How To Stop Your Energy Bills Becoming Larger Than Your Mortgage…

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In the UK we pay more on our energy bills than most of Europe. On top of that our energy bills have been steadily rising over the last 20 years. It only makes sense that as the demand for energy grows so will the cost of our bills.

Can We Trust Our Energy Providers?

Many people do not know that recently the wholesale cost of energy has fallen for the energy companies but we as consumers have not seen the difference in our energy bills. We all need electricity and heating but the companies in charge do not seem concerned about providing a fair service at a fair cost.

So, What Can We Do?

Can our homes become our own personal power stations? well actually, many UK homes already have. With solar panels popping up all over you may have wondered why they are considered a really great investment.

One reason solar power has seen a boom in recent years is that the price of installing solar panels has come down massively. Solar panels are now more affordable than they have ever been. Here are four more of the best reasons for installing solar.

 

  1. Cut Electricity Bills in HALF

    Average estimates state that you can save up to 50% off of your yearly electricity bills with solar panels. You would also be protected against any future electricity price-hikes as you would rely less on energy companies by providing your own free electricity.

    You can save even more with a solar storage battery. With this you can store the electricity your panels make for use in the evening. This way you can use your free electricity during the night and spend less on bills.

How Much Could You Save?

  1. Tax-free Money For Solar

    The government still offers a tax-free incentive to homes with solar panels. You are paid a small rate for each unit of electricity that your panels produce… for 20 years. You should act quickly though as this scheme will not be in place forever.

    It is vital that you find a properly accredited solar installer otherwise you would not be able to claim the government scheme. There are many solar cowboys out there so you need to ensure that the company you choose is trustworthy, reliable and highly recommended.

  2. Increase The Value of Your Home

    Estate agents now consider solar panels as something that can add value to your home. This is because the many benefits of solar can make a home more desirable.

  3. Easy Peasy

    Once solar panels have been installed you can pretty much leave them to it. They last 20-30 years with little maintenance. So just sit back, relax and let your solar panels do the work.

If you want to avoid solar cowboys click on where you live on the map below to get a fast, free, online quote for solar panels in your postcode.

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– Click Here For a Fast, Free, Online Quote –

 


 

How much can you earn from solar in your town?

 

From April 1st the Feed-in-Tariff, that pays you for generating your own electricity from solar panels (whether you use it yourself or not) will drop to 14.38p/kWh, but what does that mean in your area?

 

Based on the Energy Saving Trusts’ calculations you can see how much you should expect to earn and save in your region each year:

  • Scotland: £624
  • North East: £635
  • North West: £650
  • Yorkshire: £643
  • East Midlands: £655
  • West Midlands: £661
  • Wales: £667
  • East of England: £672
  • London: £688
  • South East: £718
  • South West: £742

Remember, these are estimates for a 4kW system, and the FiT is index-linked and should increase year upon year with inflation.

Not installed solar panels yet? Find prices here.

Feed-in-Tariff frozen, but solar doing well

Early reports say that the Feed-in-tariff (FiT) will be frozen where it currently stands, at 15.44p/kWh for a domestic PV system under 4kW. Does this mean that the Government has achieved what it set out to do with the reductions: to stifle the growth?

solar panels in your neighbourhood

Well more and more homes are installing solar panels still, to a point where they are becoming common place in everybody’s neighbourhood. This is of course the ultimate form of advertising for solar as a whole. Already we are noticing a sharp increase in enquiries from people wanting to know just why their neighbours have these contraptions on their roof, which on hearing the benefits, they want them too.

The rate at which installations increased has slowed for the industry as the tariffs have reduced, but enquiry levels and installs are still considerable, no doubt helped by solar panels being physically in people’s field of vision, falling costs of installs, and promotions from select companies like the VAT scrappage scheme on solar panels.

Solar Panels are “contagious”

Keeping up with the Joneses used to mean getting a bigger car to match your neighbours’ or making sure your lawns are neat and tidy – but in the 21st century, it means going solar.

EPC - small changes

A recent study suggests solar  is “contagious” as people are more likely to install PV panels if their neighbours have.

This is most likely down to the fact that seeing panels on a neighbour’s house serves as a constant reminder that they’re enjoying big savings on their bills AND receiving regular tariff payments.

Solar panel savings on the 21p feed-in tariff

If you’ve been wondering how much income a solar panel installation would generate on the 21p tariff rate, the Energy Saving Trust website has already done the calculations for you.
Based on a typical 3kw photovoltaic (PV) solar panel installation, you could earn:
£530 a year from the Generation Tariff of 21p
£40 a year from the Export Tariff of 3p (paid directly by your energy provider)
£100 a year reduction of your current energy bills.
That adds up to £670 a year. On a typical 3kw installation, that’s a very attractive payback period of just 12 to 13 years, leaving you with the remainder of the 25 year period to reap the rewards.
That payback period also assumes no further energy price rises in the next 12 years!
If December’s (2011) tariff reduction is reversed, then you can see why the 43p rate is so attractive to those who’ve already installed solar on their roofs.
And you could save even more by applying a few energy saving measures around your home.
Some installation companies will offer free (or packaged) energy surveys of your home, and these can help highlight areas where you could save energy. Especially if you’re aiming for complete self-sufficiency from the grid, then you’ll need to get your energy consumption as low as possible, before the installation takes place as you’ll only want to pay for the generating capacity you need.
And the news ‘on the wire’ is that this October’s forthcoming Renewable Heat incentives may require a certain energy efficiency rating of your home, before they’ll be paid.
The Government is said to also be considering  similar move with the Feed-in Tariffs, so to get the tariff payments, households may have to spend extra on insulation and other energy efficiency measures to get their property’s energy rating lower.
This story first appeared in our weekly homeowner newsletter dated 6th February 2012. Click here to read the full newsletter, which also included a round up of the weeks top home improvement offers.

If renewable energy is of interest to you, then you might like to follow our dedicated renewable energy news blog which publishes daily (mon-fri) – click here to visit Renewable Energy Quoter. They can also be followed on Twitter.

43p Solar Tariff update.

After last week’s excitement when the Government lost their appeal in the High Court and the solar installation industry began advertising installations at the 43p tariff rate, the last few days have seen one or two question that rate.
It’s true that the Government has applied for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, (‘applied for’ mind you) in a bid to get the Appeal Courts decision overturned. If this does happen, then the 21p tariff rate will prevail from 12th December 2011.
However, there’s growing optimism that with 4 judges already ruling in favour of the solar industry, the Supreme Court would have a tough time finding in favour of the Government.
And the online ‘chatter’ last week was suggesting anything up to 8 months before a Supreme Court decision.
Certainly, our network of approved solar installers have been telling us that they can supply and install at the 43p tariff before March 3rd, and a glance at the Google listings backs this up as many are quoting the 43p tariff rate in their Google adverts.
And it’s not too far fetched an idea to entertain, that by chasing an appeal and stating on their own website that households shouldn’t rely on the tariff being 43p, the DECC might just be trying to put off a ‘gold rush’ of installations before 3rd March, which would severely dent the funds, the Government has put aside for paying the tariffs.
With today’s lower installation rates, even if the Government should win, the 21p tariff still represents a decent return on your installation investment, but if, as the solar industry thinks, the Government lose the Supreme Court action, then what an opportunity the 43p tariff represents!
Amidst all the talk of tariffs and returns on investments, there’s three things that may be overlooked:
Firstly, the generation tariff paid by your energy provider remains at 3p, and that’s on top of whatever the prevailing tariff rate is.
Secondly, tariff income is tax free.
Thirdly, energy prices will only increase (as a trend) so your savings off of your regular energy bills will only increase.
Lastly, with talk of households having to prove (or undertake additional insulation work) their homes energy efficiency, in order to qualify for future tariffs, the sooner you get on the tariff ladder, the better.
You can get an instant online solar panel installation quote from our easy to use website – Solar Panel Quoter and afterwards, we can offer to find you up to 3 local reputable companies to quote for the work you want doing.

feed-in tariff uncertainty draws people to heat pumps

If the recent solar tariff levels uncertainty has made you re-think your renewable energy options, then don’t forget about Heat Pumps.
There’s currently up to £1250 worth of installation grants available through the Renewable Heat Incentive Premium Payment Scheme (which is controlled via the Energy Saving Trust), and from this October, there will be a similar tariff system to that of pv solar panels, for renewable heat sources.
Heat pumps are either Air source of Ground source, taking their heat source from either the surrounding air or ground (which includes ponds etc).
Working like a fridge in reverse, extracting heat from their surroundings and compressing that heat into the home, they work well even in Winter, and can be used to heat your home or it’s water or even boost the input temperature on your central heating and hot water system, so existing boilers work more efficiently and consume less energy.
And there’s no doubt that the recent public solar tariff war between installers and the Government has seen homeowner enquiries for heat pump installations grow considerably.
If you’re interested in lowering your energy bills or doing your bit for the environment (or both) and the you like the idea of a Government grant towards your installation costs – something you won’t find currently available for solar – then heat pumps tick all the boxes and then some.

Will I get 43p solar tariff if…

You have Feed-in Tariff questions

Not our usual type of post granted, but one I thought worthy of inclusion.

A recent question asked on Google, bought someone to our renewable energy blog in search of an answer.

Here’s the question: Will I still get 43p feed in tariff if panels are registered before Dec 12 and fitted later?

I’d have to say ‘No’ since in our experience the panels must be fitted in order for a FiT registration to take place.

Anyone out there have anything further to add or know better? Feel free to leave your comment below.

photo credit: planetofsuccess

900% increase in UK solar generating capacity

The Guardian’s environmental section reported a study into take up of micro generation in the UK had revealed a 900% increase in solar generated capacity, since the feed-in tariffs came into force.

Analysts believe many homeowners waited until the tariffs came into force before planning an installation.

Micro-generation in total has grown by 400% since the tariffs were launched in 2010.

A total of 44,460 separate installations have applied for the tariffs, which help those homeowners and businesses re-coup their instalment investment over a much quicker period than would have normally beed possible.

photo credit: pete

65% totally unaware of Government Feed-in Tariff’s

pssst!
A new survey of 2000 adults in the UK revealed 65% were totally unaware of the Government’s Fee-in Tariff’s.
32% of the survey were unsure how much money they could earn or save from renewable installations on their home.
Feed-in Tariff’s pay the homeowner a set amount per kWh of energy produced from electricity generating renewable sources, like photovoltaic solar panels.
The Tariff’s are guaranteed for a set period of 25 years at the level you initially enter the scheme on. Future revisions of the actual amount paid per kWh will, it’s generally accepted, be reduced, so it makes sense to join the scheme as soon as you’re able to, to maximise your return on investment.
The Tariff payment is made by the Government directly to you and not by your energy company.
The Tariff payments are in addition to the annual savings you could expect to make off of your energy bills with a 2 kW solar system typically saving an average home around £100 a year. That might sound like small change but when coupled with an annual tariff payment of upwards of £800 on a typical 2kWh system then it’s easier to see how you can make a quick return, and over the course of the 25 year Tariff’s life, get a considerable return.
One bright point in the survey was the fact that over 50% of those surveyed would like to install some form of renewable energy generation on their homes.
photo credit: hans van rijnberk
This story appeared in our weekly homeowner newsletter dated 12th September 2011. Click Here to read the full newsletter.