Scientist with strong political and environmental interests. Very interested in renewable technologies.
Have a professionally installed PV system but also make my own PV panels from cells (may grid-connect these to add to the main system), have built a solar water heating system for a greenhouse and have a part-built small wind generator project.
Solar PV, while not cheap, has been made viable by the FIT. Prices are dropping quickly and the savings on bills is good. Am planning to use FIT gains to invest in better insulation and other renewable technologies.
A major benefit is that having renewables encourages you to examine how you use energy and to look at ways to minimise waste usage. It also helps spark interest in other renewables.
But research the installers and watch out for the cowboys. Identify questions that test the installers knowledge of the products they're selling (simple things like how shading affects output and do panels have bypass diodes and how do they work, are things that can catch them out and identify better companies). Ask them what make of panels and inverter they use and check these out for quality. I would avoid using those companies that make a big deal of the FITs and the profits you can make. Watch out, too, for companies that say that the system will perform well on East or West facing rooves or where you have obvious shading problems.