Thursday, March 24, 2011

Going Solar. Some not so sunny concerns!

The solar panel people came around to give a quote and apart from the required financial outlay I’m not really any wiser about the whole thing.

I have a basic idea of the system. The panels on the roof will generate electricity which will be directed into the public supply grid and we will receive credit for the amount of energy generated. We are then charged for whatever power we use ourselves. If we use more than we generate we pay. If we generate more than we use we are paid.

Beyond that we are at the mercy of the panel supplier/installer. It seems most panels have a 25 year guarantee. But should there be problems in 10 or 20 years time – who do we contact? What if the supplier is no longer in business? How many businesses like this are still around after 20-25 years? While the guarantee gives the impression of security, they are dependant upon there being someone still around to honour it.

The current system also works under certain legal conditions established by the Government. Those conditions last until 2017. What comes after that? Will the whole thing be overturned, nullifying the benefit of having the panels? Maybe that’s not too important – supposedly the panels will pay for themselves within three or four years and anything after that will be a bonus.

At the moment I feel a bit pressured. There is a deadline to face. The generous rebates will be reduced in July. The installation will be more expensive after that date. Clearly I should have considered doing this earlier, when I’d have more time to weigh up the pros and cons of different suppliers.

Solar Panels by Vera Kratochvil

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