Getting Solar Power to Save on Your Electricity Bill

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You have probably had a letter from Dan Norris, our Metro Mayor of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) telling you about a scheme (also supported by South Gloucestershire Council) for buying solar panels .

If you are thinking about this, the deadline for registering an interest (no commitment) in the buying scheme that they are presenting is Friday 27th October.

The WECA letter suggests going to the website of “Solar Together” to explore information about planning, costs, energy you might generate, etc:

To help you make a decision about registering an interest and whether fitting solar (and a battery system) is worthwhile, the Energy Working Group of the MCLT has put together a spreadsheet (attached) to give you a rough indication of payback, etc, under different assumptions.  All you have to do is fill in a few boxes with your own data and it will do the calculations and show you the results: the year when your return goes positive (you’ve paid for the kit and any interest if you are borrowing to pay for the kit), the year when you will have paid back a loan (if taking one), the net return after 25years, and a simple bar chart showing the total net return by year.

The boxes have data already in place to represent one possible scenario and you may change these as you wish.  Running the spreadsheet with different data is interesting.

If you are considering getting a loan to pay for the kit and installation then we have been advised that are currently offering a loan at 4.2% and in a way that will have no impact on your credit rating : you might like to explore this (in the box about rate of interest we have entered 4.2%, but you can change this). Some mortgage lenders may also offer favourable terms.

Please note that any return on your investment will also be subject to many other considerations such as where the panels go, the angle at which they are able to be installed, family electricity average use (we have used data from our real examples).  We have assumed that if the house is empty all of the working day then it uses 80% of the electricity generated and used by a home occupied all day.  So, please take the results from the spreadsheet as indicative only. They are based on a 4kW installation facing south.

In order to use the spreadsheet you will need a computer with Microsoft Excel installed.

For those familiar with spreadsheets, you can unhide the calculations worksheet if you wish.

The spreadsheet is only an aid to give a measure of possible investment outcome, and other issues such as planning will need to be addressed. Registering an interest will give time to consider these.

Please feel free to pass this note and the spreadsheet to others who are not MCLT members.

If you have questions, please contact Tony Kerr: 

The MCLT Energy Working Group: Tony Kerr, Jim Brookes, Dan Smith, Colin Eden, Geoff Greenwood, Antony Nolan, Bill Gethin, Phil Padfield, Howard Finnegan.