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Solar panels ‘are still a good investment’
3:53pm Monday 22nd October 2012 in Lifestyle
Although the Government cut the subsidies on solar panels this week Stourbridge energy expert Colin Priest reckons they are still a good investment.
On Thursday (November 1) the Feed-in Tariffs scheme, which is the money given to residents who install solar panels and receive rebates for the electricity generated, was reduced from 16p to 15.5p per kilowatt hour (Kwh) for the average home with systems smaller than 4 kilowatt.
“Although it is a small reduction,” said Colin, who lives in Quarry Bank and works for Noreus Ltd in Stafford, “householders have to remember that the installation costs have fallen considerably this year and also that the revenue earned is tax free and index linked for 20 years.”
His views were backed both by the not-for-profit energy group Ebico and by the Energy Saving Trust, a non-profit organisation jointly funded by the Government and the private sector to promote the use of green energy.
Ebico calculates that the annual income generated by a the investment would be up to seven per cent and that the solar panels would pay for themselves within 14 years and the householders would receive an extra £3,000 every year for the remaining six years.
The Energy Saving Trust, which listed installing solar panels in its top ten energy saving tips, also pointed out those residents would save on average £237 a year in energy bills.
Other suggestions from the trust include cavity wall and loft insulation as a home can lose a quarter of its heat through a roof which is not insulated.
Colin suggests spray foaming your loft with the Icynene Insulation System which is an environmentally friendly and non toxic investment for your home. It comes with a lifetime warranty (www.icynene.com) and reduces heating bills by up to 50 per cent. The Energy Saving Trust also advises buying a halogen oven which uses 75 per cent less electricity than a conventional one and can roast a chicken in 30 minutes.
One of the cheapest and most efficient ways to save energy that is often overlooked is draught-proofing and sealing windows, doors, loft hatches and pipe work leading outside. And don’t forget the letterbox and as the British-invented Ecoflap which replaces the brush, seal and gravity flap and uses the wind to blow it shut.
Another suggestion is lighting, which accounts for eight per cent of the typical household energy bills, and replacing each bulb with an eco one will save around £3 a year.
They also advise householders to block their chimney as an unblocked fireplace can literally mean money up the chimney. One alternative is the ingenious Heatsaver transparent Perspex fireplace shield that lets you see your fireplace but seals it when not being used – and is easily removed when you want to light your fire.
Finally, the trust recommends in the bathroom a £25 water-saving energy efficient shower head that pay for itself in a year.
For more details about energy-saving call Colin on 0845 474 6641.