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Plug Into The Sun in It's Not Easy Being Green

Date: 7 Jan 2009

It's Not Easy Being Green, BBC2, 7th January 8pm

Andy with Dick Strawbridge from It's not easy being green Andy with Dick Strawbridge from It's not easy being green

On January 7th 2009 Plug Into The Sun featured in the BBC documentary, 'It's not easy being green'. Andy Tanner and his team were filmed installing solar PV cells for Dick Strawbridge and his family in their home.

The solar PV system uses 15 x SANYO HYBRID 210W modules making a peak output of 3.15kWp. This will produce over 3000kWh per year - this is the almost as much as the average home consumes in the UK to power their domestic appliances. This will save over one and a half tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year. So even though the Strawbridge family live in a large farm complex this will offset all their electricity consumption, which along with all the other green measures in their home will help to make them carbon neutral. See the It's Not Easy Being Green case study for full details.

The Sanyo modules are the most efficient on the market and combine mono-crystalline technology with a layer of amorphous. The whole array is integrated into the roof so that they are virtually flush which makes the whole installation very aesthetically pleasing. The system will power the electricity into their home. Any excess is exported to the grid and they are paid 20p / kWh.  

Generating your own household electricity has numerous benefits, particularly in today’s climate of credit crunch, fuel crisis, carbon footprints and a struggling property market. With house prices predicted to fall by a further 30% in 2009, experts advise the best thing to do is sit tight and increase your home's appeal and value. There’s never been a better time to consider installing a solar electricity system.

Here's five reasons to consider installing solar PV on your roof:

1. Reduce your electricity bills

For the first time ever, the average family energy bill is now over £1,000 and is predicted to go up by 40% this winter. Fitting a solar PV system to your roof will help you have more control over your energy bills and be less susceptible to further price hikes as you can produce 100% of the electricity you actually use. The annual savings on electricity bills are now at least as good if not better than putting spare cash in a high interest savings account, based on the yield on the capital.

2. Get paid by your energy supplier

Instead of having a one way relationship with your energy supplier, a solar PV system can help earn you money back. The unused energy you produce whilst at work or on holiday can be sold back to your energy supplier with typical rates between 15p and 20p* per unit, you can actually watch your energy meter spin backwards. A house with a solar PV system can also make money by selling the ROCs (Renewable Obligation Certificates) received from the Government to your energy supplier. Together this could earn you an average of £350 per year. Dick Strawbridge's system will save him over £600 per year.

3. Improve the value of your home

House prices are due to fall by a further 25% in 2009 and experts advise the best thing to do in a tough property market is sit tight and increase your home's appeal for when the market picks up. Reports from both Energy Saving Trust and DEFRA show that homebuyers are willing to pay up to £10,000 more for a sustainable home and 73% of home buyers say energy efficient features would be fairly or very important in choosing their next home. Solar tiles (C21e) are now designed to blend unnoticeably with a range of roof tiles, making it an attractive choice as well as an intelligent one. Unlike boilers that need servicing and replacing annually, there are no ongoing maintenance costs with solar PV – it’s fit and forget technology.

4. Make your footprint a green one

The average British household consumes just over 4,000 kWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity and puts six tonnes (two from electric) of CO2 into the atmosphere each year. This might seem small but it takes over nine trees a hundred years to absorb this amount. Installing a solar PV system is in an effective way to reduce your carbon footprint without altering the appearance of your home or making a lifestyle change – a standard solar PV system will generate clean energy that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere as CO2. What’s more, evidence shows that families and households that create their own electricity through solar become more energy aware, cutting consumption and electricity bills even further.

5. Take advantage of green grants

The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform provides grants for installing solar power to home owners through the Low Carbon Buildings Programme. PLUG INTO THE SUN will help you through the grant application process and you could get a grant of £2,500 as a domestic customer and up to 100% funding as a Public Sector organisation!

* latest figure from SSE