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EDF offers British homeowners a solar system – installed free, but with conditions

Guardian 12th Aug 2017, If you want solar photovoltaic panels on your home but don’t have the money for them, EDF Energy is offering to install a free system – complete with
storage batteries – if you agree to buy the subsidised power it generates
for 20 years.

The French-owned energy giant is looking for 100 homes to
trial its Sunplug scheme, which is being offered in conjunction with
established solar supplier Lightsource. To sign up you need to have a
large, unshaded south-facing roof at a pitch of about 45 degrees. If you
are accepted, the company will install the largest solar panel system the
roof can take – a 16-panel setup will generate 4kW – plus an LG storage
battery that lets you use the power that’s generated during the day in the
evening.

In return, EDF gets to keep the feed-in tariff paid by the
government, which is worth about £150 a year. It also keeps the export
tariff – around £50 a year. The householder is contractually bound to
pay Sunplug 9.9p per kilowatt hour for each unit of electricity they use
from the panels and battery.

This is a little cheaper than what you would pay if you bought green electricity from the grid. For example, green
supplier Good Energy charges 15.5p, with a standing charge averaging 26p a
day. The advantage could come in future years as the price demanded by
Sunplug can only rise by the retail prices index or 2.5% – whichever is
lower.

If the price of grid electricity rises substantially over the next
20 years, users will make considerable savings. However, if they don’t,
some users will be left wondering why they bothered, not least because they
have to have the system inspected each year, which will cost about £80. So
this scheme is likely to appeal to anyone who wants green electricity at
fixed prices over the next two decades.

The other significant benefit comes at the end of the 20-year term, when the householder is given ownership of
the system, which should continue to generate substantial free power. So
what’s the Money verdict? Solar PV systems are still a good investment if
you have the money upfront, the right roof and location, and if you plan to
stay in the house for a long time. The case for the free Sunplug deal is
less clear. To us, it looks too heavily weighted in favour of the company.
If it offered some free electricity each day or other incentives, that
would make the scheme more attractive.

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/aug/12/edf-free-solar-panels-buy-power-generated-20-years

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August 14, 2017 - Posted by | decentralised, UK

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