Friday, January 27, 2006

No brainer

Hazel today talks about a study into using tidal power here in the UK to generate clean electricity in an effort to reduce the countries dependence on coal powered generating stations and nuclear power. She herself gets her power from a local wind farm.

Now. Wookiee and I have been working up to having an extension built on our house and one thing that we have considered is having the new roof fitted with solar panels or solar roof tiles in an attempt to be a little more ‘green’ and help reduce the costs of powering and heating the new rooms.

We are fortunate that the back of our house faces southwest and is therefore suitable for such a project.

In my many wanderings on the net looking for information and costs about such an undertaking, I came across one site that I really wish I’d bookmarked.

Basically it said that:

‘If all the roofs in the UK, that were suitable for being fitted with solar panels/tiles, be they domestic or corporate, were actually fitted with the panels, the total amount of electricity generated would exceed the current requirements for the whole country

Unfortunately this is unverified and now I can’t seem to find the site again (if anyone knows where it is could they please let me have the link) but even if it’s only half true doesn’t this seem like a bit of a no brainer. Yes it would be an expensive undertaking, but surely the long-term benefits would far outweigh the short-term costs.

Another thing. With all the new properties being built in the UK at the moment, why isn’t the government doing everything they can to get the developers to build with the panels/tiles in the first place. That would be cheaper to start with and the little extra cost would be tacked onto the cost of the property when it was sold. Surely it would be a great selling point as well, after all who wouldn’t want to have lower/no electricity bills?

At the moment it is possible to get a grant to have this kind of work done on your property but you are still looking at costs of £5K upwards and not everyone can afford that, even with the promise of recouping those costs in the long term with reduced electricity bills. You can even have the system set up so when you are generating more power than you can use, you sell it to the national grid. You have a meter that runs both ways. Forwards when you are taking power from the grid and backwards when you are putting it back. Theoretically if you have a big enough set-up you can get to the point where you are paying nothing for your power, or even have them paying you. How cool is that!

Yet with all the talk recently about finding alternatives, not once have I heard anyone mention solar power. Why not?