I paid £12,800 for solar panels in 2011 – soon they will have paid for themselves. Sunshine is the best investment I have made in a decade. It has given me an inflation-proof income until 2036 and a source of free energy here and now. How is this possible? Timing. In May 2011, I invested £12,800 in 16 solar panels. This was expensive by today’s standards, but it gave my family inflation-linked income for 25 years together with greatly reduced electricity bills. Last week I earned almost £50 for generating electricity and, when the sun came out early, I rushed downstairs to put on the washer and dryer to take advantage of free electricity. My income will continue until May 2036. The solar panels will have paid for themselves by the end of next year. If you are installing today, you will receive a much lower feed-in tariff rate, since the government cut rates in 2015, but panels should still give a return on investment. You get 4.07p per unit of energy generated and also get an export tariff of 5.03p per unit deemed to have been exported to the National Grid. Both tariffs are increased in line with the retail prices index and will be paid for 20 years. One reason given by the government for reducing the feed-in tariff since 2011 was that the cost of installing panels has fallen over the years. It is now possible to install a 4kwh system of 16 panels for about £4,500.
FT 21st Sept 2017 read more »