Solar PV – 1 Year On

Our first full year of solar panels and Feed-in Tariff is now complete so how has it gone?

Well nothing has gone wrong so far, they’ve not blown the fuses or stopped working or made the roof leak or attracted unwanted attention from unmanned US droids or anything. Getting them registered was a bit of a faff but the delay of the electricity supplier in replacing our old meter (the one that turned backwards) when requested resulted in a £200 rebate windfall so that’s their incompetent loss. SSE Microgen have improved their FiT admin systems a lot over the year and now I get a reminder and can enter the generation meter reading on-line which results in a cheque for the correct amount arriving after a month or so. On reflection I guess I should maybe have made a fuss that the panels weren’t installed perfectly level but I don’t really care about slight cosmetic deficiencies so didn’t.

The amount of power generated exceeded the area adjusted estimate we were given by the installer by about 120kWh, it seems to have been quite a sunny year so I won’t rely on it overproducing every year but still it’s been reassuring to see the estimate become reality.

We have received a total of £987 for the first 49 weeks. The system cost just under £11,750 so we should be on for a 12 year payback time. Nationally the FiT scheme was obviously working well as a means to bring about a reduction in price via ecconomies of scale, a similar system to ours costs a bit over half the price now. FiT payments needed to be gradually reduced in-line with this but that was no excuse for the government making such a ridiculous, and seemingly illegal, hash up of introducing the changes.

The new tariff for April 2012 had already been provisionally set at the reduced level of 38p per kWh which the industry could only be expected to regard as final so suddenly puling the rug out out from under their feet in the middle of a consultation was stupid and has cost both confidence and jobs. Following the courts finding against the government hopefully the 43p tariff will now remain in place till March when the new 21p tariff comes in.