Just thought I’d put a post on here about my Dads new home solar system he has just had fitted (late September 2011).
PV Solar (electricy generating) isn’t cheap nor efficient, and really it isn’t worth it. Until that is, the government backed scheme for energy companies to pay a Feed In Tariff (FIT). This means the energy companies pay you for the electricity you generate – and in fact they pay stupidly – about 15x what it would cost you to use, regardless if you use it yourself or not.
So simply, if you have solar installed you make money 3 ways:-
- A “FIT” rate for all the electricity you generate (about 43p per unit)
- A “unit” rate for 50% of the units you generate (about 3p per unit)
- Free use of any electricity you do generate, as well as getting paid for it in (1) and (2) above.
So for the first week install in late September, not great weather, we generated 75KWH of electricity.
1 Kwhr = 49.9p (43.3p per Kwhr + 3.1p per 2Kwhr + 10.09p per 2Kwr bill saving). This equates to £37.43 ( x52 say = £1946)
So almost £2k per year income based on an average week in September. So real figures will hopefully be more! And the FIT rate goes up every year (and this is guaranteed to happen for the next 25 years). A cash-back calculator can be found http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Generate-your-own-energy/Cashback-Calculator which errs on the low side.
- Initial outlay (but see it as an investment)
- Cosmetic looks
- You really need to stay in your home for up to 10 years to make it viable
Who did we use?
We did a lot of research and saw a lot of company’s offering a low “headline grabbing” price for install. Even Tesco are in on the act! But in the mix there are big companies who aren’t experts; ex-double-glazing style companies who just didn’t inspire confidence; and specialist installers. We tried to get quotes from a few – the bigger company like Tesco took a month to return a call. One of the cheaper ones felt like a double-glazing salesman. And a local company could not say when they were going to install, and their guarantees weren’t great.
As seen on Watchdog, this field is the next double-glazing minefield.
Anyway, on one of my car forums I frequent, I “know” a guy called Dan who runs Solar Dawn . Whilst I never met him, I knew people who had and they trusted him. My we contacted him and we had some interesting emails, then Dad invited him over to the house, and indeed Dan came and gave us information and answered our questions without a hard sell, in fact no sales angle at all. We got a quote and studied it, and still looked to compare, but the truth that whilst we could buy a system cheaper, no one came close to inspire confidence that they knew what they were doing – nor offer as good a guarantee (insurance backed)
Dan (http://www.solar-dawn.com/) (I believe) also use a single install team who came miles to do the install, but did the entire thing hassle free in a day.
Our setup is:-
2 arrays of 9 solar panel with each panel rated at 220 watts. Each array = 9×220 = 1980 watts. One array faces east and other faces south to optimise sunshine during the day. This give 3.96Kw ( Meeting the <4kw required for the best FIT deal)
Each array connects to a single dual feed inverter via its own isolator, and the output of the inverter has an isolator adjacent to the inverter and adjacent to the consumer unit. The Inverter takes both inputs from the solar panels (DC), and generates an AC output to feed into the grid system. The output of the inverter passes through a remote monitor interface unit (optional), and then via another isolator (adjacent to the consumer unit), which is connected to a kwhr meter (generated Kwhr) back to the grid in the consumer unit through an mcb.
Basically, if you don’t understand the above – it means its a well designed, efficient, and safe system!
DISCOUNT / CASHBACK
To be clear, I have NO CONNECTION to Dan or Solar Dawn other than my dad being a very satisfied customer. As with most things like this, existing customers can get paid a small “referral” bonus if anyone they recommend buys. So, if anyone does contact Dan @ Solar Dawn for a quote, please mention Ryan & Colin and we should get a referral cashback from Dan (as he hasn’t had to pay for advertising). Please contact us too and we’ll send you £100 cashback direct to you. (Of course, you need to pay for your system and Dan needs to pay us before we can give you cashback!)
You can contact me via this site, and my dad through me. Dan and Solar Dawn can be contacted on 0800 500 3181 or http://www.solar-dawn.com/. Remember to let me know of any contacts so I can track any cashback!
QUESTIONS TO ASK
If you go with any solar company, make sure you check the following:-
- Do they do a site survey, and recommend based on that – or is the recommendation blind? (SW: Site survey first)
- Is there a cost for the site survey? (SW: Not for us)
- Do they do all the paperwork for the FIT for you? (SW: Yes)
- Can you pay deposit by credit card (to protect you) (SW: Yes)
- Is the entire installation covered by warranty for the duration (e.g inverters, switches etc) (SW: Yes)
- Is the install done by a single crew run by the company, or any “local installer” (SW: Single crew do all installations)
- Is all the payment for the entire project paid to one company (SW: Yes)