Five reasons why now is a really good time to install solar PV
Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 March 2013 at 9:46 am
If you want to generate your own electricity there's not likely to be a better time than now to install solar PV panels. Global oversupply of solar panels has led to tumbling prices - but experts predict that this may not last.
The feed-in tariff - the government's incentive for the take up of microgeneration technologies including solar PV - is far from dead, despite rumours to the contrary. Yes, the rate has been cut significantly. But because prices have also fallen, the returns available from an investment in solar are still very attractive. It also makes solar accessible to more people, as he high upfront cost has been one of the main barriers to investment in solar PV.
The Solar Trade Association's solar PV consultant Ray Noble illustrated how the relative costs and returns have changed in this comparison between April 2011 and the situation now at this year's Solar Power UK Roadshows:
Why now is such a good time to get solar panels:
1. The EU may impose an import tariff on Chinese solar PV modules, as the Chinese have been accused of dumping stock in European (and American) markets. The price of solar panels has already increased, and is expected to increase more.
2. The Chinese are expected to be using more of the solar panels they produce at home in the future, which will reduce the global oversupply.
3. The current feed-in tariff rate for systems of 4kWp or less is 15.44p until 30 June 2013, when it is likely to reduce by 3.5%.
4. It's a way of reducing the future impact of rising energy bills. You could think of installing solar PV as pre-buying a proportion of you electricity needs for the next 20-30 years at a set price, freeing you from the market rates. Or, to turn that on it's head, you will save money on all your electricity bills for the next 20 to 30 years. How much you save will depend on how much electricity you consume during daylight hours. The greater your usage, the bigger the reduction in your bills.
5. Solar panels regularly produce more electricity than predicted by the MCS calculation. Ray Noble used a house in Durham (pictured above) to illustrate the point: the MCS predicted generation was 820kWh/kWp per year; the actual performance in 2012 was 960kWh/kWp. And this is in the north of England in the wettest summer on record!
Find out more about installing solar PV on YouGen:Cathy Debenham
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