Reader feedback on Sussex Life February 2014

Gay Cossins at her eco-friendly home in Steyning

Gay Cossins at her eco-friendly home in Steyning - Credit: Kate Eastman

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Sussex Life February 2014 cover

Sussex Life February 2014 cover - Credit: Archant

Going green - Click here to see the articleI read with interest the interview with Gay Cossins, “A Green Goddess” (Sussex Life February 2014), and found myself in agreement with her on many of her suggestions – not least the one about the pointlessness of ironing!

However, I believe she has made the wrong decision in eschewing solar-voltaic panels and I suspect this is because her figures are somewhat pessimistic. An 18-panel installation (the largest allowed to attract the highest feed-in tariff – FIT –payment) will generate around 3,500 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity every year and, even with the reduced FIT (now only 14.9p per kWh) this will still attract an FIT payment of around £500 per annum. Plus there is an additional export payment for every kWh fed back into the Grid (presently 4.64p). This figure is more difficult to assess as it depends on one’s personal electricity use during daylight hours, but my own exports for 2013 were just under 1000 kWh. Furthermore, there is a reduction on one’s electricity bill, as appliances used when the sun is shining will draw from one’s own solar electricity rather than the Grid. This figure, too, is difficult to assess as it depends again on one’s personal electricity use, but clearly the less electricity one uses the more one will export and so the figures will to an extent balance each other out.

So, although there are several imponderables, I would suggest that the combined figure of FIT payments, export payments and electricity savings would be at least £750 per annum and maybe more. Even on this figure this represents a return on investment of around 8 per cent tax free – far better than one could get from any bank, and with a payback period of probably only 12 years.

Certainly, installing solar-voltaic panels is a decision I am pleased to have taken.

Richard English

Partridge Green