Back in mid-October 2011, I had solar panels fitted to my house in order to benefit from the full Government Feed in Tariff. Given that it was the verge of winter, I really didn’t hold out much hope that they would generate much electricity. However, I must admit that they’ve really surprised me.
Like a lot of people, I used to have the opinion that solar panels probably wouldn’t be worth fitting in the UK. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. I did my homework, and after some time, decided that it would be worth fitting the panels.
My system, an 18-panel 4KW network of panels, has produced over 350KW in the 3.5 months since it was fitted. That’s averaging 100KW per month – which doesn’t sound a lot, but in our house we manage our energy use carefully (see the other articles containing tips on how to do this). We use our most energy-hungry devices in the middle of the day, when the panels are generating at their peak. The washer, the dishwasher and the tumble-dryer are all on between the hours of 10 and 1 when the sun is shining, ensuring that we get maximum benefit from the panels.
It also helps that I work from home – I’m here to use the energy when it’s being generated. But what would you do if you didn’t work from home? I guess the easiest thing to do would be to put your devices on a timer, so that they would run during peak-generating time, even when you aren’t at home.
So, the upshot of that is that, even though I work from home, and it’s mid-winter, even I am generating more energy than I can use at times. This is sold back to the grid at 43p per KW, at the current FiT rates.
The amazing thing is that today is the 5th of February, and it snowed quite hard overnight. The panels are covered in snow, and it’s a lovely sunny day. Even though they’re covered, they’re generating 200W at the moment. I’m amazed that they’re doing this, solar energy must still be penetrating the snow a little.
Anyway, back to the point. Given how well they’ve done over winter, I expect that they will generate far more energy that we can use during the summer. All of that excess will be sold back to the national grid, meaning that we get a nice cheque at the end of the year.
Would I recommend getting solar panels fitted? Yes, definitely. If you hurry and get the fitted before 31st March, you’ll benefit from the full 43 pence per Kilowatt Feed in tariff rate. What are you waiting for?