The continual increase in utility bills together with people becoming more conscious about protecting their environment has resulted in a substantial demand for locating and using alternative energy sources. Solar panels offer an attractive green option but is it a worthwhile long term investment? The government’s Feed in Tariff (FIT) scheme offers annual payments for electricity generated by an approved Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels system. Whilst the National Grid may also purchase any excess electricity you generate but don’t use. To make the most of installing solar panels, you should first ensure your home is fully insulated and energy efficient. Homes with double glazing, loft insulation, wall insulation, an efficient boiler, energy saving light bulbs and doors without draughts are likely to benefit most from installing solar panels.
There are two different types of solar panels, both of which look similar but operate entirely differently. One heats water for use in your home whilst the photovoltaic (PV) system uses the sun and light to generate electricity which can be used or sold into the National Grid. Currently only the photovoltaic (PV) system is supported by the government’s FIT scheme, however there are plans to offer a similar scheme for the water heating system. To qualify for the government scheme, you must get your system installed by an MCS (Micro Certification Scheme) approved company.
Most installers will display the association logo if approved, however you can check the register at the MCS website or use it to search for local installation companies. A standard 3kw domestic PV Solar Panel electricity generating system costs around six thousand pounds. The water heating system is much cheaper at around four thousand pounds but with minimal government incentives. You may find many of the solar panel suppliers displaying inflated return on investment figures. We have listed below a realistic analysis of the initial costs and potential returns so you can ascertain if solar panels are worth the investment.