Saturday, 6 February 2010

Solar panel loans to help homeowners invest in green energy

shiny solar panelsImage by now picnic via Flickr
The British Government is proposing to offer loans so householders can install solar panels. This is not a new idea, as in the US so companies and local authorities have already started doing this.

The cost of installing solar panels on a typical house in the UK costs @ £12,000. This is more than many families can afford in the current economic climate. The loans will repaid with the savings householders make from the electricity they generate. The model relies on the recently announced ‘feed-in tariff’ that will give householders an income from feeding surplus electricity into the National Grid. This could amount to hundreds of pounds a year.

The tariff pays up to 36p per kW/hr of electricity generated form not only solar panels but also wind turbines, hydro power or anaerobic digestion. This is paid even if the electricity generated by these means is not fed into the National Grid but used instead by the householder. Any that is fed back into the grid will mean an extra 6p is paid for every unit.

However, despite the enthusiasm of the government for the scheme, not everyone is happy. Many say its too little too late. However, we have to start somewhere and once the scheme is off the ground and the money starts flowing into the pockets of householders (and business benefits through the installation of the panels), it will be easier to assess how well the scheme is doing and to argue for improvements.
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