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STA: solar still a ‘no-brainer’ at 16p

The Solar Trade Association (STA) has moved to reassure industry that customers will still enjoy decent returns on a domestic solar investment ahead of the reduction in feed-in tariff (FiT) rate on August 1. The industry association maintains that, despite the FiT rate tumbling from 21p to 16p and the FiT lifetime falling from 25 to 20 years, solar will continue to be an attractive investment for consumers.

To illustrate the point, STA has pulled together credible industry data to calculate what returns solar customers can realistically expect. The new ‘STA Calculator’ shows that, for a family installing a 4kWp system in August costing £8,000, using 50 percent of their power in the home and exporting 50 percent; the system will have paid for itself within 10 years. The STA also calculates that returns of up to 9.2 percent will still be on offer to those investing in solar over the 20 year tariff lifetime.

STA CEO Paul Barwell said: “Our figures show that solar is a no-brainer investment. Compared to the returns you can get these days in banks and many other investments, solar provides a very solid and attractive return. That is particularly the case if you consider energy bills are rising faster than anyone expected. Investors in solar are also helping us to drive an exciting energy revolution, putting power in the hands of everyday people, while saving the planet.”

The STA Calculator is based on Governmental projections in electricity cost and established national average yields from solar power. However, the association notes that figures used are on the conservative side. At the moment electricity bills are rising much higher than Government predict, and if customers use more than 50 percent of the electricity generated by a their solar system they will also see further benefit.

Barwell added: “Nobody knows what electricity prices will be in future but we do know they have gone up substantially over the past few years. This trend may well continue as the UK becomes more reliant on importing its energy in an increasingly competitive world.”

The STA Calculator is currently being finalised before being rolled out to all the association’s members in the near future. The aim of the calculator is to provide the public with an easy-to-understand independent calculation of a solar system’s capabilities. Now that the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has acknowledged that solar will play an important part in the future UK energy mix, solar will become an increasingly attractive option for the British public.

Barwell concluded: “Solar gives people the opportunity to take control of their electricity bills and help us move away from damaging fossil-fuel dependence. We believe the smart money is on solar.”

Solar Power Portal
Date: 31/07/2012
Author: Petter Bennett

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