- Why should I be considering solar in my home or business?
- What is the difference between Solar Thermal and Solar Photovoltaic?
- Is there enough sunshine in the UK for solar energy?
- Isn't it too cold and wet in the UK for solar to work properly?
- Will Solar increase the value of my property?
- I have heard that the Feed In Tariff has been slashed, so is solar PV still a good investment?
- What accreditations should I be looking for when choosing an installer?
- What are the main advantages of Solar Water Heating?
- Will adding a solar hot water system make a significant difference to my carbon emissions?
- Do solar thermal systems produce hot water on a cloudy/overcast day?
- Do solar thermal systems require any maintenance?
The cost of energy is not coming down. The average increase over the last 10 years has been 7.5% a year. Over the last five years it has been nearer 10%. Even the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) predict increases of 2.66% above background inflation each year going forward. This equates to only 5.6% a year which many consider unduely optimistic.
Global demand for energy is increasing and UK production is falling. It is acknowledged that any increases in supply from non-renewable sources (including nuclear or fracking) will have no positive impact on domestic energy prices or their rate of increase. Despite recent stability in energy costs, there already signs of returning upward pressure on prices.
Installing renewable technologies and generating your own energy can help protect you from these inexorable increases.
Climate change is now fully recognised as a global problem that needs addressing. The UK has committed to reducing carbon emissions. A breakdown of annual UK carbon emissions shows that domestic emissions are the third biggest contributor, marginally behind transport, with business emissions being the highest. This means it is vital to decrease our domestic and business energy usage from non-renwable sources if the UK is going to meet its targets.
While Photovoltaic uses the sun to generate electrical energy, the solar thermal energy systems transform the sun into heat that can be used to provide hot water.
Compared to the equator, the UK receives approximately 60% of the energy received there, ample to operate an efficient solar panel system as long as the collectors are sized according to the required output.
No, because solar collectors work even if it's freezing cold, all they need is sunlight and we get enough of that, even on a cloudy day. Both solar PV and solar thermal still produce energy on overcast days.
We would never be bold enough to state this would be the case. However, ask yourself this. Would you rather buy a house with lower running costs and possibly a tax free index linked income attached, or one without? Feed In Tariff payments are transferrable to a new owner. A recent survey in 2012 by ING Direct found it top of the list of extras prospective buyers looked for in their next home. We will leave you to draw your own conclusions.
The feed in tariff has dropped significantly since it was first introduced in 2010.
However, back in 2010 a standard solar PV installation cost over £16,000. With advances in solar technology the costs of installation have dropped by over 60%, and the current systems are far more efficient, generating more energy. With the current feed in tariff it's still possible to achieve returns better than the bank, so solar is still an excellent investment.
The Micro generation Certification Scheme (MCS) is an independent scheme that certifies products and installers against a rigorous set of standards. MCS is designed to ensure consumers can have confidence in both the products which they purchase and the companys who install them. You will only qualify for the Feed In Tariff and the Renewable Heat Incentive if both MCS registered products and installer are used
MCS is also backed by the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC). The code is approved by the Trading Standard Institute. All MCS registered installers must be members and adhere to the code.
Ensure the business you are dealing with is MCS registered.
There are numerous cases of people operating as sales organisations or surveyors who themselves are not registered. They pass any business they secure either directly or indirectly to a business that is registered, in many cases holding no responsibility for the work undertaken and simply take a fat commission. Such practices are in breach of MCS and RECC regulations. How ever plausible a business may seem, please do not deal with them unless they can prove they are MCS registered. Do not risk missing the full protection put in place for you.
Also look out for membership of the trade body The Solar Trade Asscociation. You can be sure businesses that are members are serious about the industry.
Solar thermal hot water systems have many advantages for use both domestically and commercially. They are non-polluting as they are fuelled by the light from the sun therefore cutting down on greenhouse emissions. As the sun heats the water, solar water heaters save on energy reducing the consumption of non-renewables. This means less energy consumptions lowering the cost of supplying hot water, thus reducing utility bills. Solar thermal addresses a diffent part of a buildings total energy requirement.
Yes. A breakdown of annual CO2 emissions from a semi-detached house which will be constructed to the current Building Regulations standards Approval document shows that space heating and water heating combined account for 53% of CO2 emissions. Decarbonising heat is an even bigger challenge than decarboning electricity supply. Solar thermal contibutes to this. Demand for hot water is not something that can be insulated away.
Solar systems will be able to provide heating during cloudy or overcast days, they operate effectively in ambient light as well as direct. Higher temperatures will of course be reached in direct sunlight though ambient should also be able to reach the required temperatures – the use of traditional gas or electric heating system (secondary heat source) may be required to achieve the required temperatures on darker and shorter days.
Maintenance of the system is negligible; however, an annual service of the solar system is recommended to help to maintain efficiency levels and to help avoid potential long term problems with the system.