Taking control of electricity – time for solar to shine

solar parks in development

As the well-publicised rises in the price of electricity for consumers and businesses are set to bite this autumn, is it time for tariff free small scale solar to be given serious consideration?

Whilst there are no longer tariff payments for solar, the cost has tumbled since the introduction of the feed in tariff. A 4.5kW array with solar diverter can be installed for around £6,000. This will provide around 4,000kWh of electricity annually that can be sold under the Solar Export Guarantee Scheme (SEG) for around 5.5p/kWh; or more importantly, used to offset the purchase of grid supplied electricity – which is where the real savings now lie.

Obviously, the power is generated in daylight hours and will fluctuate with the seasons. Nonetheless with electricity costing 30p/kWh or more on some tariffs, the savings can be significant if solar consumption can be maximised and sale of excess minimised. This clearly suits an office or working farmhouse scenario where the usage of electricity largely coincides with daylight hours. Excess can be harnessed with a solar diverter to provide immersion heating to a hot water tank, and with a suitable EV charger, sent to a car battery. Dependent on the usage pattern there is also the ability to divert excess to battery storage for use in the evening.

Within Scotland SME loans are available from Business Energy Scotland and domestic loans are available from Home Energy Scotland for residential schemes (owner occupier and landlords) to help manage the cash flow of installing the technology.

It is also worth noting that currently solar photovoltaics (PV) attracts 9-10 points on an EPC assessment which would help significantly in meeting minimum efficiency targets for let properties in a non-invasive way for occupied houses.

Of course, there are practical considerations to review in terms of an installation. What is the roof orientation? Is there overshading that needs avoided if possible? What condition is the steading roof in? Is there a heritage designation that would restrict ability to install?

Many people have reassessed solar in light of the energy price rises and demand is high with installers struggling to keep with enquiries. Nonetheless solar remains a relatively low cost and compelling option to control business exposure to retail energy prices and Davidson & Robertson are actively pursuing schemes for property management clients. For more information contact your local D&R team or Ian Austin on 0131 449 1151.


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