In recent months the mainstream media have been carrying numerous scare stories concerning energy price rises of between 10 and 20 percent for the coming winter. Actually, they are more than just the usual media panics, prices for conventional fuels are indeed increasing and there is undoubtedly reason for concern.
Despite the increasing cost, there is reason for optimism, primarily because the UK has a vibrant solar photovoltaic (PV) industry. So, there is a viable alternative to higher conventional energy prices just waiting to be exploited. Nevertheless, considering the apparent costs of installing a PV system, you may be wondering why it is in your interests to invest. Fortunately, this question can be answered fairly quickly and so here are three great reasons to go solar.
1. Solar PV is a great investment
An efficient system, either based on monocrystalline PV or, even better, a combination of monocrystalline and amorphous PV (known as a hybrid) will save you lots of money on your energy bills. You can easily keep an eye on the amount of energy generated by including a generation meter as part of the installed system and although many PV systems also perform reasonably well in subdued light and during the winter, you can also store excess power in batteries so that you can use it when the PV system isn’t generating power, for example at night.
In addition to saving on your energy bills, the government’s Feed-in Tariff Scheme (FiTS) pays money for supplying excess energy to the national grid. This means that you can either recover the costs of installation relatively quickly (depending on the efficiency of the system you install – a good system may even pay for itself within ten years) or take advantage of numerous ‘free’ PV offers so that you don’t have to fork out the costs yourself (these will be paid directly to the installation company from the FiTS payment while you still save on energy bills).
2. Rising electricity prices
There has been uproar recently over the fact that although energy prices are falling, electricity prices are rising. This is the case for all UK electricity suppliers and although Ofgen are investigating, they are unlikely to do much because they support the free market. The electricity companies themselves blame the rising costs of wholesale gas and electricity and the volatility of the market.
However, there is a whole series of underlying reasons. Britain is having to import more gas from abroad as British gas supplies reach their peak. Oil and gas supplies globally are themselves reaching their peak, that is to say existing fuel reserves are getting harder to extract and new reserves are becoming increasingly harder to find. As conventional fuel reserves start to dwindle, so conventionally generated electricity will increase in price.
In order to fight climate change and adapt to dwindling oil and gas reserves, the British government is investing heavily in renewable energy, such as wind power, and nuclear. The cost of constructing the necessary infrastructure have to be met somewhere, and so this also means that electricity prices will increase. All this means that microgeneration, particularly domestic solar PV is a very good idea right now and will remain so in the future.
3. Reduce your carbon footprint
Climate change is getting worse, not better. In order to do something about this, everyone is going to have to do their bit to reduce their carbon footprint. In terms of energy, one of the best ways to do this is to install a solar panels system. An increasing number of consumers are keen to reduce their carbon footprint and the good news is that a solar PV will knock 1 to 2 tonnes of carbon off your household carbon footprint.
It is also becoming clear that solar PV also encourages consumers to take even closer notice of their household energy usage, further improving the rate of energy use throughout the country and encouraging energy efficiency.