We often speak to many eco-conscious self-builders here at Greenscape Energy who are keen to generate as much renewable energy as possible to power and to heat their new homes. We also get regular calls from another group of home-builders, who are after a minimal amount of solar which they require in order to receive sign off from building control.
Whilst the Zero Carbon Homes requirement of the 2016 building regulations was scrapped last year, it is apparent that many local authorities are continuing to set targets for carbon compliance.
The ‘Green Light’
This could be heralded as a win for environmentalists, with renewable technologies continuing to receive the ‘green light’ from eco-conscious city planners. We could however argue that the thinking behind these decisions is not so ‘switched on’, often providing the proud new homeowner barely enough renewable energy to boil a kettle!
Installing the smallest of PV systems may help projects to pass building control in the short-term; although we would argue that this short-sighted decision guides home-builders to overlook the real benefits of solar panels.
Firstly we must consider energy storage technology which is still very much in its infancy, but is improving all of the time. The commonly installed 0.5kW systems will never produce enough energy to supply a home, let alone charge a battery as well. Whilst newer builds in the future will be looking towards self-sufficiency, the now out-dated self-build project of 2017 with 2 solar panels may start to look badly thought out.
Additionally we can’t forget the impending electricity price increases, which could lead to regrets over such a small generation capacity.
Whilst you are already paying out for the fixed costs of installation, (employing the installation team, scaffolding and an inverter to convert DC to AC electricity for example,) for a very small system; it is comparatively cheap to scale the system at the same time by adding extra panels.
This represents much greater cost effectiveness in the long run, allowing homeowners to generate more electricity, which offers financial returns through government subsidies, alongside savings for not buying energy in from the national grid.
Warming To It?
Air Source Heat Pumps are often the go-to heating technology for self-builders, especially for those looking to build homes off the mains gas grid. Whilst this technology offers unrivalled efficiency, energy savings, and similar generation subsidies to solar, it still requires electricity to run. Teaming up a heat pump with a solar PV system is the perfect package, providing home utilities free of charge!
To find out more about solar, and Greenscape Energy, please see our website: www.greenscapeeenrgy.co.uk