Renewables – solar

If you want solar photovoltaic panels on your home but don’t have the money for them, EDF Energy is offering to install a free system – complete with storage batteries – if you agree to buy the subsidised power it generates for 20 years. The French-owned energy giant is looking for 100 homes to trial its Sunplug scheme, which is being offered in conjunction with established solar supplier Lightsource. To sign up you need to have a large, unshaded south-facing roof at a pitch of about 45 degrees. If you are accepted, the company will install the largest solar panel system the roof can take – a 16-panel setup will generate 4kW – plus an LG storage battery that lets you use the power that’s generated during the day in the evening. In return, EDF gets to keep the feed-in tariff paid by the government, which is worth about £150 a year. It also keeps the export tariff – around £50 a year. The householder is contractually bound to pay Sunplug 9.9p per kilowatt hour for each unit of electricity they use from the panels and battery. This is a little cheaper than what you would pay if you bought green electricity from the grid. For example, green supplier Good Energy charges 15.5p, with a standing charge averaging 26p a day. The advantage could come in future years as the price demanded by Sunplug can only rise by the retail prices index or 2.5% – whichever is lower. If the price of grid electricity rises substantially over the next 20 years, users will make considerable savings. However, if they don’t, some users will be left wondering why they bothered, not least because they have to have the system inspected each year, which will cost about £80. So this scheme is likely to appeal to anyone who wants green electricity at fixed prices over the next two decades. The other significant benefit comes at the end of the 20-year term, when the householder is given ownership of the system, which should continue to generate substantial free power. So what’s the Money verdict? Solar PV systems are still a good investment if you have the money upfront, the right roof and location, and if you plan to stay in the house for a long time. The case for the free Sunplug deal is less clear. To us, it looks too heavily weighted in favour of the company. If it offered some free electricity each day or other incentives, that would make the scheme more attractive.

Guardian 12th Aug 2017 read more »

A reverse solar auction is to be run for London homeowners under plans outlined by the mayor today, which place community energy schemes at the centre of City Hall’s plans while shutting the door once and for all on a rumoured London feed-in tariff. The delayed solar strategy, which had been expected in the spring, has been published as part of Sadiq Khan’s environment plan for London and will see a pilot in which City Hall will approach a number of households to gauge their interest in adding solar to their roofs. This demand will be pooled together into a package of works which will then be tendered to solar installers who will bid for the work in a competition to offer the best price to Londoners in the pilot. If successful, it will be rolled out across the city.

Solar Power Portal 11th Aug 2017 read more »

Installing solar and storage technologies into homes could save them as much as £600 each year on their fuel bills, a new study has found. The report, released by Swansea University’s Specific Innovation and Knowledge Centre, claims that an integrated system comprising solar PV roof installations, battery storage and solar heat collection technology on south-facing walls could cut energy consumption by more than 60%. The findings are backed up by a working demonstration project completed on a school in Swansea. The ‘Active Classroom’, as it has been dubbed, has generated more energy than it has consumed since receiving the complete system six months ago.

Solar Power Portal 10th Aug 2017 read more »

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Published: 12 August 2017