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PERFORMANCE ISSUES, PAYBACK PERIODS AND GRANTS FOR SOLAR PANELS IN THE UK

All of the panels that we supply are capable of producing excellent results in UK conditions; they are all very efficient in their ability to collect Solar energy. But! This is the UK, and as we have seen this last year the weather can be very unpredictable. Most Solar Panels will work in light cloud conditions, but no panel will work if the clouds are black with rain. Other factors such position in the UK, length of internal pipe runs and customer use, will all affect the panel performance. There are figures widely available for potential Solar energy for each area of the country, but these should be treated as the absolute maximum achievable.

Possible Payback Times

Now for the big question! How quickly will the panel pay for itself?

As the industry grows, more and more information is becoming available on this issue. Generally speaking a good quality Solar Panel installed correctly by a professional installer should be capable of producing up to about 70% of a household's hot water requirements for a calendar year. Obviously, this is averaged over the year, where during the summer it will take over completely and winter times when there will be little or nothing input to the hot water storage cylinder. We must remember that they are an addition to the conventional system providing hot water, pre-heating the water and therefore reducing the energy that conventional boiler needs to meet the hot water requirements of the household. Based on being constantly in the field, in contact with our customers, the general picture that we get is that the payback period will vary from 4 years up to ten. In reality with so many variables in the equation it is impossible to predict the time precisely. For example if fuel prices suddenly went through the roof a lot of people who have already gone Solar would be rubbing their hands with glee.
The final factor that affects payback it's you the customer. For example, the solar hot water systems are designed to customer's hot water daily requirements. If a family takes showers instead of baths, uses dishwasher instead of traditionally washing the dishes in the sink and or uses the washing machine on low temperature cycles, your hot water usage will be mainly reduced bringing the over hall installation costs down and so reducing the payback period. On the other side if you want to take loads of hot baths during the day or are running a B&B for example, then this would require a different type of installation, which would be more costly and therefore increasing slightly the payback period.

Solar Panel Grants

Unfortunately the current government support of 'micro generation' is appalling. In some areas grants are available, but generally the support is poor. We can help you with the documentation for the grant application form. Any Solar Panel installation we carry out will not only be in line with the manufacturer's recommended installation guidelines, but it will also be in line with current BPEC, Micro Generation Certification and British Standards.
If any grant application you make is refused or stalled on the quality of the installation. We will return free of charge and make any necessary alterations. Small & Medium Sized Businesses can apply for interest free renewable energy loans from the Carbon Trust. You can borrow from £5,000 to £100,000 unsecured, interest free and repayable over a period of up to 4 years.
Go to:
http://www.carbontrust.com/home/
or call us on 0800 917 0993 for more information.



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