Solar PV panels, one small step for man: one giant leap for mankind
It’s been an unfortunate couple of weeks for the government, and a perplexing time for anyone interested in renewable energy or committed to reducing their carbon footprint. First it was reluctantly forced to backtrack on its green pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 2020, claiming this was impractical given the severity of the recession. Then it had to accept that its new ‘Green Deal’ would actually increase the price of the average domestic energy bill by as much as £280 per year by 2020. That’s on top of the slashing of Feed in Tariff rates for new PVhouseholds. In fairness though, it did reaffirm its commitment to green energy by launching a consultation on its Green Deal programme; the scheme designed to encourage consumers to take out subsidised loans to help make their homes more energy efficient, thereby reducing their energy bills. So, you’d be forgiven if you’re a little troubled and confused by events.
If the government can’t commit to reducing carbon emissions, what hope is there for the rest of the population? Is there any point taking measures to reduce your own energy consumption or sourcing alternative environmentally-friendly energy sources if the administration isn’t prepared to do it? Well, yes there is. Renewable energy sources are good for the planet and will ultimately help to reduce the long-term effects of global warming. You might think that taking action unilaterally is pointless, but it’s not. If every household did installand created their own electricity, this would have a significant impact on greenhouse emissions. We’ve heard the phrase ‘one small step for man: one giant leap for mankind.’ Well this is the same. If we all do our own little bit to reduce emissions, then collectively we can make a huge difference. Oh, and if that doesn’t convince you entirely, it’s worth remembering that solar PV electricity can also save you money and pay for itself. That surely has to be a win-win situation.
So what makes Solar PV panels so environmentally-friendly?
Solar PV panels use the sun as their source of energy, harnessing its power and turning it into electricity. Obviously it’s therefore free, which makes it particularly attractive. Solar electric or photovoltaic (PV) technology converts daylight directly into electricity. This generated electricity can power your business and home. The advantages don’t just stop there however. Solar energy is the cleanest and most environmentally- friendly energy source.
- Unlike gas, oil or coal, solar energy is clean, renewable and sustainable. By installing solar PV panels you will be doing your own little bit to help protect our environment.
- Solar energy doesn’t pollute our air by releasing carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide or mercury into the atmosphere like many traditional forms of electrical generation does. PV panels produce clean, emission-free energy: they can potentially reduce carbon footprints, by saving 0.54kg of carbon dioxide emissions in each kilowatt hour.
- Solar energy doesn’t contribute to global warming, acid rain or smog.
- It actively contributes to the decrease of harmful green house gas emissions.
- It’s generated where it is needed.
- Solar PV panels do not require fuel to generate energy, and therefore do not contribute to the cost and problems of the recovery and transportation of fuel or the storage of radioactive waste.
Solar PV panels can also help to save you money
If the green incentives aren’t enough to persuade you to invest in clean energy, then you might also like to consider this. Even though Feed-in-Tariff rates are set to drop from 13 December, 2011, from 43.3p per kWh of solar electricity to just 21 pence, the return on investment is still set to return around 8 percent which is considerably better than most ISAs or other investments. Although this now means that someone installing £8-10,000 solar panels will require 9 or 10 years to recoup the cost of their investment rather than 8, it’s still a worthwhile investment. Feed in Tariff rates are market-led and therefore subject to competition. The best value Fit rate on the market at the moment is offered by Utility Warehouse, which has pledged to offer an additional 2 pence per KWh on top of the standard rate, and surely other utility providers will follow this lead. At these rates solar panel customers on the new tariff can expect to earn somewhere in the region of £700 per year from the Generation Tariff, £25 per year from the Export Tariff, and £110 per year reduction in current electricity bills.