As the last of the big six energy firms increases its electricity and gas prices, by 4.5% and 15.4% respectively, surely now is the time that renewable energy should come into its own.
This week, EDF Energy has become the last of the big six energy firms to announce a price rise, unveiling an increase in electricity and gas prices of 4.5% and 15.4% respectively, removing one of the few remaining lifelines for the millions of households edging closer to fuel poverty.
The increases, which are being blamed mainly on rising wholesale energy prices, will be introduced in November this year and will have a huge effect on hundreds of thousands of households just as winter approaches.
The increase will take the average dual fuel energy bill to almost £1,300 a year and consumer groups have already warned that millions of people will be cutting back on other essentials if they want to keep warm. Some, especially the elderly, may not have the option to cut back elsewhere and will therefore be putting their health at risk by living in cold homes.
With the DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change) claiming that more than a fifth of households in the UK will be affected by fuel poverty and have to spend more than 10% of their income on fuel, what choices do we have?
One solution is solar. As well as having impeccable green credentials, there is currently an opportunity for some households to benefit by producing their own electricity, without any upfront cost for them – with free solar. Thanks to a Government initiative The Green Home Company is offering householders the opportunity to generate their own green electricity from solar photovoltaic panels – all at zero cost to them.
The company has raised £15m to cover the cost of installations but there is one stipulation – panels can only be installed on south facing, unshaded roofs with a clear area of more than 20 square metres.
"If the roof qualifies, we will install a solar photovoltaic system to a homeowner’s roof absolutely free of charge,” said Managing Director Alan Proto. “The homeowner will immediately benefit from the free electricity generated, which in our experience will reduce their overall electricity bills substantially. This will be of enormous benefit to those households threatened by fuel poverty.”
“Our investors benefit by taking the Government’s Feed-in Tariff (FITs) which came into force in April 2010 and repays them for the cost of installation over an agreed time. There are no hidden catches or additional costs for the homeowner, and best of all, maintenance and insurance for the next twenty-five years are taken care of by us.”
The Green Home Company has already started to install free solar PV systems, worth up to £15,000 each, to around 1,400 qualifying homeowners and this will continue until March 2012.
So with energy prices set to soar, and initiatives making solar a win win, it really does look like it’s time for solar to shine.
For more information about The Green Home Company and to find out how free solar energy can help reduce your energy bills please visit www.thegreenhomecompany.com or call 01622 742747.