Martin Dowley

New solar PV figures will reassure homeowners

New figures which reveal savings and income from solar PV installations are rising should provide reassurance for householders considering installing panels on their homes, a leading renewable energy company said today.

The average combined savings and incomes from households which have installed solar PV panels has increased from £540 to £635 per year.

Martin Dowley, managing director of Shropshire-based 7Energy, said the figures from the Energy Saving Trust released last week show solar PV continues to be a good investment despite the recent cut in the Feed-in-Tariff.

The Trust said the average savings and income had increased by nearly £100 due to both the average size of installations increasing and the drop of the price of panels.

Mr Dowley, who has completed numerous household solar PV installations as well as Shropshire’s largest commercial project of a £1.2 million installation in Ludlow, said the figures would reassure potential customers.

“There was fears in the industry that the cut in the Feed-in-Tariff would see a slower take-up of the technology by householders. However, these figures show that with the average size of installations increasing from 3kWp to 3.5kWp, homes are generating more electricity.

“This means they are seeing savings in their own electricity bills and also generating more which results in an increase in the amount of Feed-in-Tariff they receive.

“The return on investment is also higher following the hikes in electricity prices by the big energy suppliers last month, which saw rises by as much as ten per cent. In addition, the power output of the panels is increasing as the manufacturing process and designs improve.” he added.

Other research from the Trust showed that although a third of people in the UK have been approached about solar PV, only around four cent have progressed with an installation.

Mr Dowley added: “The so-called cowboy installers which flooded the sector in the last year did not help the case for solar PV, offering panels on roofs which were suitable or installations which were not appropriate for the buildings under consideration. Many installations were sold as an investment and a way of making money but we should be promoting them more as a way of reducing our exposure to future energy cost rises and as part of our sustainable future.

“However, I believe trust is returning in the sector and a good installer will always be able to advise on the correct size of system and where it should be placed, either as a roof or as a ground-mounted system. They should also be able to advise on the steps householders can take to reduce the amount shifted to the grid and increase their own savings, which will assist with concerns over the drop in the Feed-in-Tariff from 16p to 15.44p per kWh produced.

“Homeowners needing further reassurance should also ensure their installer is MCS-accredited as well as using panels which were MCS-certified to ensure the quality of the installation.”

A recent installation by 7Energy saw a £1.2 million installation at two poultry farms in Ludlow and Powys. The farmer has seen his energy usage cut by 65 per cent by the system which generates enough power for between 90 to 144 homes.

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