What is Solar Energy and how can it benefit the average homeowner by having a Solar Energy System installed.
There are two types of Solar Energy Systems, one is Solar Thermal Technology and the other is Photovoltaic Solar Energy. One converts light into heat and the other converts light into electricity.
The advantages of systems providing thermal energy, is that the efficiency of advanced thermal systems is now very high and can provide significant heat to hot water heating systems. These thermal systems can provide temperatures comparable to boiler systems, even when the sun is unseen.
These are activated by way of converting light, primarily Ultra Violet Light, into heat, by the use of collectors with a coating that reacts to the light. These collectors are mounted within an evacuated low iron borosilicate glass tubes and the heat temperatures inside these tubes can produce heat up to around 200 degrees Centigrade.
Controllers should then be installed to control this heat from the Solar Panels so that it can be used safely within the home and will provide hot water for the domestic hot water heating systems. Sufficient temperatures can be reached within the system, to enable some of the heat to be introduced into a conventional wet central heating system.
These systems are called Central Heating Assist systems and can provide some heat into the central heating during daylight hours. These central heating assist systems need careful consideration when deciding what to go for as they are designed to reduce the energy bill when the system is on, so should the occupants be out during the day and the central heating system is not on, therefore perhaps there will be little benefit in having a Central Heating Assist system.
However we have found that due to the small additional cost to an installation, most people go for it anyway.
The financial benefits of these solar energy systems are obvious. Daylight is free where gas, electricity, oil and solid fuels are not. Against the continuous rising costs of fossil fuels, solar energy is by far the best way of reducing energy bills in the future.
Some peoples perception of Solar Energy is that it is very expensive to install and not worth doing. However it is worth considering this, compare an alternative energy system against the existing heating system in an average home:
1: Gas and Oil costs increasing every year at around 15 per cent.
2: The replacement cost of two replacement condensing boilers over twenty years.
3: Annual maintenance checks every year.
Using a high quality solar power system fitted by a quality solar specialist giving:
1: Free energy. Daylight costs nothing,
2: Long guarantees on the installation with little or no maintenance and receiving free maintenance checks anyway.
3: A Life expectancy exceeding 25 years,
4: A high return rate on investment, indexed linked to the inflation on fossil fuel costs.
A solar energy system will be worth more financially in 2, 5, 10 and twenty years time, because energy bills will be so much higher and the cost of the initial installation will diminish. Also, not forgetting the environmental impact on having thousands of houses producing their own energy and not buying it in on an ever increasing basis.
The method of using solar thermal energy has been around for a long time, but the new advanced technologies can provide significant savings and benefits.
The Government has announced, in 2013 the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme will be introduced to encourage homeowners to install these systems. This scheme will controlled by the Microgeneration Certificate Scheme (MCS), the same body that has provided the Feed In Tariff (FIT) payments to thousands of house holders that have fitted Solar Energy system providing Photovoltaic Electricity.
The emphasis on solar energy systems over the past two to three years has been on solar power systems using photovoltaic technology. This is simply because of the Government incentive scheme to encourage homeowners to have solar systems installed named as the Feed In Tariff scheme. Despite the recent surge in solar photovoltaic systems, many are surprised that there has been an explosion of solar installations over the past fifteen years of other solar technologies such as the solar thermal energy systems.
With any of these solar technologies serious consideration needs to be made to ensure you get the right system and installation.
There is no doubt, the Feed In Tariff scheme has encouraged thousands and thousands of people to install Solar Energy Systems over the past 3 years, however things are changing and more will change, so more emphasis on what systems to consider and what technology to use, needs to be considered when deciding on the options available.
Lets make things clear as far as the Feed In Tariff is concerned.
The Government decision to downgrade the rate paid for the Feed In Tariff, which was deemed as unlawful at the end of 2011, has without a doubt decimated the solar energy industry over the last few months. This has mainly affected the many new companies created over the last few years and the Rent a Roof scheme companies.
There are many of these companies struggling for survival, so it essential when considering a company to install a system to use a company with a long track record and wide experience in all renewable technologies. Not just photovoltaic solar.
So, to be clear, from the beginning of March this year the Feed In Tariff rate dropped from 43.3 pence per kwt unit to 21p, which on the face of it reduces the amount of FIT payment being paid. Not good news. However, the price of solar equipment from the manufacturers have been reduced in price due to the numbers that have been installed and also to address the reduction in FIT tariff rates, therefore the price of a solar power installation has been reduced.
This brings the return on investment rate back to 8% to 10% net rate per annum for a 4 kwt system. These payments are paid every year for 25 years. Also the payments are indexed linked to the Retail Price index (RPI) to safe guard the investment in solar.
Although it is great the cost of the equipment being supplied has come down this has meant a large amount of low quality, poorly made and substandard equipment has flooded in and is often offered as high quality equipment.
It is so important to check out specifically what solar energy equipment is being supplied and equally important who is going to install and fit the system.
Also all companies to be able to offer the FIT to their customers on behalf of the Government FIT scheme have to be accredited by the Microgeneration Certificate Scheme (MCS). Members are audited regularly to ensure the standard of equipment and installation is of the correct standard.
Unfortunately, the Government announced in April that from the first of the July the FIT reduces again and in October reduces again, so the consideration for Solar Energy systems using Photovoltaic technology in the market place will diminish further.
The Tariff rate now in October is 16 pence per kwt unit and reduces to, we believe 15.5p in November. 2012.
Due the decrease in Solar Photovoltaic systems fitted due to the lowering of the tariff and the introduction of Energy Performance certificate (EPC), the Government has decided to defer the further lowering of the Tariff until August and then later in the year.
Read more at http://solarpanelsgb.blog.co.uk/
So to consider as to what type of solar power is suitable for the home needs careful thought, but there is no doubt, in comparison to remaining with burning very expensive fossil fuels, making the energy companies very rich, solar has to be a serious consideration.