Exmouth can still solar

PUBLISHED: 16:14 18 December 2011

Archant

Some Exmouth homeowners are among the last few in the country to still be able to benefit from a scheme that fits solar panels on people's roofs for free.

The scheme, known as free solar, means that homeowners who can’t afford their own solar panels get the cost of the system, its installation and maintenance covered by a renewable energy installer.

The homeowner benefits from self-generated green electricity and up to 50 per cent off their energy bills, while the installer receives what is known as the feed-in-tariff – regular payments that energy suppliers are obliged to pay to generators of green electricity.

Last month, the Government announced that it would be cutting the feed-in-tariff by 50 per cent from December 12.

Alex Lockton, managing director at renewable energy installer Freesource Energy, said: “Free solar worked because investors were willing to put their money into a technology which delivered good returns in the form of feed-in-tariff payments.

“But the tariff cut has meant that the whole idea has become less attractive for investors and free solar has all but disappeared as a result.

“However, coastal locations, particularly in southern England, are ideal for solar panels. They are sunnier and have stronger winds, which keep the panels cool during the hotter months and means they perform better.”

“This means that the installer can still get a good return on investment, despite the tariff cut.”

Owners of a four-bedroom house with a four-kilowatt peak solar panel system would typically save between £175 and £260 per year on energy bills.

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