Solar, is there a sunny future?
Simple answer, yes!
Solar is still the most cost effective way of a renewable energy source to a property.
The Governments Feed In Tariff (FIT) and the current Export Tariff payments have now ended (read more; The final cut). Although there are plans for a new system allowing owners of solar PV systems to get paid for any energy they send to the grid.
Inevitably this will result in higher payback periods for customers with only solar PV installed, but by sizing systems correctly as well as adding and utilizing the latest technology we can bring those payback periods back down.
Increasing self-consumption is the key to reducing payback periods, the more of your generated solar you use, the less you send back to the grid for free…only to have to buy it again later!
Initially the main way we do this is to cover the base load of your property, as this is usually only a small amount we ensure that there is enough solar PV to satisfy this demand, anything extra can then be used in a variety of other ways.
Usually the first step to use up any surplus production is to add an immersion controller. This is a small device that monitors what is going on in your property and when there is energy left over it will divert this to heat hot water in an immersion tank, effectively you get free hot water! Obviously this will only work in properties where water is heated using an immersion heater.
Another option is an EV charger, we often use the Zappi. This brilliant device works like an immersion controller, it will monitor energy flow in a property and then send any surplus power to charge an electric vehicle, basically you can “Charge your EV from your PV”. Much like immersion control, this does rely on having an electric vehicle (or planning to get one!).
Battery storage is another level of technology we can add to a system, this will store surplus energy for you to use later. Despite the misconceptions around the price and lifespan of batteries, we feel that it is a viable product to add in with a renewables system. Even more so now that the feed in tariff has gone, and energy prices are on the rise.
There are a range of battery storage solutions available, different technologies and different uses, our blog here explains a little more about storage Battery Storage in the UK.
A fully integrated system. The crème de la crème of renewables systems! Hitting that top level self-consumption is what we aim for, by using several of the technologies we stock it is possible to have a fully integrated system comprising of immersion control, EV charging, and battery storage, all working together to ensure that you are making the most of every drop of energy that you produce. This can all be cleverly programmed to suit your needs, whether that is charging your car before you get hot water, or making sure that your batteries are charged before that power is sent elsewhere.
Calculating energy savings and payback periods can be a very hard thing to do as it is very bespoke. It all comes down to how much you use, how much solar you have (even down to how many degrees it is to facing South), whether you add on devices for immersion control / self consumption, and how much storage you install with your solar array.
We estimate that you will save at least £400 pounds a year on your energy bill, and most payback periods will be between 11 and 20 years*. For a full quote please feel free to get in touch with us, one of our team will be able to provide a free no-obligation quote.
Ultimately we feel the market is looking alright, although a drop off in installations is expected, there has been a small shift in the mind-set around installing renewables. No longer are people doing it solely just to get the governments FIT payments but more to protect themselves from increasing energy prices, as well as moving to green energy to offset grid usage from an environmental point of view.
With plans for a new export tariff BIES announces new export tariff plan set by the energy companies themselves this could add a new incentive for property owners to install solar PV, these plans are in the consultation phase at the moment, but as soon as we hear more around this we’ll put up a new blog explaining how this is likely to work…watch this space!
*Calculations based on an average energy price of 15p per unit. 4kW of South facing solar PV, and combined 6kWh of battery storage. Payback periods can be higher than 20 years, this is dependent on energy price and usage…on the flip side they could be lower than 11 years!