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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Solar Panels And Government Schemes Available

The UK government has had many different types of schemes being offered to incentivise households to put in solar panels.

This may appear to be madness to some - why should the government have to pay individuals to save money on their power bills? The reason is that as a country, we are committed by international treaties, including the one established at Kyoto, to reduce pollution levels. Whilst individuals may not care much regarding their own carbon footprints, the federal government can take into account damages we do to other people through our own pollution, and try to establish the level of pollution that is optimal for society. Establishing this quantity in the first place is very difficult - it seems like intuitive that no pollution in any way would be best. However, there are benefits to the processes that create pollution. For example, if people in developing countries gain access to cars, then they may cause pollution, but the advantage is that they can then afford to feed their families. Therefore, the benefits in such cases outweigh the disadvantages. However, on the other end, a family enjoying a drive for fun will harm the surroundings, and the enjoyment from this probably does not outweigh this, nevertheless the family do not care, although the government does!

There used to be a grant system in position, making solar panels accessible. However, this is removed in April 2010, and replaced through the Feed In Tariff, which applies simply to photovoltaic solar panels.

The Feed In Tariff can be a system under which any electricity produced by a solar energy system and not used by the household, is sold back to the main grid in a set rate per unit of electricity.

In economic terms, this payment system seems better. This is because it rewards households directly for each and every unit of electricity sold back to the main grid, which relates more right to the reduction in carbon emissions than simply the fact that the house has solar panels, because different panels have different efficiencies etc. It also means that if households with solar panels are careful to lower their electricity usage, they shall be able to sell more back to the main grid, and they also will benefit financially.

The disadvantage, however, is always that poorer households won't be able to install solar panels. However, the Renewable Heat Incentive, that has been announced as ongoing only in October 2010, can be a similar scheme, paying per unit produced for thermal solar panels rather than photovoltaic. These systems are much cheaper to put in, costing about a third just as much as photovoltaic systems, hence this has been a progressive step from the government.

Just thought you might be interested in reading this guide: photovoltaic solar panels and solar panel installation.


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