Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Solar Power - Part 3

So if the California experience with solar power isn’t that good, what about in a country like England?

SOLAR PANELS are one of the least cost-effective ways of combating climate change and will take 100 years to pay back their installation costs, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors warned yesterday.

Given that the devices have a maximum lifetime of 30 years, they are never likely to recoup the 3,000 to 20,000 cost of their installation, according to Rics' building cost information service.

Instead, it suggested people wanting to cut fuel bills should insulate lofts and cavity walls, install efficient light bulbs and seal windows.

Solar panels for heating and power and wind turbines generating between 3kW and 5kW merited two stars. Smaller 1.5kW turbines of the type installed on roofs paid back in 25 years, received a three- star rating.

By contrast, cavity wall insulation had a five-star rating: spending 440 would save 145 a year in fuel bills, paying back in three years, while an investment of 325 in extra loft insulation would save 60 annually, paying back in five years.

The figures were compiled before energy companies put up bills by up to 30 per cent last month and ignore state subsidies
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So according to this English report Solar Panels are expensive, not particularly efficient. Also, they claim the money would be better and more efficiently spent on improving the insulation of homes allowing them to reduce their heating and cooling needs and therefore their energy usage requirements. Much more sensible. Solar panels certainly do have their place in the wider energy generation market, but without large government intervention with subsidies it is a very expensive way to produce it.

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