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    • CommentAuthormark_s
    • CommentTimeJan 28th 2010
    I've done a search and cant see any comment on this scheme. Does anyone have any knowledge of this business?

    The proposal is that they install PV on your roof (free of charge) and you use the electricity generated (free of charge) and they say that they get paid by the government for the generation of the power.

    It all sounds too good to be true, so where is the catch?

    • CommentAuthorjon
    • CommentTimeJan 28th 2010
    I doubt there's a catch. If you have an ideal roof, your generation of subsidy will far exceed the provision costs and the supply costs (a friend of mine has already worked this out and gone down this route)

    By contacting them, you'll find out if you have an ideal roof? (If they are willing to do it then you might be better to pay for it yourself. If they are not willing to do it, then you might consider whether or not you really want to do this.)
    • CommentAuthormark_s
    • CommentTimeJan 28th 2010
    Thanks Jon,

    I'd always thought PV was too expensive in capital cost to be worthwhile and that solar thermal was the way to go.

    Food for thought.
    • CommentAuthorjon
    • CommentTimeJan 28th 2010
    That's true but the subsidies make it worthwhile if you can lock them in for the period currently allowed by the Government. Grab it while you can: I doubt that this give-away will last long.
    • CommentAuthorcornishben
    • CommentTimeJan 28th 2010
    jon - I reckon this is one of the financing mechanisms the Government is hoping will take off with the feed in tariff, hence I expect schemes like this to grow more widespread rather than not last long. Cheers Ben
    • CommentAuthorjon
    • CommentTimeJan 28th 2010 edited
    I doubt it: The funding mechanism is more expensive than Nuclear. It's a kick-start package to help the industry onto its feet. As soon as that happens, the funding will get cut back.

    We'll see?
    • CommentAuthorJulian
    • CommentTimeJan 28th 2010
    I think Jon's right. No catch with this firm although they only fit in
    "Yorkshire and parts of Humberside, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire."
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeJan 28th 2010
    Some weeks ago two similar American schemes were mention in New Scientist.

    Sounds like a great idea but worth some thought. I'd want to know if there are issues when you come to sell your house, for example the buyer will have to sign up to the deal. What happens if the panels fail? What if neighbours kids throw stones ? Who pays for repairs? Does not owning them effect your house insurance? Can you insure something you don't own? What happens if the company goes bust or is taken over? Can the terms of the contract be changed by the new owner etc. Lots to consider but hopefully all solvable.
    One of my clients http://www.bohemiaeco.com is an investment company that offers to build large hangers/ commercial buildings for anyone that wants one. They get a free building, we get paid for designing and supplying the PV building and the investment company has the right to sell the electricity generated from the roof for the next 20 years.

    Tonight im working on a community hall and covered petanque playing area for a small village, with 400m2 of PV on the roof.
    We recently finished a covered tennis court for the Tennis Federation of France with a roof of 1100 m2.

    Last year something like 50000 similar 20 year PV contracts were signed with EDF in France. The way things are set up at the moment you stand to make 5 percent min per year on your investement as opposed to 2-3 percent putting the money in the bank. You dont need a large roof to invest either, you give the money to the investment company and they find the clients/roofs.
    CWATTERS, although I cannot talk for this company mentioned in the op, here its the investement company that takes all responsability for the maintenance etc of the PV panels through an insurance company. As for selling the property, yes the new buyer is tied into whatever is left of the existing contract.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2010
    I guess the other question I have is this...

    Why does it make financial sense to put small PV systems on houses scattered around the country rather than build solar larger sites?
    • CommentAuthorRobinB
    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2010
    ......and that, CWatters is a very good question. Perhaps relative security for the panels, not putting all your egss in one basket, no need to own or lease land or buildings. It only makes sense while the government pays you for all the electriciy generated and charges nothing for electricity used and they can have their cake and we eat it too.
    "Why does it make financial sense to put small PV systems on houses scattered around the country rather than build solar larger sites?"

    It makes perfect sense to use existing roofs, which currently serve to keep the weather out and nothing else, all that wasted surface space. 20 million roof tops in the uk, has been calculated to be able to provide 110 twh per year.

    In contrast land is very valuable/expensive and setting aside large blocks of it for solar energy production would be a huge waste in comparison to to making use of existing roof surfaces.
    From the UK national statistics, there is 2800 km2 of rooftop across both domestic and commercial.

    Even if north facing roof slopes are left cut out, and we only use east, south and west, there is still a huge amount of roof surface available.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2010 edited
    Posted By: bot de paille It makes perfect sense to use existing roofs, which currently serve to keep the weather out and nothing else, all that wasted surface space. 20 million roof tops in the uk, has been calculated to be able to provide 110 twh per year.

    Well yes, use the roofs but is it better to be building small systems on houses or large ones on factories and offices?

    Many of the roofs in my village are on listed buildings, however there is loads of under used land both brown and green field. There are two small industrial estates with large roofs - plenty of space there to power several villages and all much more efficiently than each of us having our own panel and inverter.

    In addition there are several iron barns that are no longer used but which the council won't allow to be replaced with houses. So they sit there mostly empty and rusting. I dare say the space occupied by one could power the village.
    • CommentAuthorjon
    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2010 edited
    Why does it make financial sense to put small PV systems on houses scattered around the country rather than build solar larger sites?

    You can get planning permission for the former but not the latter
    • CommentAuthormark_s
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2010
    I was wondering about the cost of large scale grid connection?

    Or is it that the new grant schemes are targeted at the domestic market? It looks like this scheme is being funded by the grants, so if that only applies to domestic?
    • CommentAuthorAnke
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2010
    So basically it is a 'rent a roof' scheme for the hosting of solar panels and instead of rent you get free electricity?
    • CommentAuthormark_s
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2010
    Thats certainly how it looks.
    • CommentAuthorAnke
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2010
    It is an attractive offer, mainly because I currently could not afford to install PVs on my roof. I am trying to get my head round the overall benefits including if it would be worthwhile doing.

    What bothers me is this statement on their site:
    "Take advantage of the new Legislation, and you will have _daily periods_ of FREE electricity all year round, with up to 17 hours each day in the summer."

    I am home mainly in the evening, so my electricity use is at night.
    Does this statement imply I would have to pay for any electricity not used during the day???

    If I installed my own PVs and paid for the install myself, maybe get a grant for it to reduce this cost, then I would be able to 'sell' all energy I generate to the Grit via my existing provider for 28 pence/KWh
    - but I doubt I would ever break even on a commercial install.

    Using an acredited installer the installation cost might be approx £12,500 installed price for a 3kW setup - from a webpage - eek. The grant is only £2500 max.
    A DIY system might cost less, but I am not able to do this work.

    But, setting the install cost asside, for every KWh I generate I can use two KWh from the Grit irrespective of time of day. Would a 3.3kw PV array generate enough to offer me free electricity?

    I don't now what the energy output of a typical Yorkshire installation on a SW facing clear roof would be, which makes the calculations a bit difficult for me...

    The offer promises 40-60% saving, so assuming prices stay the same (I wish)

    I pay currently 13.14 pence (ic VAT) per KWh electricity used and am a low user
    - 1700 kwh this year @£220 cost inc vat

    40-60% saving:
    25 years @ £220 per year based on 2009 cost
    = £5500 total:
    40% = £2200
    60% = £3300

    So have I got this correct?
    At best I get a free PV install and save between £2200 and £3300 at current prices - more if prices go up, but if I have to pay for any night time use, then I cannot see that I would make any savings?

    Comments welcome.


    As I understand it, DIY is not eligible for FiT, and the £12000 you quote for 3kWp sounds very very competitive. I would not normally expect to see under £5000/kWp till after 4kWp or so, if all costs are included (scaff, for example).
    • CommentAuthorAnke
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2010
    Hi Nick,

    (Mark_s, sorry to hijack your thread)

    no scaffolding and expenses were extra. I don't know how 'real' or uptodate this quote is.
    I pulled it off a website just as an indication of cost and even if this is a good quote it is well out of my range and would have a recovery period of over 26 years..
    • CommentAuthorjohndes
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2010
    So what's the best way to make use of the free electrity generated during daylight hours ?.As in a previous post, some people work in the day and unable to take advantage of the free electricity.

    Install storage heaters and charge them up in theday in the winter ?. Switch the immersion on to heat the DHW ?.Charge up batteries to use later in the evening ?. Slow cooker to cook the tea ?.
    • CommentTimeFeb 3rd 2010
    Charge up batteries on the cheaper night rate and then feed it back through the PV system, even allowing for charging losses your onto a financial winner that way, bit dodgy I know. How is the system monitored?
    • CommentTimeFeb 3rd 2010
    I have a client in a steep valley, considering micro-hydro, and coupled to that, pumping water up to a tank up in the woods night-time, let it out to add to the turbine flow, daytime.
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2010
    ST, nothing dodgy there. Off-grid systems are eligible for FITs so hybrid on/off-grid systems can't be a problem. The metering requirements for this have not been decided yet.
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2010 edited
    If that is the case I think I shall get the largest supply into my house and see what it will all cost. 100A supply (assume 50% losses for charging but no heating will be needed) 50A times 230v times 7h = 80.5kWh/d @ £0.314 for 1st 2 years and then £0.287 for next 23 years:

    Works out as £25.277/d for 1st 2 years (total £9226.10/y)
    Then £23.10/d for 23 years (total £8432/y)

    Now my E7 costs about £0.05 a kWh:

    100A times 230V times 7h = 161kWh/d
    161kWh times £0.05 = £8.05/d (total £2938.25/y)

    £9226.10 minus £2938.25 = £6287.58/y for 2 years
    £8432 minus £2938.25 = £5493.75/y for 23 years

    Total Income over 25 years £212388.2
    Total outgoings over 25 years £73456.25

    Gross Profit £138931.96

    I am off to buy some batteries!
    I don't believe you can sell your electricity units back to the grid with this scheme - For the home user it's just a "top up" to the electric you get from the grid.
    • CommentAuthorjon
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2010
    The fact that you can make so much money for doing something that isn't currently economically viable probably gives a hint that it won't last long ST. Buy up those batteries quick!

    On the other side of the coin, in newer technologies where we don't know how they are going to be subsidized (or even if), funding has run out of the door.
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2010
    Solid Wall Jim

    I hope your right, otherwise it makes a total mockery of the whole scheme, was just highlighting the issue.
    One problem is the salesman that will promise the earth and get their commission regardless of the contribution that PV can make. That will put the whole 'renewables' back a few years again.
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