Who did it for us.
Like most things, of course, it's more complicated than you first think.
Most of it is, however, sorted by your supplier, though not all.
First you'll need some money, and a supplier of panels, a mechanism to get the electricity into the grid, and somebody to pay you for the electricity.
We used The Hothouse Roof and Energy company. They do all of that, except finding the money, you do that, and you will have to contact your electricity supplier and check that they are ok with the idea. We use ecotricity and they seemed pretty cooperative. HotHouseRoof do roof and wall insulating coatings. In our case however we were interested in their solar energy equipment and especially the FIT or Feed in Tariff. They are a Microgeneration Certification Scheme installer. That's necessary to get the feed in tariff. The tariff, at the time we ordered the system, paid 41.3 pence per Kilowatt/hour. however, it's index linked and guaranteed for 25 years. While it was being installed the rate went up to 43 pence and you can get 46 for any that you produce above your use. So far (April 22nd 2011) we are breaking about even, so the domestic meter is going backwards most days and forward at night. South of Scotland, where most people are, you should get more sun.
No, that's not a guarantee.
by comparison with your bar bill It's expensive, or at least I hope so.
Well of course it is, did you expect it to be free?
Look at it this way, we think ours should pay itself off in about 20 years, and will produce about 5% income on investment, guaranteed by the government for a minimum period of 25 years. Your supplier should be able to give you a figure as to how long it will take to pay off the lump sum, given a variable of good or poor weather. If that is about 9 years then you should be in the gravy after that. The TIF goes with the property, so if you sell it, your payments stop. But the buyer should give you more for the house.
The payments are guaranteed, not the sunshine.
Your new car might cost £20,000. How much will it be worth in that time?
How much interest are you getting from your bank?
(if it's better than 10%, call me)
The performance is guaranteed for 25 years.
The feed in tariff is guaranteed for at least 25 years.
You'll have something to talk about in the bar.
You should also be able to add to your generating capabilities after you have registered as a microgenerator, though the tariff, FIT, is due to go down for new units installed and registered after Dec 12 2011
The offer may start to cost the government, which means the taxpayer and users of electricity, more than they expected, so if you are thinking about doing this, check that the deal hasn't changed.
You can actually do somthing about global warming (even if you don't believe in it) because the energy would be absorbed into the ground if you didn't intercept it.
Our next steps will be cavity wall insulation and replacing the oil fired boiler with a ground source heat pump to run the central heating and hot water.