Homeowner Blog

Solar Panel Myths and Misconceptions Debunked

George Riley · 28 Apr 2022

You may think that solar PV is an established and accepted technology in the UK, but it’s surprising how many solar panel myths persist. At our last community event, a visitor confidently informed us that ‘Britain doesn’t get enough sun for solar power’, which may come as a shock to our clients, whose thousands of panels have been generating well for the last decade.

So let’s set out the facts to debunk common solar myths, from the misinformed to the absurd.

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Topics: Solar PV, Environment

Solar Panel VAT Cut to 0% for Next 5 Years

George Riley · 30 Mar 2022

In a surprise piece of good news, the government announced last week that solar panel VAT will be scrapped until 2027. It’s something the renewables industry has been recommending for years, as a simple way to boost green generation in the UK. And for once our lawmakers have listened!

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Topics: Financing, Solar PV

Should You Get a Smart Meter?

George Riley · 24 Mar 2022

A smart meter is an upgraded version of a traditional electricity or gas meter that can communicate wirelessly and automatically with your energy supplier. When your supplier installs one, they also give you an in-home display (IHD) - a small screen that shows your usage in monetary and kWh terms, both in real time and historically.

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Topics: Tariffs, Environment

Demand for Solar Skyrockets due to Energy Crisis

George Riley · 18 Mar 2022

Looking at Google search data, you can see how interest in solar panels has intensified since the energy crisis hit the news last autumn, and surged when the upcoming electricity price hikes were announced last month:

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Topics: Solar PV

Are Solar Panels Worth It in 2022? Yes, Solar Power Costs 10p/kWh!

Erica Charles · 23 Feb 2022

It’s now been three years since solar subsidies were phased out and tax rates first hiked, then dramatically scrapped. At the same time, electricity prices have continued to rise, especially during the recent energy crisis. So what does this mean for the economics of solar power? In short, are solar panels worth it today?

Speaking purely from a financial point of view, the answer is a resounding yes. Of course beyond the financial, there are many other environmental benefits to be gained from installing solar PV, adding residential battery storage, driving an electric vehicle etc. Not least because they all contribute directly or indirectly to tackling air pollution and the climate crisis.

Back to the financials. The solar Feed-in Tariff subsidy may have ended, but the cost of the technology has fallen by more than 50% over the past decade. Overall the cost of domestic solar electricity is now around 10p per kWh. This is well below the 19p average domestic import cost from the grid (which, by the way, increased by an average 4.9% each year over the past decade...).

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Topics: Financing, Solar PV

How to Combat Rising Energy Costs

George Riley · 16 Feb 2022

In just a few months, an energy crisis has become a cost of living crisis.

The energy crisis is largely driven by the cost of natural gas, which has rocketed due to global supply issues, Covid, and geopolitical tensions. The wholesale price of gas in January was about 4 times higher than the previous year:

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Topics: Tariffs, Solar PV

Smart Export Guarantee Tariffs: Which is the Best SEG Rate?

George Riley · 02 Feb 2022

The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) has now been in effect for over two years, since it came into law on January 1st 2020. It’s the mechanism to ensure solar PV owners are paid for the power they send to the grid, ending the policy void that existed since the Feed-in Tariff closed to new applicants in March 2019.

According to the SEG, energy suppliers with over 150,000 customers must offer an export tariff with a rate greater than zero. The SEG is available for customers with an MCS-certified renewable energy system under 5MW and a second generation smart meter.

With zero as the minimum, at the very least you can’t be charged for being relieved of excess solar power. However, suppliers don’t have to give you very much for it. So how much are they offering in practice?

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Topics: Tariffs, Solar PV

Taking Tesla Powerwall Off-Grid

George Riley · 20 Jan 2022

Powerwall has been around for almost six years now, and one of the reasons we like it is that Tesla is always innovating and improving the product. Often, this comes in the form of over-the-air updates to the battery’s software.

The latest feature is the ability to take your Tesla Powerwall off-grid and supply your home as if there were an outage. This has launched alongside the news that Powerwall is now suitable for off-grid installations. Read on to find out more about both…

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Topics: Battery storage, Off grid, Tesla Powerwall

Solar Battery Monitors for the Best Insights and Controls

George Riley · 13 Jan 2022

More and more of our clients are investing in solar battery storage alongside their PV. In this time of energy crisis and price hikes, it pays to use as much solar power at home as you can, rather than shelling out for grid electricity.

When choosing your storage solution, it’s worth considering solar battery monitors. Whether you’re a techy person or not, you probably want to be able to see what your battery is doing. Physically it won’t give anything away, so the only way you can tell how much energy it’s stored or supplied to your house is via its monitoring system.

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Topics: Battery storage, Maintenance

Black Solar Panels Are the New Normal

George Riley · 06 Jan 2022

‘I would get solar panels, but they’re just so ugly’ is an oft-heard refrain, from those who presumably prefer the polluting aesthetics of gas and coal plants. But they have a point. The traditional solar panels aren’t that pretty (though, we’d argue, no less so than TV aerials, satellite dishes and other rooftop paraphernalia).

The good news is that the days of glittering blue PV are in the past. We now only install black solar panels, which not only look a lot sleeker and more uniform, but generate more electricity. It’s win-win!

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Topics: Solar PV