Published: 23 December 2011
Todwick has recently become a little bit “greener” following the installation of solar panels on the Village Hall as part of the government’s Feed In Tariff scheme (FIT). The colour of the panels installed were carefully chosen to blend in, as far as is possible, with the roof and the system started generating power on 5 December 2011. The Village Hall is blessed in facing due south with nothing blocking the sun and is therefore perfectly placed to achieve the maximum benefit from this kind of technology.
The FIT scheme was initiated on 1 April 2010 by the Department of Energy and Climate Change and is monitored by Ofgem.
The idea was to encourage low carbon electricity generation, particularly by businesses, communities and householders, in return for a guaranteed payment for all electricity generated and with a small additional payment for electricity “exported” to the grid.
The way the system works
The panels on the roof are inter-connected photo-voltaic cells (PV panels) which convert light into DC electricity. This passes to an inverter which converts the electricity from DC into AC. This is then sent to the consumer unit. If any appliances are being used in the building then this electricity will be used first (before the normal grid supply). Any generated electricity not used is exported to the grid. There are no moving parts and the system is virtually maintenance free.
For all PV systems installed before 12 December 2011 the energy supplier with whom the system is registered pays 43.3 pence for every kWh generated (whether it is used or not). In addition an assumption is made that 50% of the electricity generated will be used, with the other 50% being exported to the grid – for which the owner is paid a further 3.1 pence. These prices are index linked, increasing each year (April 1st) and are guaranteed by the government for 25 years.
Our system is expected to generate an annual income at today’s prices of about £1480, including paying off the investment in six and a half years, which will go towards future projects in Todwick. Also, the Village Hall will benefit from a much reduced electricity bill. In addition, approximately 2½ tonnes of CO2 will be avoided each year.
In total, this investment represents a return over 25 years, including the capital invested, of approx. 16% – an excellent return in anyone’s language – and will benefit Todwick for many years to come.