Solar Energy (scheme is effectively dead)

In view of the revised FIT from 2016 this page will only remain active until the middle of the year

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October 2011 Because of the government much reduced payment scheme this page has had to be drastically revised

This solar panels cost comparison site offers information to get three quotes anywhere in the UK.

For information of the Feed in Tariff you would get if you install a PV (Photovoltaic) system on your roof see

A report October 2015  The estimated cost of solar panels on a large 7 x 4 metre area is now around 6000 plus around 500 for fitting and connecting to your supply. Until the end of 2015 the tariff would have enabled you to pay this off in savings in about ten years and the following ten years would have resulted in savings of around the same (6000 or so). However, as I mentioned below, the government set the feed in tariff (FIT) and length it would paid at an over- generous level. This will be reduced and will mean that it would take at least 25 years to even pay off the cost. This effectively means that the scheme is dead.  If they have an energy efficiency level of D and above they could still qualify for a FIT of as much as 12.47p per kWh but below D this would be reduced to 5.94p

The new rates 2016

Since the initial over-generous scheme commenced in 2010 the FIT has been considerably reduced and the promise to pay has come down from 25 years to 20. In addition, the efficiency of a system is taken into account. So far, a quarter of a million installations have been agreed - 99% of which are PV type. Even since the lower rate has been announced there has been a rush to install with 100,000 new systems between January and March 2012

The hastily produced government reports contain obvious errors, one stating that the new rate would be paid from December 1012 (!!) and the attached extract from the Energy Savings Trust also contains an obvious error, which we have to assume is 2013. So, I do hope you can make something of the tariffs. Although installations were increasing at an exponential rate I somehow doubt that this will continue at the same rate. And, like the latest idea of cladding the outside of old houses, not much thought is given to the LOOK of a property.


Old links.....In view of the reduced FIT rates in 2016 the following information is out of date.  The whole page will be drastically revised in 2016  This page does NOT deal with solar water heating, which is currently not as generously subsidised by the government - see below.   has some interesting figures which show the average savings on electricity bills (regardless of any FIT payments)

Even at the lower rate the scheme would still have paid the tax free and inflation proofed FIT (Feed In Tariff) for 20 years, so it would have still been attractive to higher tax payers and people who wish to be environmentally friendly, especially as energy costs continue to rise and 2015 is expected to be a crisis year as coal fired stations are closed down all over Europe.

I have a feeling that many people will continue to install panels, just as they may buy fair trade bananas or other 'world friendly' deals.  Yes, the payback will take longer but it is still a payback (unlike money in a bank). The earlier FIT tariff was altogether too generous and will continue to pay the well-off at the expense of the rest. 
And who is paying for all this ?  Er... YOU ARE ! Because the cost is spread between the electricity companies, who pass it on to customers.

Solar energy in most parts of the world is used for heating water. But government grants for renewable water heating installations are comparatively poor.  In fact, in most cases, they will only be given for equipment in houses NOT heated by mains gas (because other forms of heating: (coal, oil, wood and electricity) produce more carbon than mains gas, and the aim is to reduce the amount of carbon produced . However a one-off grant of 300 may be awarded for a solar heated hot water system.

If you are still interested what are the rules ?  

You need a  large roughly south-facing sloping roof (25 - 45 degrees) with suitable 12 - 30 square metres (as much as 10ft by 22ft) and most companies say you need to be south of Newcastle on Tyne.  If your roof is facing East or West it would be at least 15% less effective but, nevertheless it would work during daylight.
Planning permission is not generally required as long as the installation does not protrude more than 200mm above the roof line. See But you are unlikely to get permission for a listed building or in a conservation area.

You financially gain in two ways: (Now outdated)
(1) The electricity that is fed into the power grid, for which your electricity company will pay you around 21p per kilowatt hour (kWh) - which is more than you pay your power company now.
(2) Plus a smaller amount for electricity which you generate for your own use.
(3) AND you save again by reducing your electricity bills.

 The Energy Saving Trust has cut its estimate of a typical home's annual savings to 70/year, as its research shows more electricity goes back to the grid than previously thought  See Calculator

You may even get your panels installed free by some companies but with free panels you don't keep 'feed-in' tariff. The company fits panels but they then keep the feed-in gain. You just keep the electricity saving, though prices are predicted to rise massively over 20 years, so the saving could increase. But leasing your roof to a company could add complications when you come to sell (or move on for other reasons!)

** These 'free' schemes are likely to have dried up because they are no longer so profitable for the companies

Rules if a company supplies panels :  The company should provide the consumer with

Full list of fitters & free panel companies in the Updated Guide  "Free" panels:

For purchased panels see  Note that most want an area of around 24m2.  That is no small area.  In old money that would be at least 10 foot by 22 foot. For people who are prepared the pay more it is even possible to have panels in tile form

See also : MoneySavingsExpert Solar Panels Related: Cheap Gas & Electricity, Energy Grants

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