Wednesday 22 June 2022

Our solar panels are worthless

- at least to us.

Thinking he was doing the right thing the Senior Cat had solar panels installed several years ago. They are designed to feed electricity into the grid and we were supposed to get at least a small return for our investment. 

This was being done all over the place. My BIL, who knows how these things work, installed some at the same time. He organised ours as well as his. We probably didn't pay quite as much as most people because he knew the owner of the company in question and, having the necessary qualification as part of his degree, he helped to install them.

The return on the so called investment has not paid off. We still haven't covered the cost of installing the panels. In the meantime the electricity generator has been selling the power they buy from us back to us at a greatly inflated price...around 800% at present. 

I have now had a notification informing me that the price they are prepared to pay has dropped even further. At the same time they are still trying to encourage people to put more panels on every available roof.  They seem to be succeeding too. People believe they are doing the right thing.

I am less sure. The real cost of installing solar panels is much higher than most people think it is. There is the cost of making and transporting those panels, the cost of the unit which connects the panels to the grid, the cost of maintenance and more. There is an environmental cost too. Solar panels are not the nice, friendly green things people like to believe they are. They don't last forever - although they do last longer than they first did. They are made from some environmentally unfriendly materials. There are problems disposing of those that can no longer be used, especially in environmentally responsible ways.  

Someone has just had a new house built on my regular pedalling route. I was introduced to him recently. We discussed the fact he and his partner have not had solar panels installed on their roof. The house has been designed with the environment in mind so I was curious and so was the person who was making the introductions.

"I'm an accountant. I did the calculations and, taking everything into consideration, I came to the conclusion that we can better return on other more environmentally responsible projects."

It started to rain at that point so I excused myself but I'd like to know what those projects are. 

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