Are Ikea’s solar panels a good deal?
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Swedish home furniture giants Ikea are to begin selling solar panels in all 18 UK based stores within 10 months, following a successful trial period, but do they offer value for money and should you even consider buying solar panels from a furniture store?

Firstly, their price of £5,700 for a 3.36kW system, which is the size for a typical semi-detached property, is expensive. Comparing pricesfrom accredited solar installers shows that a larger 4kW system can now be installed for under £5,000, and a 3kW system for as low as £4,000. Though Ikea have to start somewhere

On the plus side the investment figures still stack up, with Ikea’s smaller 3.36kW system, on a south-facing roof in Southampton, forecast to earn £770 each year from the Government Feed-in-Tariff (guaranteed for 20 years) – meaning you can recoup the cost within just 7 years.

Though installing the same size system for a lower cost from an accredited solar installer makes more sense and will give you a shorter repayment period.

From a personal opinion, Ikea are making a smart move, they have seen the Solar Panel business on the rise and must be expecting a big boom soon like the rest of us. Hence the first UK solar advert airing last week and the noise Solar has been making in the news recently

New to Solar Panels? Here’s an introduction!

Did you know? The amount of the Sun’s Energy hitting the Earth Solar-System
daily is enough to power the entire planet 20,000 times over. And yet we only harvest a tiny fraction of this valuable resource that will continue to provide us with Free Energy for another 4 billion years.
If you had an oil or gas well under your Home or Business would you extract it?
Why ignore the most powerful resource known to man? Solar Energy is a clean form of renewable energy that if utilised correctly can provide vast amounts of energy daily & save your home or business  a lot of money over the lifetime of the system (roughly £17,000 over 20 years.)
With Energy costs constantly rising & our demand for fuel growing all the time,we are at serious risk of fuel poverty if we don’t reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Lets not run on dead Dinosaurs! We need to look at alternative, renewable way of heating our homes & businesses.
In 2012 the population reached 7 billion & the UN estimates by 2050 it will reach 9.2 billion by which time the Worlds fuel reserves will be 75% less.
 Either we stop going at it like rabbits or we change to renewable energy, I think we all know which one we would prefer!

Solar Panels providing Solar Water Heating

Solar Water heating can provide up to 70% of domestic hot water annually thus
reducing your reliance on fossil fuels which will equate to an approximate 30% saving on fuel. There are also environmental benefits to solar energy. A typical domestic system can save approximately 350kg of COannually or over one third of a tonne.

How Solar Panels Work

How it works – Solar panels are mounted on your roof ideally 45East/West of due South 1800. There are possibilities if you don’t have a South facing aspect but ideally anywhere within that 90windows optimum. Because solar technology has progressed so much in recent years they don’t need direct sunlight as they work on natural daylight.
At daybreak your panels heat up. The energy is sent from your roof to your hot water
tank via stainless steel insulated pipework & is transferred to your hot water cylinder.
When the temperature in your cylinder is reached the pump shuts off & you have a
fully heated tank of water at your disposal. When you run a bath or take a shower
the temperature in your hot water tank drops & the sensor tells the pump to deliver
more energy to the tank. The new heat that is being stored in your panels is sent straight down to your tank so even whilst you are showering your water is reheating. It’s a bit like leaving an immersion heater on all day except you are getting free energy from the sun. It really is that simple…
How to keep your Solar Panels efficient 
There are new materials coming out all the time to make Solar Panels more efficient e.g. new cells, metals. So my advice is to research a few companies that have the key ingredients so you know your Solar Panel will at the top of it’s game! Sort of things you would need to look for are Solar Panels with less wires as they would block sunlight, PVT cells etc.
Over a period of time your Solar Panels will get a bit mucky, just like how a glass house does over the years. This affects how efficient the panel is and will slow how much electricity you make right down. There are solutions to the problem though, in fact there are solutions for the solution! Basically you can buy most of the products to clean your Solar Panels online. I recommend a good Solar Panel cleaning solution and at least a 24ft cleaning pole if you’re too lazy to go up the ladder with a wet rag! If you are even lazier or have money to burn, (usually come hand-in hand) You can hire cleaning companies to do it for you that range from about £30-£50.
Until the next time, I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!

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.

Tariff cuts – Government appeals to Supreme Court

It was announced last week, 2 days before the 25th deadline date, that the Government has indeed appealed to the Supreme Court.

It’s hoping the Supreme Court will overturn an earlier Appeal Court decision that it’s December 12th (2011) tariff cuts were not unlawful.

If the Gov’t looses this appeal, then the feed-in tariff rate of 43p should apply retrospectively to all pv solar installs carried out before the 3rd March 2012.

Fingers crossed!

photo credit: jo naylor

Don’t submit your Energy Performance Certificate after your tariff application

From the 1st April, the Government is proposing that properties fitting solar pv installations to claim the FiT tariff will have to meet a minimum Band ‘D’ energy efficiency level.

Otherwise, the tariff paid is reduced.

What might catch some households out is thinking they can apply for the tariffs and submit their EPC afterwards.

If you do, you’ll only be awarded the lower tariff and that won’t be upgraded to the full tariff later. So it’s imperative to get your EPC before you submit your tariff application.

You can find more feed-in tariff questions and answers on the Governments DECC website here.

photo credit: dave hosford


Solar panels will help you meet Band D tariff criteria

I’m indebted to Business Green for confirming, what many, in the Solar PV industry had been suggesting would be the case.

According to them, installing solar PV panels that contribute to your home achieving the minimum band ‘D’ energy performance certificate will then be eligible for the solar tariffs.

So some band ‘E’ properties will be able to upgrade their property’s energy performance and qualify for the tariffs without having to do any further energy improvement work.

It should be remembered that households will still have to produce a minimum band ‘D’ certificate before they can apply for the solar tariffs so there may be a gap between paying for your solar installation and claiming the FiT payment.

Also, the banding eligibility situation could be tightened at any time and new FiT claimants could find themselves having to upgrade to a band ‘C’ before their solar panels installation is eligible.

The recent new tariff announcements / proposals for the 1st April onwards demonstrate that things are liable to change all to quickly.

photo credit: zimpenfish

Solar tariff increases for early installers to 45.4p per kWh

Ofgem have announced feed-in tariff increases for installations currently enjoying the 43.3p per kWh tariff rate.

Solar PV installations up to the 12th December 2011, on the 43.3p rate will see an increase to 45.4p per kWh from 1st April.

Of course, if the Government’s December 12th FiT reduction to 21p per kWh is deemed ‘illegal’ and they loose their Supreme Court appeal, then the 45.4p kWh tariff will apply to all PV installations before the 3rd March 2012.

The increase is in line with the Retail Price Index (as of December 2011). Installations on or after the 3rd March 2012 will see an increase, inline with inflation, in April 2013.

photo credit: franco

Feed-in Tariff is back to 43p – solar panels have never been better value

Today, the Appeal Court ruled in favour of the Solar Panel industry and threw out the Government’s appeal against the original decision that the solar tariff cuts were illegal.

This means the current feed in tariff rate is back to the pre-december 12th level of 43p (for new installations).

The Government’s announced it intends to appeal to the Supreme Court but as all 3 judges on the Appeal Court were unanimous in their decision, it sounds an unlikely prospect the Government would win.

The 43p feed in tariff rate is excellent news for homeowners who could make a very quick return on their installation costs, given the fact that those costs have fallen so much in recent weeks.

For example, we’ve seen offers of a 4kW solar panel system from £7995.

If you were waiting for the Appeal Courts decision before making your own, then now is definitely the time to get your solar panel quote – click here and see what offers your local installers have.

photo credit: metku

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

Feed-in tariff cuts appeal – what if the Government looses?

One or two homeowners using our online Solar Panel installation quoting service, have afterwards, in conversation with our customer advisor team mentioned a February date for the tariff changes.

Whilst there’s nothing regarding this on the DECC website, I did come across this article on Business Green.

I won’t repeat their post verbatim but essentially, where homeowners might have got this ‘February date’ from is the fact that if the Government looses it’s appeal tomorrow (Friday), then it will have to put before Parliament its proposed legislation, which would include the rate the tariff will be cut too, for a consultation period of 40 days, to allow for changes or amendments.

This would put the revised tariff cuts happening around the middle of February (2012).

Interestingly, in a completely separate conversation with one of our network of approved solar installers on the current legal ‘battle’, he commented that many believe if the Government loose the appeal and the FiT rate cut is reversed, then the Government will merely reduce the tariff to say 19p rather that the current 21p when they can implement the change.

That speculation could see another ‘rush’ of installation enquiries as homeowners would undoubtedly want to get their installation completed and registered before the new, possible lower, cuts came into effect.

We’ll find out tomorrow. Good luck everybody.

p.s Despite certain ‘factions’ claiming the uncertainty over the tariffs is denting consumer confidence, our own instant online quote website for Solar Panel Installations has never been busier, and since the return after Christmas, we’ve more solar panel companies than ever before joining our database of reputable companies.

photo credit: h. michael karshis