zero waste electricity?

Filed in Blog by on September 26, 2011 8 Comments
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homesun5Oh man, Though shalt not covet and all that, but when I see a house roof covered in solar panels I don’t mind admitting I get all Mrs Green in more ways than one.

We have two small solar panels at home, they provide power for LED lighting downstairs at zero waste towers and recently we’ve been toying with the idea of getting some more.

We like solar for several reasons, apart from the obvious one of saving money, sustainable energy is surely the way forward. Solar also offers some self sufficiency and it’s rather grand to be sitting in the light when your neighbours are plunged into darkness during a power cut.

Over the past 12 months, energy companies have raised their prices twice. This time electricity bills will rise by an average of 16%. And at last one company is speaking out. HomeSun are suggesting that price hikes undermine the green energy solutions that could insulate customers from price rises. Yay!

HomeSun are one of a number of companies who offer free solar panels to consumers. In return for ‘borrowing’ your roof, you get free electricity during the daytime and the company benefit from the Government’s Feed In Tariff. So everyone’s a winner.

Alas we are in a conservation area and our roof is not at the perfect angle to the sun, but HomeSun STILL offer you a way to save money with their SolarShare scheme. This is the first time I’ve ever come across a ‘compromise’ situation; all the other companies I’ve seen either give you freebies or you need to buy the panels outright.

With their SolarShare scheme you pay up to £500 for which they’ll install a 2.4kWp or 2.6kWp system, and fully maintain it for 25 years. Tempting don’t you think?

Do any of you have experience of solar panels? Do you find them effective? Have any of you had a free installation? And have you ever come across a SolarShare scheme?

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About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth’s fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (8)

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  1. Victoria says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    I personally wouldn’t recommend going for the “free” solar panels deal. I’ve heard it can make selling your house difficult as the company is renting your roof and mortgage companies might not want to know if you needed to re-mortgage. Anyway, just personal opinion..

    I’ve literally last week just given over my deposit for a 4kwh/p system which will be £11500 all in. The roof is east south east facing with a 50 degree pitch and none of the companies that provided quotes were worried about the angle to the sun. The “free” companies like the pure south facing roofs due to the expected return.

    Regards
    Victoria

  2. Compostwoman says:

    Come and look at ours 🙂 may involve cake and tea!

  3. Stu says:

    We spoke to a solar panel provider who said much the same as Victoria! They recommended that you don’t rent your roof space out, purchase them yourself if you have the capital but not if you are thinking of moving before the payback on the investment has been realised!

  4. Mrs Green says:

    @Victoria: Fantastic you have just finished paying for your system Victoria; I hope it works out well for you. I’ve heard that buying outright is the better option too.

    @Compostwoman: Sounds yummy! I want to pick your brains on potatoes too – I saw you mention that you eat your second earlies through until March – do you leave them in the ground or store them to do that?

    @Stu: Thanks for that Stu – great advise!

  5. Susan says:

    I’ve been investigating solar panels for an ‘eco’ house I’m building in France, as well as photovoltaics, so that we can generate both electricity and hot water from the hot French sun. I’ve been documenting the decision-making required in my own blog (http://www/100daystochangetheworld.com), as I found the process of working out exactly how many panels I’ll need quite complicated. Getting solar panels on our roof in London, on a listed house, in a conservation area, will I imagine be on a whole other level of complication!
    Susan

  6. S.Adams says:

    I think the panels are a great idea, but do they still provide you with conection to internet. I’m all for change but there is a limit to how much people will change. We don’t run on solar at our house and I doubt I’ll get my dad to change over.

  7. Mrs Green says:

    @Susan: Thanks for sharing Susan, and good luck with making a decision that works out for you. love your blog 🙂

    @S.Adams: I don’t understand your connection with solar panels and the internet I’m afraid. Can you explain more what you mean?

  8. Compostwoman says:

    @Mrs Green: @Mrs Green:

    We store them in the garage in trays, covered over to excluse the light. Come and see how we do it if you want – there will be tea and cake on offer ( and you can look at the pv and solar thermal set up, if you like!)

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