Last year Guardian columnist Ashley Seager crunched some numbers on whether solar was a good investment for his London home, and after including government subsidies he concluded that an installation would be more profitable than putting his money in the bank. But how have his calculations worked out one year on? The payback is looking pretty good it seems, if his latest update is anything to go by:
"Not only will we not pay for any electricity, we should get a rebate of about £50 once a payment from the so-called renewables obligation (RO) scheme, which rewards microgeneration schemes with cash, is included. In all, the saving for the past year will be around £500, giving a return on our investment of 6%, which is not subject to tax. Next year, when the payments from the RO scheme will double for photovoltaic (PV) solar installations, we will get about £150 back, giving a total return of 7%. That will rise further if energy prices continue to climb - which is likely after oil prices hit yet another high this week."
Seager does point out that he received 50% grant funding, which the government has since cut due to its popularity (?!), causing demand to collapse to the point that the company that carried out his installation went out of business. However, even without the grant funding, a house installing solar panels now could still enjoy a return of between 3 and 4% tax-free, meaning solar can still be competitive with regular savings — and this doesn't take into account the possibility of further sharp rises in the cost of energy. For those wanting to learn more about greening their energy supply, our guides on How to Green Your Electricity and How to Green Your Heating are a good place to start.
::The Guardian::via site visit::