Advice on being green, and renewable energy

Archive for June, 2011

Disposable income

It has been reported by the BBC today that the amount of disposable income available to us all it at its lowest level since 1977. I’m certainly feeling the squeeze as bills, tax and inflation all rise yet salaries seem to be frozen and savings cannot earn any interest.

What would i do with £1,000 a year? Probably take a holiday that i’ve not had since who knows when, maybe join a gym and live a healthier lifestyle, certainly put some of it away for the future as my pension fund is non-existant.

The feed in tariff strikes me as an obvious solution. If i take my hard earned savings and put them into solar power on my roof, i will be able to generate energy, which i will be paid for by my energy supplier – nice to get something back from them for a change. This income could see me being about £1,000 a year better off, better than that the payment is linked to inflation so i will really receive this benefit every year until my fifties! The feed in tariff is also tax free so i can take that as income and start to contribute some of my salary into a pension fund, as i am contributing more i am paying less tax and also my employer has to match my contribution making the feed in tariff work even harder for me. I believe i’ve done my sums right and from this simple and renewable installation i will be able to have a holiday once a year, join a gym and live a healthier lifestyle and even retire earlier than would otherwise be possible.

Solar PV systems installed yes, registered no.

Technically speaking a solar PV system Installed on a domestic propoerty should never be larger than 3.68kW. Why? Simple physics. Your home’s ring circuit is rated to 16 Amps and electricity is supplied at 230 volts. Multiplying these two numbers gives you the maximum power that should be connected, 3,680W, or 3.68kW.

While I agree that efficiencies in the inverter will mean that the peak power of the solar panels is rarely reached, thats not the point. By installing more than 3.68kW you are risking the safety of your home on that rare sunny day when the panels over perform.

Your network operator has very clear guidlelines about the procedures for installing systems of more than 3.68kW – they’re called engineering recommendation G59. Trouble is that G59 is a long and costly application process that installers simply cant be doing correctly before they put your 4kW system up.

The consequences of not registering your system could unbalance the national grid forcing your network operator to take action. This action will be a request to disconnect your unregistered system, which of course means no more feed in tariffs.

Be careful when your installer tells you that you can fit a 4kW system on your roof.