Governments all over the world have committed to encouraging alternative forms of energy production and the UK is no different. In order to encourage homeowners to opt for greener forms of energy they have introduced a Feed in Tariff (FiT) for any energy that consumers produce themselves at home.
There are various systems that can be installed in order to benefit from this. Most
domestic users would opt for solar panels which can then be used to generate electricity for the home and feed back what is not used to the grid.
The electricity that is fed back will generate a payment as others can then benefit from this electricity.
There is also a payment for all the electricity that is generated and the homeowner can benefit further with savings on their bill thanks to their home-made electricity.
The system allows the equipment to be installed with the homeowner borrowing the installation costs and paying it back over 25 years. The FiT has been constructed so that the income arising from the scheme will more than cover the loan repayment and the homeowner will not have to pay out.
It is important to have a qualified and experienced installer out to assess the home to make the right recommendations. There are some properties for which solar panels may not be suitable and the assessor will also need to understand how much energy is needed by the homeowner.
Solar panels require a certain amount of daylight and if the homeowner does not have a roof which faces in the right direction then this could be difficult. Those with land may be able to situate panels away from the house but an experienced installer will be able to provide more information on all the options.
FiT Scheme Changes
It should be noted that people who took advantage of these schemes when they were first announced will have benefitted from significantly higher FiTs, as they have since been reformulated.
Those who had systems installed between the 15th July 2009 and the 31st March 2010 and transferred to a FiT scheme before April 2010 will qualify for higher payments. If the system was installed after this time but the installed and product were MCS certified then you will also qualify for the higher payments.
MCS stands for Microgeneration Certification Scheme and this is independent of the government. It assesses and ensures that the products and installers are of a reasonable standard. Systems installed now by installers who not part of this scheme will not qualify for any FiT payments.
From November 2012, domestic installations which measure lower than 4kW will have a Feed in Tariff of 15.44 pence per kWh. The system also applies to commercial systems. Businesses that install a small system of between 4 and 10 kW will qualify for an FiT of 13.99 pence per kWh. Larger installations will also qualify but the tariff will be lower.
A large number of homeowners have already opted to install solar panels to take advantage of this scheme and in some areas the local authority has installed the panels on the housing that they provide. The benefits are numerous and long term. Solar panels require very little maintenance once they have been installed and systems of various sizes can be installed so that electricity can be supplied for generating hot water or for running more appliances.
Those who want to find out more can do so at the Energy Saving Trust website which has been established by the government.