Five reasons why you should put solar panels on your roof
Getting solar panels installed is the only home improvement you can make that will actually pay for itself in hard cash. For the cost of a kitchen or bathroom makeover, you will get a miniature power station that will slash your electricity bill and, thanks to the government’s feed-in tariff (FIT), earn you payments of up to about £800 for a 4kW 16-panel installation. Potentially, you could recoup the outlay in about seven years and then receive a similar amount for a further 13 years.
(1) It’s quick to have done; In our case the work took just a day and a half, with scaffolding going up and coming down on the days preceding and following the panel installation.
(2) VAT is charged at only 5%. On all other building work, it should be charged at 20%.
(3) With the addition of an immersun unit, it will help to heat your hot water tank and thereby reduce your gas bill.
(4) It will provide energy security. It appears that we came close to power cuts during last winter and, with the closure of a number of coal-fired power stations, the likelihood of blackouts during future winters can only increase.
(5) It reduces your carbon footprint. Whilst global warming doesn’t exactly seem to be happening – even the Met Office now concedes that we might be in for a decade of dismal summers – avoiding burning fuel unnecessarily makes sense.
In July, we had solar panels fitted to the roof of our house by Finesse Energy of Southampton. Although it cost several thousand Pounds, thanks to the government’s feed-in tariff and reduced electricity bills, we should recoup the outlay in less than ten years. During August, we were able to turn off our gas boiler altogether, relying on the solar panels to heat our hot water. Overall, our electricity consumption from the National Grid has halved since having the panels fitted.
If you can finance it from savings, go right ahead; if not, you might be eligible for grants or other support under the terms of the Government’s Green Deal.
One thing to avoid, however, is signing a deal with a company who will install the panels and allow you to benefit from cheap electricity in exchange for collecting the FIT payments you would otherwise have received: they will get by far the bigger benefit and leasing your roof in this way might well complicate matters if and when you come to sell your house.