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Case Studies

Dear Richard,
The Solar heater is now up and running and I must say that I’m absolutely delighted with it, haven’t checked my fuel bills yet but can say that during that period of about six sunny days just recently I didn’t need to have the normal gas heater on at all and there was enough heat in the water all day, and it’s still only February. Your installers were excellent, very professional indeed, the plumbing in the airing cupboard was a work of art and the array on the roof was placed in just the right place and most importantly, symmetric. Actually it looks very smart and non-intrusive, the next door people have said the same, yes, I’m very pleased with it.
Best regards, Guy

Why Photovoltaic Microgeneration?
For many years I have been promoting the use of plant-derived renewable raw materials in applications such as plastics, lubricants and natural fibres in composites. As a result, I had also become aware of the many sources of renewable energy – wind, wave, biomass and photovoltaic. In 2003, when domestic PV systems were still in their infancy, we installed solar panels to heat our water. Although I am sure we have benefited, the financial case is not so robust even though energy prices have since risen dramatically. Providing hot water for heating and washing meets only part of our energy needs and dishwashers and washing machines are ‘cold fill’. So PV seemed to be the answer.

  1. 1) It provides energy all year round – its sunny days we need not high temperatures so can operate on a cold winter’s day with clear skies just as well as in the  summer – albeit with shorter daylight hours.

  2. 2) Once installed, the system is unobtrusive and our south facing roof angled at 35o is ideal

  3. 3) The Government Grant helps with the initial capital outlay

  4. 4) The high Feed Input Tariff provides a good return on this investment

  5. 5) It’s very satisfying to see the total generation gradually increase – we’re now up  to 460 KWh after two and a half months from a 1.8 KW system and are, therefore, well on the way to meet the annual1500 KWh target.

Why Solar Installers?
A number of organisations had been leafleting us about solar and PV in recent years and when we took the plunge to invite Solar Installers to present their case it was very convincing. They seemed to know what they were doing and the sales pitch was low key. We didn’t feel pressured.

Our experience of dealing with the company and the installation process
The installation process was more drawn out than we would have hoped because of the severe bad weather last winter. However, when things did get moving we were most impressed with the contractor Solar Installers used who had a very good team of electricians, roofers and scaffolders. The whole installation was completed in a day, the scaffolding having been erected a few days earlier. Subsequently the contractor was also very helpful in providing the Microgeneration Certificate and steering us through the registration process for the Clean Eneregy Cashback Scheme.

How much do we expect to earn?
Since the beginning of March we have generated 460 KWh of electricity at an average of just over 6 KWh per day. This would put us well on track to meet our annual target of 1500 KWh which would require an average of 4.1 KWh per day. So, even allowing for some dull Autumn and Winter days, we would expect to earn 1500 x 41.3p = £620. It is quite possible we could generate 1800 KWh which would earn nearly £750 which would see a return of 5.8% on our investment – tax free!

So, our decision to invest in PV could be justified on financial grounds but there is also the satisfaction that we are making good use of the suns energy and, in a small way, helping to reduce CO2 emissions.

17 May 2010

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