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Aeolienne

Two letters in the Independent re payback from solar power

Copied and pasted...

David Winter of South Cadbury, nr Yeovil, Somerset, wrote:

25 March 2008
Power to the people

Sir: There have been suggestions of a windfall tax on the excess profits of energy companies. This would be popular with people but merely annoy the companies. Would it not be more politically advantageous to "encourage" them to make large subsidies to householders who install solar panels, with the right to sell surplus power back to the supplier and help offset the cost of the installation?


John Mogan of Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear, wrote:

27 March 2008
Solar payback

Sir: Unless the aptly named David Winter (letter, 25 March) were to have a particularly large roof area, entirely covered in many thousands of pounds' worth of solar panels, he would never be likely to sell any meaningful quantity of surplus power to his electricity provider. In addition, the payback time on his investment would most likely be measured in decades. While I applaud his sentiments, should he go down this route I hope that he is a very young man with plenty of cash to spare.
Jonnyboy

Very Happy
dpack

afaik that is the situation
vegplot

Anyone who considers making any decent income from selling power back to the grid from solar PV needs to think again. The UK doesn't have the economic framework for such ventures. It's going to take more than a few years to cover costs. The only real reason anyone should consider solar PV is to be free of the grid or want to acheive some degree of environmental care.
dpack

the kit needs rare metals and lot of other stuff , we have only some reliable sunlight
we have lots of moving water , plenty of heat gradients
and lots of capacity for sustainable fuel
if we look for it
vegplot

dpack wrote:
the kit needs rare metals and lot of other stuff , we have only some reliable sunlight
we have lots of moving water , plenty of heat gradients
and lots of capacity for sustainable fuel
if we look for it


and wind.
gnome

and one more problem - we have harsh weather in the UK - our roofs are frequently damaged by storms and gales, so how long can we expect solar panels to last before they need repairing or replacing?
JB

gnome wrote:
and one more problem - we have harsh weather in the UK - our roofs are frequently damaged by storms and gales, so how long can we expect solar panels to last before they need repairing or replacing?


That's not a real problem unless you live in a particularly exposed location. How often do you face major damage to a roof which requires reroofing?
Mrs Fiddlesticks

another way of looking at it was taken by neighbours of ours who have put in PV panels and a Solar hot water system. As they're in their 70's its clear a payback isn't going to happen in their lifetimes however they do feel that they may be rewarded with a higher value on their house when they come to sell at some forward point (or even their estate to sell ) I don't know if that is a viable way of thinking about it but it is an interesting perspective.
gnome

JB wrote:
gnome wrote:
and one more problem - we have harsh weather in the UK - our roofs are frequently damaged by storms and gales, so how long can we expect solar panels to last before they need repairing or replacing?


That's not a real problem unless you live in a particularly exposed location. How often do you face major damage to a roof which requires reroofing?


i wouldn't call my area particularly exposed, but we frequently lose tiles from the roofs in our street - enough to need repair to fix leaks, and the odd satelite dish comes down now and again. just how durable are solar panels, and how long will they last in our climate?
joanne

Gnome - the loss of tiles where you live is more likely due to the lack of maintenance than the climate conditions - I would argue that we live in a much more windy part of the town and we haven't lost any tiles in the recent bad weather

Solar Panels are actually screwed onto the joists in the roof - I think they are fairly stable
vegplot

gnome wrote:
JB wrote:
gnome wrote:
and one more problem - we have harsh weather in the UK - our roofs are frequently damaged by storms and gales, so how long can we expect solar panels to last before they need repairing or replacing?


That's not a real problem unless you live in a particularly exposed location. How often do you face major damage to a roof which requires reroofing?


i wouldn't call my area particularly exposed, but we frequently lose tiles from the roofs in our street - enough to need repair to fix leaks, and the odd satelite dish comes down now and again. just how durable are solar panels, and how long will they last in our climate?


PV panels are very robust and are built to withstand large hailstones and other extremes of weather. They are normally fixed into a frame which is mounted directly onto the roof or on special racks, both methods are secured throught to the underlying joists. PV Panels are designed with a life span of 25 years or more.

The only worry you have is overheating. Panels will be destroyed if allowed to reach 85C, the phyisical panel itself can withstand the heat but not the silicon (it's why we need fans on our PC's to keep temp below 70C). So when mounting on a roof make sure you have an air gap to allow air to circulate. PV tiles are more prone to damage if they are incorrectly fitted without an air gap, 50mm is good.
FM

jocorless wrote:
Gnome - the loss of tiles where you live is more likely due to the lack of maintenance than the climate conditions - I would argue that we live in a much more windy part of the town and we haven't lost any tiles in the recent bad weather

Solar Panels are actually screwed onto the joists in the roof - I think they are fairly stable


yeah, but what if someone's solar panel is hit by a tile or satellite dish that has blown off someone else's roof? or a tree branch for that matter? i'm not trying to put down solar panels, i just want to know how durable are they to adverse weather and damage. will they add to the insurance cost of the house? now we often have tops of recycling boxes flying through the air - though it is rare for them to reach roof height.

anyway - i dont think its a matter of poorer maintenance of roofs - the houses in my street are a lot taller and a hell of a lot older than the houses on your street. ours are all slate.
Brandon

Quote:
anyway - i dont think its a matter of poorer maintenance of roofs - the houses in my street are a lot taller and a hell of a lot older than the houses on your street. ours are all slate.


Stikes me that an older house, with a higher roof is far more likely to be lacking in the maintenance department than a younger house with a lower roof...

A slate roof is no excuse to have them blowing off, if well built AND MAINTAINED, then they should stay put.

Just MHO, as someone who has done a lot of slate roofing in some stupidly windy places.
vegplot

Brandon wrote:
Just MHO, as someone who has done a lot of slate roofing in some stupidly windy places.


We get silly winds here, being in the mouth of the Ogwen Valley and all slate roofs, I' don't think I've ever seen one dislodged, tiles that is.
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