to have about the same amount of solar PV, a GSHP and some solar thermal on the roof too. From April 1st this year the feed in tariff applies to solar PV but from next April there will also be a similar thing for things like GSHP and solar thermal.

    Dave
  • Doc_N wrote: »
    An interesting point you make there.

    If your roof is large enough to take the solar PV panels to produce 4 kWp with enough space left over for solar thermal panels, would it be beneficial to hold back until next year to do the PV and the thermal together?

    Or can they be regarded as two entirely separate systems, so that the PV can be done now, and the thermal next year?

    From my understanding the amount you get paid will decrease slightly each year to try and kick start the solar PV rush. Thus it might be worth your while getting it installed sooner rather than later?
  • Reading around the subject, it would seem that typical payback rate on PV is 5-8% depending on several local conditions and the panel's efficiency. Therefore it will be 12-20 years to payback the investment before savings are made. (No, I am not entering into a debate about the accuracy of some third-party figures).

    This to me still seems a long time to have my own money tied up in a glass panel on my roof when the cost of the panels is set to reduce over the next few years AND the government will have to continue to offer incentives to hit their 2020 target. (and no, I am not debating my carbon footprint either!)

    The other thing to point out is that the (broadsheet) press report that due to the long-term nature of the systems (25-30 year lifespan) several financial institutions expressed considerable interest in the (soon to be ex-?) government's future plans to introduce a loans system for PV investment, secured against the increase in a property's value and the value of the equipment's income flow. Someone else's money sitting on my roof, the interest being paid by the FiT and not paying any electricity bill - now THAT's an incentive!

    One more point to add is that any incoming government will have their own agenda for energy & micro-generation...
    I thought I was a Money Saving Expert - then someone pointed me at Martin Lewis! Now THERE's an expert!!!
  • Three quick points:

    1 People with savings currently earning under 3% in bank, etc accounts might feel that the return on an investment in PV cells (given the new FIT rates) and taking into account long-term savings on electricity bills is worthwhile. If you have to borrow the money at a relatively high interest rate it would be a different matter.

    2. There appears to be a significant shortage of equipment, especially inverters, at the moment. I ordered mine several months ago but with the rush of new customers since the beginning of April, it is difficult to obtain one before the autumn.

    3. For a brief period it has been possible to qualify for a capital grant and for the new higher FIT. Those starting to think about solar PV now will probably not be eligible for the capital grant.
  • Doc_NDoc_N Forumite
    7.3K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    ✭✭✭✭
    Doc_N wrote: »
    An interesting point you make there.

    If your roof is large enough to take the solar PV panels to produce 4 kWp with enough space left over for solar thermal panels, would it be beneficial to hold back until next year to do the PV and the thermal together?

    Or can they be regarded as two entirely separate systems, so that the PV can be done now, and the thermal next year?
    From my understanding the amount you get paid will decrease slightly each year to try and kick start the solar PV rush. Thus it might be worth your while getting it installed sooner rather than later?

    The feed in tariff's the same for the first two years of the scheme, so there's perhaps no need for a massive hurry.

    Looking at the FITs, I see that 4-10 kWp systems still attract 36.1p as against 41.3p for the under 4 kWp systems. So if you have a roof which will take, say, 8 kWp, it would probably be better to go for a very large PV system than to 'save' some space for themal next year.
  • edited 21 April 2010 at 4:37PM
    Streethawk_2Streethawk_2 Forumite
    27 posts
    edited 21 April 2010 at 4:37PM
    It is a bit dangerous to compare a money-saving purchase with savings and investments as it can mislead people, but it is more like this:

    If you were asked to pay a lump sum into a savings account that you were told you couldn't withdraw from, but you'd get a small income from it each month you might shy away from it.
    Not many people would commit themselves to it once they were also told it would be at least 10 years before you had received all that money back and started to see any return on it.
    Remember that a solar panel is VERY illiquid, meaning it is very difficult to turn it in to cash again. You would probably have to sell your home!

    Finally, let's not forget the effects of Inflation on the value of money over the long-term and the lost opportunity cost of investing in a compound-interest, growth investment in the meantime (interest rates and inflation vary considerably over time)!...
    I thought I was a Money Saving Expert - then someone pointed me at Martin Lewis! Now THERE's an expert!!!
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