Solar PV - the roof tile of the future?

The National House-Building Council (NHBC) announced recently that homebuyers would pay more for an energy efficient home if they could save on future energy bills. Would you do the same? Would you pay money now to save cash in the long term?

Whether thinking about a new home or an existing one, generating your own electricity is one way to guard against spiralling electricity prices. Installing solar PV technology on your roof is one way to do this and it can be done easily as either retrofit or new build.

Many homeowners express worries that solar PV won’t work here due to UK weather conditions. In fact, solar PV systems don’t need direct sunlight to function and can perform well even in cloudy conditions.

This is reflected in the spread of solar technology across the UK, and while numbers peak in sunnier areas such as Cornwall, there have still been a good proportion of installations that work well in regions with lower amounts of daytime sunshine hours, as far north as Shetland.

Recent changes to the Feed in Tariff scheme are another justified concern as the rate of return paid has been reduced. However, it was always written into the FIT scheme that by April 2012, the rate of return paid via the generation tariff would fall in line with falling technology costs. Technology costs have indeed fallen and it’s not all doom and gloom.

Come what may, according to the DECC, a generation tariff of 21p/kWh will take effect from 1 April this year for domestic-size solar installations with an eligibility date on or after 3rd March 2012.

This represents a 4.5% real rate of return (index linked), still competitive in the current poor investment environment and guaranteed for 25 years.

So rather than delay any longer, if you are thinking about installing a solar PV system now is the time to do it.

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