Solar Update

by @edent | # # # # | 1 comment

Another in my occasional series of blog posts about our solar panels.

We used both the Energy Saving Trust Solar Power calculator and the Europa Solar Calculator to estimate a generation capacity of between 2,500 and 2,700 kWh per year.

Solar Estimate

We’ve just done a reading for 21 November to 21 February. Right in line with expectations, we generated 205kWh – netting us ~£96 from the Feed In Tariff.

Over 15 months we’ve generated a total of 3376kWh. Again, totally in line with the top end of expectations. Which gives me happy feelings whenever I see the sun shine.

burns excellent sunshine

So why aren’t more people doing this? The prices of solar panels have fallen so much that a regular 4kWh installation costs around £7,000. Granted, that’s a chunk of money – but it’s nothing compared to the price of a house. Why isn’t every new-build house kitted out with one?

The point of solar power (in the UK at least) is not to go “off grid” or be completely energy independent. The point is to reduce the load on the existing grid and to give us more time to construct extra, greener energy generating capacity.

Our personal electricity usage is about 13kWh per day. Call it 5,000kWh per year. At the moment, we generate roughly half of that through solar power. Sure, a large part of our usage happens at night when the sun isn’t shining – but it’s easily enough to drop the load required for powering the fridge, washing machine, broadband and wifi, and all the other devices left on during the day.

Better local storage of energy would be nice, but given we can export it to people who are using electricity – it’s not vital.

Just imagine if we could cut the cost of our electricity bills in half – permanently!

As Professor Sue Roaf pointed out in a comment on The Guardian, the UK is proposing a £240 Billion subsidy for new nuclear plants. That’s £10,000 for each household – enough to pay for solar panels, insulation, smart meters, and more efficient heating equipment.

Surely that’s the sensible way to go? Give every household a £10k subsidy which they can spend on reducing energy usage and generating their own power. This is cheap and reliable technology which – crucially – has no chance of melting down and causing a nuclear winter. Getting installers working would boost employment all over the country, would lift thousands of families out of fuel poverty, and provide the country with energy security for the future.

That can never happen; it’s far too sensible.

One thought on “Solar Update

  1. By definition “Sustainability” is ultimately characterised by way of a system which requires no subsidy in the long term. However,Photovoltaic as well as other forms of Green energy sources will still require a heavily subsidised system set up for a length of time to permit it to develop in a protected environment and take roots to be able to ultimately have the opportunity of competing against fossil fuels and the nuclear power which right now we rely so heavily upon. But for just how long will this support be needed?

    I don’t think that anybody who actively entered into or enters the business either as an investor, customer, company owner or installer thought that the initial subsidies were sustainable or indeed healthy for the industry over time but without them the industry would not be where it is today!

    However, many individuals built their UK business models around subsidy guidelines comprising the feed in tariff system that has been changed radically by government and caused many organizations to go bust and made unemployed lots of the workers who had been drawn into the industry. This is all fact! After reviewing the Energy industry as a whole, the Economy and ways in which best to integrate Renewable kinds of generation into the domain for the greater good of all i created the design for a system which will result in “Grid Cost Parity” for renewables and that will not require a subsidy system to work.

    In a nutshell, The conceptual background to the current patent application is founded on the benefits belonging to the practice of sharecropping by communities on a collective basis embedded within a competitive marketplace by directly attaching the rights and distribution to the output of the crop (In this case Sustainable energy Electricity, farmed on a large scale basis) directly back to the owning individuals within defined limits for his / her own personal useage and therefore outside the monetary and taxation system. This financial approach being in line with all the Governments current policy with regards to the benefits obtainable from the current feed in tarrif system for domestic installations.

    For those who are truly an enthusiast of finding and supporting a way to make the world a significantly better place then please visit my website and follow the tab to the Patent Application which has all the details of the design that is now at the publication stage with the Intellectual Property Office in the UK.Please be aware that the application is only for the UK and the design can be used as the cornerstone for any project outside of the UK on an open source basis.
    More information on this application along with other articles which i’ve written about the subject, including “Why and How the Government and the Energy Companies Sacrificed thousands of Jobs in the Solar PV Industry” are also open for discussion on my Solar blog page.

    I truly believe the best way forward is to keep installing although the Green deal is actually just another load of Green Spin Policy.

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