2016: The Success of the Sun
It’s that time of year when we reflect on the successes of the past 12 months. No prizes for guessing that, once again, the most popular use of our loans in 2016 has been to invest in Solar PV. In fact, this has been the most popular use of loans at Robert Owen community bank for every year since 2010! Although the ‘glory days’ of the high feed in tariffs are behind us, PV continues to stand out on our portfolio.
This phenomenon is not unique to Robert Owen Community Bank, or in fact Powys, the year-on-year UK growth of Solar Capacity actually increased 86% between 2014 and 2015. In 2016, around 750,000 solar installations generate an energy capacity of 9.69 GW (9690 MW). According to most formulas and conversion factors this is enough electricity to power almost 3 million homes, or 10% of all homes in the UK, (and this is growing every day)!
Robert Owen Community Bank has funded the installation of over 250 solar arrays since 2010, through the provision of 0% interest loans up to £10,000, for a period of up to 5 years.
So why is PV so popular?
The popularity of domestic solar power can be attributed to a number of factors. Firstly, Solar Power has never been more affordable. Solar Panels today are just 1% of the cost they were 35 years ago. This, along with soaring energy prices in the UK, has meant that, in many instances, solar power has become a more cost effective option than retail electricity.
There is also the growing concern for issues such as climate change, recourse depletion and habitat destruction, issues that are all exacerbated by the usage of fossil fuels in electricity generation. Much of the domestic energy we consume in the UK comes from coal power stations one of the most carbon intensive methods of energy generation. However, by installing solar panels, people can reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a better environment for all.
Although the ‘Feed in Tariff’ has fallen significantly from around £0.40 per kWh in 2011, to around £0.10 per kWh for a standard 4kw installation today, it is still a significant pull-factor in getting solar panels installed. In 2016, installing a 4Kw solar array can generate an income of £200 to £250 per year, with savings of around £80.00 on electricity bills. A further feel good factor comes from realising that this removes up to 2 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere each year.
Compared to some other domestic renewable energy sources, solar panels are very easy to install. The flexibility with installation allows them to be constructed on almost any surface, including walls and rooftops. Many panels can even be continually adjusted throughout their lifetime to achieve the highest efficiency and electricity production. Will 2017 be the year you finally take the plunge?
If you are ready to invest in solar for your home, and want to spread the cost email Jan Godfrey at: