Most observers agree that environmental issues are not the main consideration, but the cost of installation and return on investment are what’s driving the alternative domestic energy market when highlighting the benefits of building solar panel energy systems
Probably the most economical and less problematic method is to purchase and install the panels as a DIY project – it’s much easier that you realise.
A good quality set of panels to get you started will cost from £500 upwards. Although the task of installation is quite straight-forward, most people get mystified as to how the bracket is fixed to the roof tiles. Here is a video that shows you a step by step method of how to do just that.
Fixing Brackets to the RoofGet the Flash Player to see this player.
In the UK there is now a system in place that has long been known in the US as “Net Metering” whereby the energy that is produced by your built solar panels is fed directly into the local power grid. Once this system is set up you will begin to notice the digits on your meter going backwards and here’s where you begin to make money from day one – hence, the benefits of building solar panel electricity! You will find this is a very practical way to cut down on your electricity costs.
Net metering allows you to receive credits back from the power company for excess electricity that your solar panels generate during the day. Then, at night or on days when there is not enough sunlight, you simply use electricity supplied by your local utility company. Although you won’t be living “off grid”, you’ll save a significant amount of money on your monthly bill.
In October 2012 we will see the UK government’s Green Deal initiative roll out to the public in which grants of up to £10,000 will be distributed to each consumer for energy efficiency upgrades to the property. However, unlike previous government grant initiatives these are to be repaid from the savings made from the reduced energy costs.
Most consumers will welcome this initiative, however, not everyone is in favor as it’s not yet clear just how the average bill-payer is likely to benefit from the savings in the short to mid term as the repayment period could go on for many years depending upon individual circumstances. Just as an example, if you hired a company to come and build a solar panels energy system, who charged say the average price of £7,000; paid for by the Green Deal Scheme. If the panels produced a saving of £50 per month, this then becomes your monthly repayment back to the government in addition to your remaining monthly energy bill. Therefore, the monthly repayment of £50 x 12 months = £600 p.a. Hence, it will take just under 12 years to repay the ‘grant’ back to the government assuming 0% interest.
You could always opt for purchasing and self building a solar panel array which can be carried out quite easily by the average DIY person. All the necessary components can be found online at Amazon
for far less than the cost of a company installation. I fear that once the Green Deal scheme is implemented most solar panel installation companies will at best cease offering discounts and perhaps increase their charges on the basis that the consumer will be sold on the basis of “it’s costing me nothing” attitude.