7Energy domestic solar

Member Article

Hike in solar PV demand despite cashback cut

The number of domestic property owners installing solar PV panels will continue to grow despite this month’s cut in the amount of cashback homeowners can receive for generating their own electricity, according to a Midlands renewable energy company.

A recent report from the Department of Energy and Climate Change said domestic PV installations were typically located in the higher energy consuming households in traditionally wealthy areas.

But Martin Dowley, of Shropshire-based 7 Energy, said owners of smaller homes across the region were still recognising the benefits of investing in solar PV installations despite this month’s cut in the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT).

Mr Dowley said: “Many of our recent installations have not been for commercial buildings or larger properties on farmland with expansive roof space. We’ve had an increase in enquiries, and in orders, from owners of semi-detached and terraced homes. Even with the recent reduction in the Feed -in-Tariff, the installation can pay for itself within ten years in some cases.

“It is also an investment choice for some customers, who have installed solar panels on their own roofs and then subsequently ordered installations for property they rent out.”

The rate of the FiT, which homeowners with solar PV installations can receive, dropped from 21p to 16p per kWh of energy produced on August 1. Figures by the DECC showed the number of solar PV installations increased to 8,305 in the last week in July compared to 6,105 in the previous week as the August 1 deadline for the reduction loomed.

Mr Dowley added: “Of course, this tariff is even further reduced from the 43p it was earlier this year, but with the price of solar PV panels coming down all the time, the return on investment is just as good now as it was on earlier Feed-in-Tariff rates.

“When you add in the tax free cashback to the fact that as a homeowner you can generate your own electricity from the free energy of the sun, as well as reducing your energy bills, many domestic property owners still consider solar PV as a worthwhile investment.”

A recent project in the centre of Shrewsbury saw 7Energy install a 1.92 kWp system on the roof of a three storey terraced home.

Mr Dowley added: “We use black framed panels to blend in better with slate roofs, and this was an eight panel installation which cost under £6,000. As it was completed before the 43p rate deadline, it will pay for itself within six years. However, even if we had completed this installation this month with the reduced 16p rate, it would still payback within ten years.”

7Energy last year created Shropshire’s largest solar PV installation, as part of a £1.2 million project for a county poultry farm owner.

“That was a huge, 2,300 panel installation but we’re finding we’re receiving as many enquiries for small-scale domestic solar as we are for commercial buildings - which shows many people still consider solar PV as a viable option to help cut domestic heating bills.

The DECC report, Identifying trends in the deployment of domestic solar PV under the Feed-in Tariff scheme, also showed that the higher the average age of the population in an area, the higher the number of installations.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Be Bold Public Relations .

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