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  • FIRST POST
    rouner
    Solar is the way to go !?
    • #1
    • 22nd Feb 06, 10:48 PM
    Solar is the way to go !? 22nd Feb 06 at 10:48 PM
    Hi all, with energy prices going up it seems the wise option and enviromentally sound one would be to invest in photovoltaic solar panels. I am in the process of working out the money needed to invest, grants available and ultimatly the point at which i come into profit!

    It seems for enough electricity for the average home you are looking at spending £10k of which £3-4k you can get in a grant so about £6-7k spend. House price rise may result which would prob pay it off! But after a number of years they will have paid for themselves,..and with the rate of energy rises then that time may not be too long!

    If anyone has gone down this route or has any useful information I am very open to comments


    Rouner
Page 1
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 22nd Feb 06, 11:05 PM
    • 28,129 Posts
    • 13,956 Thanks
    Cardew
    • #2
    • 22nd Feb 06, 11:05 PM
    • #2
    • 22nd Feb 06, 11:05 PM
    There are threads on this in the 'Fuel and other Heating' section.

    IMO it makes no economic sense to heat water by solar means and even less to attempt to generate electricity.

    Plus there are a lot of 'cowboys' in this field.
  • rouner
    • #3
    • 23rd Feb 06, 9:49 AM
    • #3
    • 23rd Feb 06, 9:49 AM
    Well it would make economic sense but only in the long term, and thats like 15 years long term lol. It all depends on proce rises in electricity though. If for instance your electricity is £35 a month then thats £420 a year and to spend say £6000 on photovoltaic would involve just over 14 years before one broke even. Which for most people is not an option ( who knows where we will be in 14 years ), however that is based on current prices. Now if electricity keeps going up ( and it will ) then maybe the saving can be made in 10 years. This is getting more reasonable if you know you will live at that propertyfor most of your life. However I think maybe it is still a good plan even if you are not as the solar panels will raise the value of the property if it was to be sold, covering the cost of installing them and maybe some more.

    Rouner
    • Ken68
    • By Ken68 23rd Feb 06, 10:22 AM
    • 6,556 Posts
    • 4,191 Thanks
    Ken68
    • #4
    • 23rd Feb 06, 10:22 AM
    • #4
    • 23rd Feb 06, 10:22 AM
    http://www.clear-skies.org/ here , and somewhere amongst all that info is a pyramid graph showing the most viable options. Insulation and draughtproofing has the best payback time with photo voltaic and small domestic wind turbines having NONE or very little.
    This....http://www.est.org.uk/ another government organisation supposed to help the consumer, but more interested in keeping the status quo. of high charging energy providers.
    I've been down all the avenues of renewable energy , and found DIY approach better and the local authority most helpful as to grants.
    Last edited by Ken68; 23-02-2006 at 5:23 PM.
    • paul_h
    • By paul_h 23rd Feb 06, 10:31 AM
    • 1,026 Posts
    • 324 Thanks
    paul_h
    • #5
    • 23rd Feb 06, 10:31 AM
    • #5
    • 23rd Feb 06, 10:31 AM
    IMO it makes no economic sense to heat water by solar means and even less to attempt to generate electricity.

    Plus there are a lot of 'cowboys' in this field.
    by Cardew
    Cardew's right. There are a lot of companies making wild claims about these systems and conning people out of many thousands of £££.

    I've got a solar water heating system which I was fortunate enough to inherit when we bought the house. Whilst it it very effective indeed in the Summer, I did read somewhere that the payback on these systems can be as long as 70 years - this is plainly not viable as the systems will not last forever.

    Don't forget that there are running costs over and above the installation cost - there is also maintenenance to carry out, like replacing the antifreeze (special Fernox stuff) every five years. The installers charge quite a bit to do this, I change my own but you need the right equipment as it's a sealed system. There is also a circulation pump which uses a small amount of electricity.

    As for adding value to our house, the previous occupants paid a great deal of money to have this installed, but IMO it made absolutely no difference to the sale price of the house when we bought it. Perhaps people are wary of the maintenance and/or cost if a fault develops.

    There are, however, plans available for DIY systems - maybe this could be viable - and from what I can see, the panels could be manufactured by anyone with reasonable metalworking/plumbing skills and access to a workshop...
    Last edited by paul_h; 23-02-2006 at 10:36 AM.
  • wealthsaver
    • #6
    • 23rd Feb 06, 10:37 AM
    Solar heating and power.
    • #6
    • 23rd Feb 06, 10:37 AM
    It seems for enough electricity for the average home you are looking at spending £10k of which £3-4k you can get in a grant so about £6-7k spend. House price rise may result which would prob pay it off! But after a number of years they will have paid for themselves,..and with the rate of energy rises then that time may not be too long!
    by rouner
    I have read that the grant situation is due to end soon. This is what has occured with the grants powershift.org.uk were promoting for converting cars to LPG.

    In fact on one solar water heating system supplier website, I read that the grants for Solar heating panels were terminating six weeks ahead of the planned stop. I guess the budget has been exhausted.
    Wealthsaving - a way of life?
  • dc
    • #7
    • 23rd Feb 06, 10:43 AM
    • #7
    • 23rd Feb 06, 10:43 AM
    Sorry to be negative re solar voltaic panels, but I doubt if they would still be working at the end of the pay-back period.

    Their development is still in its infancy, high cost for such little power (low voltage and current). They generate DC, which means expensive circuitry to convert to useable mains electricity. The area required per killowatt is large, so I doubt if your roof is big enough?
    Maybe the price will come down in the future, as those with sunnier climes realise their advantage.

    On the heating side, solar water heating is just about viable ( with grants ), but heat pumps would be imo a better option ( up to 1200% efficient), if cost could be reduced. Only mass production will do that.
    dc
    ac's lovechild
  • dc
    • #8
    • 23rd Feb 06, 10:51 AM
    • #8
    • 23rd Feb 06, 10:51 AM
    I have read that the grant situation is due to end soon. This is what has occured with the grants powershift.org.uk were promoting for converting cars to LPG.

    In fact on one solar water heating system supplier website, I read that the grants for Solar heating panels were terminating six weeks ahead of the planned stop. I guess the budget has been exhausted.
    by wealthsaver
    That is because grants are for the financial year only, ie end on 31st March, and from a fixed £pot. Obviously there has been a good take up. There will be another batch available after 1st April 2006, if HM Gov wants to attain its energy targets. Once the things are a must have the grants will end.:rolleyes:
    ac's lovechild
    • paul_h
    • By paul_h 23rd Feb 06, 10:56 AM
    • 1,026 Posts
    • 324 Thanks
    paul_h
    • #9
    • 23rd Feb 06, 10:56 AM
    • #9
    • 23rd Feb 06, 10:56 AM
    More good points made by dc.

    Photovoltaics are ok if you need to power a laptop in Africa - this far north, as dc says, your roof won't be big enough.

    As for protecting the environment, the manufacture of photovoltaic cells involves some very nasty environmentally damaging chemicals, and uses large amounts of energy - hence the high costs.

    Ground source heat pumps are the most viable way to go at the moment, this is what I would be looking at, but even they are not perfect - they use energy to extract heat from the earth. However, from what I gather, 1 kW input can produce 3 to 6 kW of heat, depending upon the size of the installation.
  • rouner
    Thanks for all your replies, very useful info indeed. Maybe for now my best option to save energy would be to frget about solar and look into getting my chimney lined and a woodburner in there! Plus insulation of attic space etc. What other electricity saving methods are there ?

    Rouner
    • Ken68
    • By Ken68 23rd Feb 06, 5:28 PM
    • 6,556 Posts
    • 4,191 Thanks
    Ken68
    This is a good one, Rouner...........http://www.theyellowhouse.org.uk/
    • Ken68
    • By Ken68 23rd Feb 06, 5:32 PM
    • 6,556 Posts
    • 4,191 Thanks
    Ken68
    ....and here is another......http://www.jrwhipple.com/sr/index.html..

    Insulation should be top priority and not having t.v.'s and such on standby..
  • DO_YOU_KNOW_DAVE
    Want to make your own solar panel water heater? Have a look here
    WWW.LOWIMPACT.ORG
    I have been on the Bio-Diesel course, they are well run and very informative.
  • Weymouth Man
    The Wind
    Hi all, with energy prices going up it seems the wise option and enviromentally sound one would be to invest in photovoltaic solar panels. I am in the process of working out the money needed to invest, grants available and ultimatly the point at which i come into profit!

    It seems for enough electricity for the average home you are looking at spending £10k of which £3-4k you can get in a grant so about £6-7k spend. House price rise may result which would prob pay it off! But after a number of years they will have paid for themselves,..and with the rate of energy rises then that time may not be too long!

    If anyone has gone down this route or has any useful information I am very open to comments


    Rouner
    by rouner
    Don't forget the WIND http://www.maplin.co.uk/Search.aspx?criteria=wind%20turbine&doy=23m2&sourc e=15 :rolleyes:
    !!!!!!There are More Questions Than Answers!!!!!!
    But I Just Don't Have Any Answers
  • kittiwoz
    The wind turbine mentioned above is designed for use at sea and is not really suitable for static use on land. Land based turbines generally operated at peak rated power at wind speeds of 12m/s. This is equivalent to 23 knots. This machine has its maximum rated power for a windspeed of 50 knots = 26m/s = 10 on the Beaufort scale: Storm; Seldom experienced inland; trees uprooted; considerable structural damage occurs. By plotting power output against windspeed using the cut-in speed and two windspeeds for which power is rated it is possible to estimate the power output at 12m/s as 32 Watts. Typical rated power outputs for inland turbines are in the range 0.5-1.5 kiloWatts (up to 3 for industrial turbines). An example of this type is the roof mounted Swift turbine developed by Renewable Devices. This has a rated power output at 12.5m/s of 1.5 kW and has been shown to typically produce 2,000 to 3,000 kiloWatt hours of energy per year. This is approximately 1/5 of what it would produce if it opperated in a constant windspeed of 12.5 m/s. If we assume the Rutland 503 windcharger performs similarly (which is probably generous since it's not built for low windspeeds) it would produce 56 kWh per year. Hence at a price of 10p per kWh you would save £5.60 per year on your electricity bill. At a cost of £259.99 you would therefore recoup your investment in 46 years.
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