Thursday, 19 April 2012

Making money from the sun?

A close relative was visiting us at the weekend, enthusing about a new money-making scheme she'd signed up to: solar panels.

A salesman had called round, and sold her a grid-connected system - in other words, the solar electricity she doesn't use gets put back into the electricity supply network for others to use. And, because she's effectively running a miniature power station, she gets paid for doing so.

The salesman estimated that the system would pay for itself in 6 years. But this seemed overly optimistic, given the small size of the system he quoted. The government has publicly said that they will subsidise the payments to solar generators for many years to come. But there's something about politicians' promises, in combination with salesmans' promises, that made me feel uneasy.

Thankfully, another relative used to work for a renewable energy company, so we were able to support our opinions: solar PV may be a good way to help save the planet, but we don't view it as a get-rich-quick scheme.

Thankfully, there's a cooling-off period on the contract, so there's time to reconsider.

Is there really a money-making opportunity in solar PV panels? And where does the money come from?

(photo credit: Solar Panels by Ell Brown, licenced under Creative Commons CC-BY licence, obtained via )

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