A sunny future for the solar panel industry

By Solar Stu January 30, 2013
A forward thinking strategy

A forward thinking strategy

However, humanity’s horizons are filled with storm clouds. Already within one month of this new year, four astonishing things have happened that will change our thinking about the role solar panels will play in our society and the new forward thinking political policies.

A new time of enlightenment or too little too late? You decide.

1. Barack Obama in his inauguration speech to the American people finally acknowledged that the global warming issue is a real human problem that will affect not just our kid’s future, but our own generation, and the here and now, as global droughts, erratic climate changes begin to affect our ability to feed ourselves.

2. The French president, Mr. Francois Hollande also acknowledged the “catastrophe” which humanity is sleepwalking into. At an alternative energy convention in Saudi Arabia, Mr. Hollande confirmed to the world that climate change is here and is a real concern.

3. In the approach to an OFT (Office of Fair Trading) and government investigation into energy pricing, the oil companies deliberately flexed their muscles in defiance and increased the price of fuel by four pence per Litre. With no reasoning behind the price rise, this has led many to suspect that this was a deliberate act of showing the tail that it does not wag the dog.

4. Saudi Arabia as the biggest supplier in the world’s crude oil supply, has warned the world that the oil they own is now worth more to them, “still in the ground” rather than selling it on the global markets. Speculation has been around that they have been struggling to keep up production rates and this would also explain their $100 billion pound investment in alternative technologies for the future.

After years of denial, and unwillingness to discuss these monumental issues, it now seems the world and its G8 leaders have now decided to acknowledge the icebergs, which our titanic civilisation is heading towards. The gargantuan issues ever to confront humanity, i.e. Peak oil and global heating, are out in the open now and finally being discussed by mainstream politics.

Barack Obama’s willingness to be open and honest may finally be the cornerstone to change, which as our own coalition governments backward policies on the green issue’s and alternative technologies show, strongly suggest George Osbourne and David Cameron may be incompetent.

The, self-proclaimed; “greenest government ever” has in two short years of office attempted to undermine our homegrown alternative technology industries, just before the rest of the world’s superpowers embrace them. For a government obsessed with growth and job creation, it seems unbelievable that they could not see the largest opportunity in growth and exports since the birth of the digital revolution.

The problem of escalating energy costs domestically and commercially will continue to dominate the headlines over the next few years, as with our governments and utility companies own admissions, will see the average household energy bills rise from today’s £1,200 to £2,000 per year by 2020. This conservative estimate is based on no-unexpected shocks within the supply chain system.

The time has come to be serious about self-generation

The new buzzword for 2013 will be “self-generation”, as year on year price hikes take its toll.

After a year of uncertainty within the solar panel industry, the new year has brought confirmation of a more stable framework of feed-in tariff incentives. Steady growth is now predicted for the industry as people and companies look for alternative ways to be less dependent on expensive fuels by self-generating in the home or business.

It is important, however, to beat the madding crowd as the incentives are better for earlier adopters. Once this fledgling solar industry has legs, the tariffs will be scaled-back by for later adopters.
For example, current installations see a financial reward, “even if you use the self-generated power yourself” but once these solar technologies become overwhelmingly popular, I suspect that later adopters will miss out on the ‘even if you use it yourself’ part of the incentive scheme.

Only being paid for the excess power you self-generate with your solar panels may be the way the scheme will conclude, but for now, both the Renewable Heat Incentive and the ‘Clean Energy Cash Back Scheme‘ currently still pay a generous tariff for solar heating and electricity, even if that power is used within the household or business.

Other benefits of the schemes include:

  1. A return on investment ranging from 8-12% for solar pioneers.
  2. Gives home and business owners a tax free and index linked payments for up to 20 years.
  3. Make your money back within 8-10 years, but still enjoy many years of savings and profit.
  4. Technology lifespan of 30 plus years. Longer than your mortgage.
  5. Good for your pocket, good for your home and especially good for your pride.

The world around us we are changing fast. Old comfortable perceptions of affordable energy and mankinds affects the world are corroding fast. Alternative technologies may not hold all the answers to humanities growing list of problems, but it’s a forward thinking step in the right direction.

As the storm clouds edge closer from the horizon, wearing the correct protective equipment will become more and more important to protect our families from the deluge that will pour upon our modern civilisation.

Change is coming, but it’s up to us if we choose to embrace that change.

Welcome to the solar panel century.

 

Solar Stu
Solar Stu

"Solar panels in the UK are a new phenomenon, but the potential of this technology to change the world, cannot be understated. There's nothing more powerful than a technology whose time has come."

Stuart C Lovatt
Founder of Heat my Home.