Despite the increase in popularity of solar panels in the UK, installing a system still costs thousands of pounds. Many people are attracted to the idea of installing panels on to their homes because they produce free electricity, are environmentally friendly and can increase the value of your property. However, the high price of solar panels can put people off. A standard domestic solar panel system costs in the region of £7,000 to £10,000.
Although the panels do save money on standard electricity bills, it would take decades for the original outlay to be recouped. For this reason, many people are keen on finding the cheapest way to install solar panels onto their roofs.
You Can't get Cheaper than Free!
There are numerous companies that are willing to offer homeowners free solar panels in the UK. This is because the government has a scheme, known as The Feed In Tariff, which pays a rate for all electricity generated through solar panels. These payments currently equate to just over £500 a year for a standard domestic system. Solar companies will offer to install a homeowner's solar panels for free in return for their Feed In Tariff payments.
The homeowner will still see a reduction in their electricity bill but it will be the solar company making the profit in the long run.
Get in Quick - Tariff Reductions Due Soon
Those wanting to apply for free solar panels should do so quickly. The scheme is going though changes and the tariffs are being cut. The tariff has already been reduced by over half and further reductions are due in August 2012. Should the cuts continue, it may mean solar companies stop offering free solar panels as it will not be profitable to them. Indeed, many companies are already advising applicants that the free panels are only available until 1st August 2012.
Why Let Someone Else Make all the Profit?
Of course, there is the option of the homeowners themselves receiving the tariff payments. The homeowner will still have to fork out the thousands of pounds to install the panels, but a hefty profit can be made. Tariff payments are tax free and guaranteed to last for at least 25 years. So, whilst the panels are not cheap in the short term they do represent a sound future investment. Although tariff payments are due to be cut, the new rates will effect new installations only.
This means once a solar panel system is installed its tariff will remain the same for the remainder of the scheme.
The Waiting Game - Prices will Fall
Solar panels are a relatively new technology especially in the domestic market - and as with all new technologies, this makes them expensive. However, as time passes, it is likely that the price will drop and solar panels will become cheaper. Once solar panels become available on a mass scale to domestic homeowners they are bound to drop in price. Therefore, in order to secure cheap solar panels it may well be worth waiting a few years.
On the other hand, the more popular solar panels become the less likely it is that government scheme such as the Feed In Tariff will exist. So those wanting solar panels will have to weigh up the possibility of cheaper panels against the loss of payment tariffs.
Solar panels are not cheap and people should be wary of any company offering solar panels at a heavily reduced price. Free solar panels are available but do not represent a sound investment. Ultimately, people may be forced to wait for the market prices to fall in the future.