Why install solar p.v.

Up until the begining of this year it was pretty much a no brainer to install solar p.v. on a house, particularly a new build if you could afford the initial outlay as the Governments Feed in Tariff paid good money for power generated regardless of you using it yourself. That all changed this year as the F.I.T. payment dropped to 3.9 pence per kwh, making any payment for generation only a few hundred pounds a year at best.

I did consider dropping any solar p.v. installation but felt that overall it was still a worthwhile thing to do.

Now that there is no money to be made from a solar p.v. investment, actually using the electricity at source becomes more of a priority. This is not as easy as it sounds as generally you want electricity at times of the day when none is being generated. I will be diverting excess power to an immersion heater to heat my hot water, which should provide pretty much all of my hot water needs for half of the year. It is also possible to use timer delays on high consumption appliances such as washing machines and dish washers so they come on in the middle of the day. And as I work from home my energy use during the day for computers, lighting etc should be covered.

Another cost saving on installation is the cost of roof tiles. I chose to use an integrated roof system that fits flush with the tiles rather than mounted on top of them, saving just over £1000 in tiles alone. The solar panels themselves are all black with black trim and no visible silver lines across them so should be as discreet as is possible on the roof. The area of roof where they are mounted is directly south facing and on the rear of the house, so not visible at all from the road.

Power storage is often mentioned, especially by solar companies trying to up-sell, but the reality is that at the moment there is no financial justification for installing batteries. This may change in the future but it seems a long way off.

My planning permission came with a condition to generate 10% of the energy consumed by the house on site. The planners agreed in principal that they would drop this as I was building a house with such a low energy requirement, but I decided to go ahead anyway.

If I was only going to live in the house for a short time the cost of solar really wouldn’t stack up, but as I am her for the long term it will hopefully be a sensible use of a few thousand pounds.Installing flashings to bottom edge of panels

Plastic support panels fixed to battens

Flashings around panels

Flashings around panels

Installation completed

Solar array set into tiled roof