Image: largest rooftop solar array in the UK via DECCgovuk / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Solar power is a clean, green energy solution for the 21st Century. Despite the fact that the weather in the UK is so unpredictable, solar energy is a viable option, especially when you consider the fact that the UK’s largest solar farm generated 15% more power than expected during the winter months! With the UK government determined to achieve a 26%–32% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020, the use of alternative energy such as solar is being encouraged with a Feed-in Tariff which can lead to homeowners being paid by energy suppliers for surplus energy.
There are many new companies in the UK nowadays who will provide and install solar panels free of charge to homeowners in return for the income generated by the Feed-in Tariff (FiT), which is a great way of going solar without the upfront costs involved. Moreover, solar panels are fairly low in cost, have a reasonably predictable output capacity and need very little in the way of maintenance – this really makes solar power an attractive option. Home furnishings giant IKEA is set to boost solar power in the UK by offering a reasonably priced home system in all of its UK outlets this coming spring. Unlike the company’s flat pack furniture, you won’t need to struggle to install the solar system yourself; IKEA has done a deal with a company who will do the work for you.
If you’re thinking of taking advantage of the sunshine and installing solar panels, whether you’re buying your own or taking advantage of one of the companies offering the panels and installation in return for the income generated by FiT, then here are some of the issues you should consider when looking at solar panels or a company that provides them.
- Make sure that the company installing your solar panels is certified by checking on the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). MCS is a mark of quality that demonstrates compliance with industry standards.
- South-facing homes benefit the most from solar panel installation. However, west- and east-facing roofs are also suitable for installation.
- The gradient of your roof will affect the productivity of panels, as will surrounding trees which could block sunlight at certain times of the day.
- If your solar panels and installation are being provided free of charge by a company, check the small print of your contract. You may be tied into the energy contract for up to 25 years – check if there is a buy-out option available should you come into some cash that you want to use to do this.
- If the solar panel firm fitting your free panels goes bust in the future, then the right to collect your FiT may be transferred to the company’s creditors and could in turn be sold to another company.
- Check who would be responsible for roof repairs in the future. If the roof gets damaged by the installation company, then they should bear the cost of repairs. However, if your roof needs repair work that’s not connected to the solar panels, then you may need to cover the company’s feed-in payments while repairs are undertaken.
Solar energy is becoming more popular around the world and especially here in the UK. The industry is in its infancy at present, but with more solar uptake predicted, then the UK government is sure to legislate to ensure that customers are getting a good deal from providers.
Written in partnership with Energy Bonds, a brand of CBD Energy Limited. If you are interested in investing in solar energy, visit Energybonds.co.uk to discover how you can earn money from the sun.