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Alternative Technology and Renewable Energy can be great fun and very rewarding, especially if done at home. On this blog I share my ideas and tips for mainly simple and inexpensive alternative technology projects.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

PV Panels with a Grant

I am seriously considering having some photo voltaic panels installed by a specialist company. This goes against my generally DIY tendencies but in fact it appears to be more cost effective if you pay a company to do it for you. The reason is that if you do it yourself, you cannot apply for a grant, but you can if an approved installer does it!

The grant can be up to 40-50% of the total installation cost paid by the Energy Saving Trust. This means that an installed 2kW solar panel system with grid-tie inverter costing around £12,000.00 can be obtained for under £7,000.00. This is still a lot of money, but works out much cheaper than if you obtain the parts and do the work yourself. Installers get the benefit of bulk buying and the VAT on a complete installed system is only 5%.

Of course the payback time is still very long, but if you apply a compounded increase in electricity costs each year, it starts to be more realistic. The main thing, of course, is that it saves quite a bit of greenhouse gases being produced, as I would be generating pollution free solar power, albeit on a small scale. For me, it would be a commitment to helping to protect the environment for the future.

I have had estimates from three specialist installers and they are all in the same ballpark as far as cost is concerned. I would like to visit a couple of nearby previous installations so that I can judge for myself the workmanship offered. I expect it will be a difficult decision.

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