Renewable Energy from photovoltaic PV panels

If you’ve fitted a Solar Panel (to be correct PV panels – photovoltaic panels generate solar electricity) or small wind turbine to your house and you are using your own generated energy and feeding power back into the grid you are now being told how much money you’ll be paid.

The government’s Energy and climate change department has released some figures for what they call the feed in tarrif which will come into effect in April.

Will PV Panels in Devon earn money from the new feed-in-tariff scheme?

PV Panel fitted to house roof - pv panels fitted in Devon will soon earn you money for the electricity you generate and use

Above is a simple PV Panel fitted to house roof – pv panels fitted in Devon will soon earn you money for the electricity you generate and use.

Being blessed with a temperate climate in Devon there has been much discussion about the potential to earn money from the Feed in Tarrif

Too good to be true?

On first hearing the idea that by installing solar pv panels in Devon you would be paid for what you generated AND used sounded too good to be true – like filling up with petrol and the cashier running out to give you fifty quid for doing so

Leoni Green from the renewable energy association interview on BBC  Radio 4 You and Yours explains:

Renewable Energy from PV Panels Explained

Lets establish what we’re talking about here this is power above and beyond what we use in our homes if we ge it from a renewable source?

Yes that’s right – if you are going to invest in renewable energy in your home or in your community under this scheme what will happen is you will be paid a fixed premium payment for up to 25 years depending on the technology for every unit of renewable energy that you generate.

Just to be clear its for every unit of power that you generate not just what you export back into the gri so whether you consume it on site or export it you will be paid back a clear fixed premium price

And do we have a figure on that now?

We do yes – we’re analyising the figures that have come out today for example looking at pv photovoltaic photovoltaic (solar electric) looking at 41.3p/kWh for generation kilowat hour so a typical 2KW peak system that might cost around £9000 to install but you’ll be looking at receiving £900 every year from the frip ?? payments so the payback is looking pretty good.

The onus is going to be on the home owner to make a claim?

Yes you will have to register online.  All the technologies that qualify are approved technologies – so you can be confident in their operation and it will be the Energy Saving Trust that will be running this scheme for domestic householders for businesses they will want to contact the Carbon Trust

If we have a PV solar panel – photovoltaic panel or small wind turbine in our house already doing what it is supposed to be doing is there  a way that us the householder can find out whether it’s feeding power back in or not?

Well it will be feeding power.

Sure but beyond what were using?

Yes when your out of the house – the sun shining at the middle of the day under this scheme is an export bonus so not only do you get paid for what you generate and use there will be an export bonus for every kwH that goes into the grid.

The thinking behind this is that you can be more energy efficient so the less power you consume in the home the more you can return to the grid and the more money you can make withh the feed-in-tariff.

Wider thoughts about the overall costs solar PV panels are clearly expensive we are told somewhere between eight and fourteen thousand pounds depending on the size of the panel – you do get a grant that will take a small portion of that off but it’s only a relatively small portion – now we’ve heard the figures today – when you put it all together does it make this look more worthwhile financially?

Yes this is a proven scheme internationally and incredibly successful – you’re talking about millions of homes now across Europe investing in this scheme.  This replaces grant schemes and I have to say for investors and the industry thats very good news because what we had in the past was stop start grant schemes – often very over subscribed.  What we are seeing with this scheme is long term commitment over 20 or 25 years.  What should happen is that the banks should come forward with all kinds of products so you should be able to get a very good upfront loan to pay for the capital costs and you should be able to recoup those costs – looking at around ten years – we think it’s going to be less given that fossil fuel price is going to rise far more than the government assumed under their calculations

Could they have pushed this further? I’m reading what the “We support coalition” said – they would have like the per unit to be 10 pence more and there are concerns that this is not as good for businesses as it is for householders.

That’s fair yes – I think we would have liked to seen a more ambitious scheme  – its going to work very nicely for homeowners – when you look at the interest rates paid in the bank you are looking at returns on this of 5 – 8% clearly a better return.

Where we are concerned is the business and commercial sectors because these are typically looking for a higher return on investment so looking at that closely.  Another thing to stress is that this is just a start so if you like this is wave one PV panels and domestic wind turbines, next year we get wave 2 where you will also get renewable heat technologies added so in addition to pv panels and hydro and wind people will be able to invest in wood burning boilers and heat pumps and geo-thermal so there is really going to be a really wide choice and I think this has to be a very good step forward for the industry and consumers.

Clarify – the feed in tariffs we’ve been talking about is coming into effect from the beginning of April this year.