Do you have perfect pitch and a sunny disposition?
The number of householders installing solar panels is rapidly increasing, according to energy regulator Ofgem; however this may be due as much to interest in the financial rewards as to concerns about green issues. Not only do you save on your electricity bill, the Government’s feed-in tariffs scheme will actually pay you for all the electricity you generate, plus you can sell any surplus electricity to the National Grid.
Dunster resident Daphne Wilbrahamis enthusiastic about her experience.
‘I’ve installed both solar thermal panels, for hot water, and photovoltaic panels, which generate electricity,’ explainsDaphne. ‘My electricity bills are much lower and I’m gaining around £1000 a year from a combination of the feed-in tariff and selling my surplus to the grid.
Since the cost of installing all the panels was around £13,000, my gain on the investment is almost 10% – and it’s tax free.’
The slim black panels on Daphne’s slate roof are unobtrusive, and didn’t require planning permission. Although you don’t need full sunlight, a south-facing roof is best. ‘The installers said I had the ideal roof – actually they told me I had perfect pitch and a sunny disposition! They were quick and efficient, and the process of installation was very easy,’ says Daphne.
Landowners may be interested in renewable energy generation as a new agricultural initiative. Alert to impending energy shortages, price rises, and CO2 targets, Mole Valley Farmers have been researching the potentials of ‘farming’ energy in terms of the benefits both environmentally and as an agricultural income generator. They have launched a new division: Mole Valley Renewables, to help you to explore the options, including solar power and small wind turbines.
Meanwhile local group Transition Minehead and Alcombe are promoting an Energy Challenge during Energy Saving Week, October 25th – 31st. Supported by Minehead Chamber of Trade and working with West Somerset environmental group Forum 21, the Energy Challenge will increase awareness of energy use and renewable technologies and share ideas to help save energy, save money and reduce carbon emissions. There’ll be a street stall near the Red Cross charity shop in Minehead on October 30th, between 10am and 2pm, where you can find out about the financial help available for renewable energy technologies, book a free energy survey for your home, and take the opportunity to meet people who have installed renewable technology systems.