Solar panel installation: a good idea?

 

Those who know me will know I’m not overburdened with a sense of ambition to save the planet. I’m not big on recycling, and only use the brown plastics and glass bin because, if I didn’t, my other bin would fill up before the week was out. I don’t make a point of switching off lights and plug sockets (except of course for the few days following receipt of an electricity bill, like everyone else) and I’m not plagued by worry over global warming.

It’s not that I don’t care; I just have other things to care about first. However, when I received an email last week from Eon concerning their solar panel offer, I was oddly intrigued. In exchange for a minor application fee, of less than £100, they will install solar panels onto the roof of your home and you can benefit from the electricity the panels generate.

This sounds too good to be true, until you ask yourself what does Eon get out of it?

You, the customer, would pay Eon just £99, and you get solar panel installation on your roof worth several thousand pounds. You, sorry your property, are then tied in to a contract to keep the solar panels for around 25 years, during which time your bills will be reduced (according to Eon, by as much as £150 per year).

There’s the rub. Solar panels will generate a heck of a lot more than £150 worth of electricity per year. They’ll generate more than enough electricity to run your whole house, and have enough left over to sell back to the grid. The downside is, of course, the cost of solar panel installation. However, if you can afford a few grand to fit solar panels to the roof of your house, if your house qualifies (because many do not) and if you don’t mind your house looking like a giant solar powered calculator, then you’re onto a winner that will pay back the investment within several years, and the rest after that is pure profit.

So that’s what Eon gets out of it; you, the customer, receives a discount of £150 maximum per year and Eon gets to use your house as a generator for its grid.

No thanks Eon, if I do go for solar panels on my house it will be out of my own pocket, and back into my own pocket – not via yours.

Darren Jamieson, aka MrDaz, is the Technical Director and co-founder of Engage Web and has been working online in a career spanning two decades. His first website was built in 1998 and is still live today.

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