Before we dive deep, let’s first look at the qualifying criteria. Once you’re sure you’ll qualify, move on but one thing you should know is that the criteria varies depending on which region you are in.
In this article, we’ll cover the South West of the UK and South Wales.
In all areas:
- You must live in a privately owned or rented home. Social Housing properties won’t qualify.
- Your home must have a roof space that meets the following specification:
- space that faces roughly SOUTH
- and is not shaded by trees or other buildings
- and has a pitch of approx 20-50 degrees
- and has approx 24m² of space for solar panels*
- Your home must either be heated by an Electric based heating system (e.g. Electric Storage Heaters, Electric Boiler, Electric Room Heaters) or have no heating system at all.
*smaller spaces will only allow a smaller kW Solar PV system to be installed. Prices and grants will vary for other size systems.
Income is defined as a household’s disposable income after they have paid for their rent or mortgage. The household income should include income from all sources, such as net earnings (after tax), income from savings and investments, pensions, all benefits (including housing benefit) and net council tax payments.
Also for those in Exeter, if you apply with QERB.uk you can pretty much get the whole system for free, since they’re in partnership with Exeter City Council. Depending on your roof and other factors, you may have to pay a contribution of up to £2000 but you’re still getting the entire PV System for next to nothing. And then save money in the long run – but we’ll talk about this further down. The offer is new and hasn’t ever been like this but it’s due to new energy obligations.
Solar PV System
So now that you know you qualify, we’ll make sure you’re aware of what is actually going on right now in the UK with Solar PV and why energy companies are suddenly putting Solar PV in the spotlight. And in latest news, what’s happening with the Feed-in Tariff.
Why is there currently an offer?
Like with any other heating scheme, the goal is to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint with greener homes. The government aims to replace outdated inefficient systems with more energy-saving ones and will provide subsidies for the energy funders which in turn, fund the energy companies to go out there and install these systems into people’s homes. For those with electric heating, solar panels are particularly being encouraged now due to the lack of fuels and it being one of the best renewable sources of energy for your home. For the first time ever, the government is offering grants for solar installs to be done at roughly half the price for a typical install.
What is Solar PV and is it worth the hassle?
Solar Photovoltaics is, put simply, the generation of electricity from the sun. Modern systems don’t necessarily require direct sunlight, with the right number of panels, enough electricity can be converted from daylight alone.
To answer the question, “How many solar panels do I need?” you must determine how much energy your household uses; your roof’s usable surface area; the climate and peak sunlight in your area; the wattage and relative efficiency of the photovoltaic (PV) panels you’re considering; and whether net metering is available.
If you’re sure you’ll qualify, the easiest way to answer this question is to call an energy company that work with solar.
What’s the hassle worth?
There’s no point asking how many panels are needed if you’re going to be better off without solar. Yes they may be on offer at the moment but what if it ends up costing you more in the long run? More so, if the Feed-In Tariff is supposedly ending how can the benefits still out-weigh contribution costs and hassle?
- Pollution free, no greenhouse gases and overall reduced carbon footprint.
- Modern energy (lower dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels).
- Available every day of the year, even cloudy days produce some power.
- Return on investment unlike paying for utility bills
- Virtually no maintenance as solar panels last over 30 years
- Creates jobs by employing solar panel manufacturers, solar installers, etc. and in turn helps the economy
- Use batteries to store extra power for use at night
- Solar can be used to heat water, power homes and building, even power cars
- Safer than traditional electric current
- New Smart Export Guarantee (Feed-in Tariff replacement)
- High initial costs for material and installation and long ROI, although if you’re moving, it could increase the value of your home.
- No solar power at night so there is a need for a large battery bank
- Some people think they are ugly
- Devices that run on DC power directly are more expensive
- Depending on geographical location the size of the solar panels vary for the same power generation
- Cloudy days do not produce much energy
- Lower production in the winter months
- Discontinued Feed-in Tariff
Need more heating advice?
If you require more heating advice, or you’re looking for the cheapest deals, we recommend QERB Energy for your installs in the South West as they are offering the lowest rates for a 4kW Solar PV System for £1499. In Exeter, they are offering the system at no cost due to being partnered with EDF Energy & Exeter City Council.