Solar PV, no thanks for now

03Nov09

Just a late to to say times change and I am now a solar PV yes-man
Check out the update here,  old blog still below …..

Undeterred our Eco-green-warrior looked further in search of new ways to reduce the damming carbon footprint.

Next under the spotlight is Solar PV.  So is it worth investing in some of this ?

Firstly, Solar PV or rather Photo Voltaic is a clever panel that converts sunlight directly into electricity.  The panels are more expensive but lighter and thinner than the Solar Thermal system.  Of course, there is no electricity at night time so the tariff or price that the householder gets paid when the suns out and the panels generate the electricity is very important.

I’m not going to be specific and cost-justify Solar-PV in detail.  There is no doubt it is costly to buy and install.  Right now it’s all a bit fuzzy on the tariff you’ll get, government is talking about about giving whopping increases if its a low-carbon generation source which it qualifies and 38.5p per kWh has been mentioned which is way better than the 10p kWh or less right now, but sharpen your pencil because at the premium rate you’ll not get any installation grant.  This tariff variant is heavily political biased and is difficult to bank on over the long time frames quoted.

Further, confusion arises because current PV panels are expected to get a bit cheaper as the manufacturing process improves.  Also new PV technologies and materials are all getting accelerated development so again there are high expectations for efficiency/cost improvements and new products in the new few years.

So, we have like the Solar-Thermal a rather elastic range of payback durations.  If your really good/lucky maybe 10 years, but it so easily could be way beyond 20 years.

Also as I’m further away from the equator, up in Scotland the generation efficiency is not the greatest. So as they say on the Dragon’s Den – ‘I’m out’.

Finally, beware of the pv-glazing-salesman with too good to be true figures !

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