Posts tagged with: solar investments

The BBC website yesterday released a business article showing that all is not doom and gloom in the financial world. Certainly, while we are told that Britain is set to reel under the dramatic public sector spending review of the coming months, farming at least has the potential to benefit financially from the government’s solar feed-in tariff scheme. has been a keen exponent of the tariff system both home and abroad for the last three years as a way of making solar projects viable, profitable and of course, a long term alternative to other unprotected investments. Now, as the BBC has reported, it is now the turn of forward thinking farm owners to cash in on the tariff scheme which pays small scale producers of solar photovoltaic energy a fixed, premium rate both for the energy they use and feed back into the national grid.

On a BBC website laden with news of the scrapping of the Ark Royal, cutting the Housing budget and the Spending Review, it is good news for a young and growing UK photovoltaic industry that high profile media outlets are now regularly running with solar feed-in tariff case studies. Never one to shy away from the media, Glastonbury festival entrepreneur Michael Eavis plays a prominent role throughout the article, highlighting the very simple financial rewards involved in investing in solar. Indeed, in an industry often reluctant to change Eavis provides perhaps the best example of how farmers can increase profits through investing in new areas, in his case, Rock Festivals and Solar panels.

With a number of solar pv companies now vying to tap into the burgeoning solar market on British farms, landowners will have no shortage in sourcing panels in order to start tapping in to the tariff scheme. The BBC article, rich with quotes from suppliers stressing difficulty in keeping up with demand at the moment, highlights that, once the revenue generation model of solar pv becomes better understood and widely accepted, then the potential for long term profits in UK rural solar projects will continue to go from strength to strength.

For more information on how you could benefit from the solar feed-in tariff, please contact:

Following their announcement that they would be giving away free solar installations to households across the UK, it is perhaps unsurprising that energy firm, Homesun have received an unprecedented level of inquiries.

The offer will include both a technical survey to ensure that the property is suitable for solar panel installation and of course the actual installation, taking away the initial start up costs which often act as a deterrent to potential renewable installers.

100,000 systems will be given away to homeowners with south-facing roofs meeting the requirements of the survey, allowing them to enjoy all of the benefits of a solar panel system without having to outlay all of the initial costs associated with solar technology.

Solar panels could save homeowners up to 40 per cent on their electricity bills with estimates that a typical 3 bedroom semi could save up to £250 a year, with the added benefit that homes with solar panels installed fetch a higher price on the market than comparative properties without. A spokeswoman for Homesun commented,

“There’s real excitement about what we are doing. This just goes to show the latent demand for solar amongst the British public, they just needed to find a way to access it. Solar now makes perfect sense. I am proud HomeSun is leading the charge to take solar mainstream.”

Homesun have already announced that since the release of their offer, they have received 7,000 calls and have had 10,000 people log onto the Homesun website. Talking about the unprecedented level of interest, Chief Executive of Homesun David Green said,

“The phones have been absolutely mental and it’s put huge pressure on our website. We were not anticipating such enormous demand. It’s clear that for the first time, we have allowed renewable energy for residents to break through.”

Homesun’s offer has been made possible by the introduction of feed-in tariffs, government legislation introduced in April 2010 devised to increase the take up of renewable energy generation. The tariff works by offering premium, guaranteed rates for both the energy used and the units of energy fed-into the national grid from the renewable systems.

Homesun will therefore be able to recoup their initial investment and subsequently make a healthy profit on each installation. Homeowners will be given the opportunity to buy the tariff contracts from Homesun in the future but it is more likely that most will simply opt to make savings on their bills.

With offers such as Homesun’s making an impact in the media and the building of consciousness about the feed-in tariff, it is very likely that before long the market will be jam packed by suppliers offering very similar solutions

Sharp Corp, a leading Japanese manufacturer of solar cells has given a stark indication of European demand for solar production by investing £29.5 million in its British plant. Growing demand across Europe and in particular in the UK, following the introduction of tariff subsidies has seen the need for Sharp Corp to increase the output of solar cell modules in its Swindon based plant.

The increased investment gives encouraging signs not only for UK manufacturing in the face of the financial crisis but also renewable energy as a means of rejuvenating the struggling economy and generating jobs.

The feed-in tariff system, which came into effect in April this year was devised as a way of attracting investment in renewable energy and has proved successful in countries such as Germany and Spain where tariff payments have offset the initial costs of installing solar plant and offered attractive yields to investors. Sharp Corp have certainly seen an added interest in solar power, reflected by the investment in the manufacturing of essential solar components.

“This time last year 99 per cent of the modules that we manufactured at Wrexham were exported to Europe and that has already dropped to 90 per cent. The feed-in tariff has given confidence to manufacturers like ourselves to invest,” spoke Andrew Lee, General Manager of Sharp Solar.

Indeed, the investment in the UK plant will see four additional production lines taking the capacity of the factory up to 500 mW by 2011. In terms of job creation, the plant which currently employs 750 people is unsure about how many new jobs will be created but green shoots nevertheless for supporters of a low carbon economy.

Bad news abounds in the British press with daily economic doom and gloom stories painting a grim picture of the public sector with key areas such as education set to struggle as purse strings are tightened. However, good news at last as Solarcentury and GE announce their Solar4Schools programme, a scheme designed to make solar energy affordable for UK schools.

The Solar4Schools project will see GE Capital cover the installation costs of solar panels with average costs of £16,000 for a secondary school being paid off after just 15 years, utilizing the feed-in tariff mechanism. GE Capital’s investment means that schools only have to foot the deposit for the installation but can subsequently make significant savings on their energy bills as the panels begin to generate power.

The real benefit for schools comes once the initial cost of the installation is paid off. The feed-in tariff works by paying premium rates for the energy generated by small renewable projects meaning that schools will be able to enjoy a constant revenue stream from the energy generated by the panels over the projects 25 year lifespan.

CEO of Solarcentury Derry Newman stated,

“We’re delighted GE is helping roll Solar4Schools out on a larger scale. As local authorities face budget cuts, this is an opportunity for them to create a long term revenue stream.”

Certainly, with 250 schools already benefiting from a scheme which could see potential savings of £840 pa on bills and generating up to £3000 in revenue, the Solar4Schools project is already proving a success.