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SOLARCENTURY - Homeowners Across The UK Show Surge In Interest For Clean Solar Electricity

Solarcentury sees four fold increase in enquiries with Feed-in tariff.

1 April 2010: Hundreds of households throughout the UK have confirmed their interest in solar electricity following the Government’s announcement of the Feed-in tariff which will pay them to generate their own clean electricity. Solarcentury, the UK's leading solar energy company, has experienced a four fold increase in sales enquiries since February, as property owners realise the potential financial benefits of powering their own home whilst cutting energy bills and C02 emissions1.

Homeowners can now save and earn over £1,000 tax free per year for 25 years, increasing with inflation, with a typical solar electric system.2 With the best Feed-in tariff rates available over the next two years, now is the time for consumers to invest in their property with a solar roof.

Derry Newman, CEO of Solarcentury says:
“As the UK’s most experienced solar company, Solarcentury has simplified the way homeowners can work out their earnings and savings when they convert to solar by launching a brand new online calculator today. This will assess their location and allow them to personalise their estimate immediately, in addition calculating their individual return on investment. We work with the best solar installers in the country, and we’ve put solar on thousands of homes, so we know what it takes to do it right and how to make it easy.”

Home energy generation with a typical solar system can generate more than half an average home’s electricity consumption3, protecting against the unstable energy market. Unlike other long-term investments the income from solar electricity is also guaranteed and tax-free, which compares favourably to savings and pensions investments, where the economic crisis has resulted in low returns.4 There’s also no need to fear the UK’s inclement weather, as solar panels depend on daylight, not sunlight, to produce energy for your household.

Andy Atkins, Executive Director, Friends of the Earth says:
"Feed-in tariffs are a significant step towards the creation of low-carbon future. The huge increase in enquiries to green energy firms demonstrates the enthusiasm that households have for generating their own renewable electricity. This scheme allows them to play their part in tackling climate change - and earn money too.

He adds: "Many councils and housing associations are also looking at how they can use feed-in tariffs to provide the benefits of solar power and other renewable energy technologies to low-income communities."

The scheme has encouraged housing associations, public buildings and businesses to go solar too. Over the past year, Solarcentury has been working with over 50 housing associations on over 200 affordable housing projects; and is seeing a shift towards fitting solar for tenants in older housing rather than just new buildings. One such organisation is South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA), whose tenants collectively should see over £36,000 in bill savings next year thanks to their investment in solar electric homes. SYHA believes grid electricity prices will continue to rise by 6% each year, so whilst it generates a guaranteed revenue for reinvestment, the not-for-profit organisation is protecting its vulnerable tenants from such price rises.

Public sector organisations, as well as businesses, have already been incorporating solar solutions into their buildings, including The London Fire Emergency and Planning Authority and the Metropolitan Police. Increasingly, both sectors will be ramping up their solar investments as they recognise it can become a significant hedge to future electricity prices, as well as a financially attractive way to cut carbon emissions.

1 The highest number of enquires for solar roofs have come from the South East, followed by the South West region. Demand for solar electric roof tiles from builder’s merchants SIG rose by 400% in February. Enquiries in the South East rose by over 350% in February 2010, increasing 15 fold in the South West

2 The annual income and savings breakdown is £878 for generated electricity, £32 for exported electricity and £138 for savings on electricity bills; totalling £1048 per year for the average home. Income and savings figures assume that a typical solar PV system for a household would be a 2.5kWp system.

The income figure is based on the system generating 2,125 units (kilowatt hours (kWh)) of electricity a year, assuming that for every kWp of PV installed, you will generate 850 kWh a year, and applying the Government’s proposed generation tariff of 41.3p per unit generated on existing homes. The figure also assumes that on average you will consume 50% of the solar electricity in the property and export the remainder, and assuming a top up payment of 3p for each unit exported and energy savings of 13p per unit. This is a national average, which assumes a south facing pitch of 30 – 40 degrees, with no shading.

3 The Department of Energy and Climate Change states average three bed home electricity consumption  in the UK at 3,300 kWh/year.  A 2.5kWp solar electric system is expected to generate 2,125 kWh/ year.

4 The average cost of a 2.5 kWp solar PV installation currently stands at £12,500. The payback period based on the income numbers above is estimated at ten years, equivalent to a return of 9% and income and savings of £38,000 over a 25 year period.


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