Solar Panels On Public Properties – A Win-Win Solution

David Cameron’s agreement to end fossil fuel usage by the year 2100 is an admirable and long-awaited goal. Installing solar panels on public properties could be key to its success.

Think ‘rooftop solar panels’ and the first image that springs to mind is probably a residential home. Solar panels have been popular amongst homeowners since 2010 due to an average annual return on investment of 10%, providing residents with a healthy income for the next twenty-five years. Commercial solar panels have also taken off – powering business operations and impressing customers in Essex and across the UK

But the recent success of government and local council projects suggests that we have been missing out by overlooking the possibility of solar panels on public buildings.

How did Newcastle Council reduce carbon emissions by 22% since 2005?

Three years ago, North Tyneside Council partnered with E.On to install 1,500 PV solar panels on buildings in Newcastle. The scheme was a huge success, reducing C02 emissions in the area by a tonne. Private companies such as E.On are happy to take on the upfront cost because they make their money back by selling excess electricity to the grid, while locals enjoy lower energy bills to the tune of £150 each year.

In light of this success, North Tyneside Council is pressing ahead with a new solar panel scheme. Councillor John Stirling described the situation as “win-win… great for the environment, and great for our residents benefiting from free energy.”

Have solar panels on public properties been a success elsewhere?

Not completely.

London Mayor Boris Johnson has been criticised for failing to get the ball rolling on solar panels for schools in London, despite the fact that most of the capital’s 3,000 schools could accommodate at least a 25 kWp system. Money saved on a school’s energy bills has the potential to do exceptional good – because it frees up funding for teachers, books and computers.

While the charity 10:10 has been doing excellent work with its crowd-funded ‘solar schools’ project, the majority of suitable schools are still not making the most of their roof space.

Boris Johnson has since attempted to fix this issue by confirming that funding will be set aside for solar PV on public buildings in London, including schools, though commentators are less than impressed by his track record on the issue.

What’s next for solar panels on public properties?

It seems likely that we will see a lot more currently unproductive land put to use generating electricity – and profit – for the government.

Indeed, the government has announced plans to install 1GW of solar power on government land. The first project, recently completed at a Ministry of Defence (MOD) training facility, will produce 40 MW of electricity at the site. Half of the energy will power the indoor training facilities, while the other half will be exported back into the national grid to generate revenue for the MOD.

The site, which cannot be sold to a private company nor be put to agricultural use due to poor soil quality, is an excellent example of another win-win situation for solar panels on public land.

Interested in your own win-win solution? Complete Renewables are the leading solar panel trade suppliers in Essex. We also fit air source heat pumps in Essex and the surrounding area.

New Energy Secretary Backs Rooftop Solar Panels for Homeowner

Energy secretary Amber Rudd promises to “unleash a new solar revolution.”

It looks like millions more could benefit from falling energy bills and generous subsidies, which is great news for homeowners and PV solar panel installers in Essex and across the UK.

“We have a million people under roofs with solar panels and that number needs to increase,” said Amber Rudd to her local newspaper, the Hastings and St Leonard Observer. She went on to explain that her “new role is quite simple: to keep the lights on and carbon emissions down, whilst saving consumers money on their energy bill.”

What do her comments mean for the future of solar panels in the UK?

The announcement is good news for homeowners that are thinking of having solar panels installed. The Conservatives did not mention solar panels in their 2015 manifesto, which lead to some anxiety amongst environmentalists. But commentators are taking this announcement from Rudd as a signal that subsidies for solar panels will continue.

Is the government committed to renewable energy technology?

The new government has a mixed attitude towards renewable energy.

London Mayor Boris Johnson announced that the new government would “certainly” be the “greenest ever,” yet at the same time the Conservative manifesto contains a pledge to “halt” the development of onshore wind farms.

Likewise, Rudd’s announcement suggests that the government will continue to support rooftop solar panels, but makes no mention of large scale solar farms, which were often attacked by the Coalition.

Most ambitiously of all, David Cameron and the other G7 leaders agreed that the use of fossil fuel should be phased out by the end of the century – but stopped short of signing a legally binding pledge.

Energy minister Lord Bourne indicated the government’s position on renewables by stating that “we need more clean and home-grown sources of energy, which will help to reduce our reliance on foreign fossil fuels.” As solar thermal installers in Essex, we couldn’t agree more.

Is now the best time to buy solar panels?

Based on the available evidence, it looks like now is a very good time to buy solar panels.

Solar panel prices have fallen massively. In 2010, putting a small solar panel system on your roof would have cost £15,000. But today even the largest solar panel system would cost much less, most likely somewhere in the region of £6,000.

The government’s payments to homeowners that install solar panels have dropped in line with the cost of installation. Paul Barwell, chief executive of the Solar Trade Association, explained to This is Money that “as the cost of solar has gradually come down so has the feed in tariff, which means that the return on investment for householders is just as good now as it was in 2010.”

Indeed, the Daily Telegraph recently found that now is the best time to buy solar panels since 2010. This is Money, financial website of the year, found that installing solar panels results in an average 10% tax-free return on investment. In certain properties in Essex and the sunny South-East, the return could be even higher.

If you install solar panels in Essex before the July review, you may be eligible for a higher rate of payment. We are also well known air source heat pump suppliers for Essex and beyond too. Find out more today.