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Take Your Money Out of The Bank And Invest In Solar

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WE SHOULD withdraw our money from banks and invest in community solar projects, according to a top energy expert. Reza Shaybani, chairman of the British Photovoltaic Association (BPVA) said the UK should take a leaf out of Europe’s book when it comes to investing, and reap the rewards of the high return on investment (ROI) in renewable technology.

Currently a typical high street bank offers about two per cent APR on a savings account, yet solar PV can offer a ROI of up to 12 per cent.

He said: “In the solar industry we come across three groups of people. The first have a suitable roof for panels and the money to invest in them, but they are worried about finance and don’t necessarily want to spend money. Then there is the group with the right roof, but no money. The third group is the most interesting; the people without the suitable roof, perhaps they live in a flat, perhaps they are renting, but they have money. They are probably getting about a two per cent return on their money from the bank, so we can encourage them to put their money in solar where you can see an eight to twelve per cent ROI.

“In Germany there are lots of community projects and we want to see the same in UK.”

Currently about 20 per cent of the renewable energy produced by Germany and Denmark is owned by residents and hopes to see a similar trend in the UK, though it does seem like the message is spreading. Earlier this year Brighton Energy Coop funded and installed the largest solar system in Sussex, after group members received more than £200,000 from community investors.

In return for their cash, residents are promised a minimum four per cent return as well as the ability to claim back income tax on all money invested for more than three years. Not only this, but the whole community benefits from clean, renewable energy.

According to the National Farmers’ Union, there has also been an increase in farmers taking advantage of the ROI, and converting their land into solar farms.

A spokesperson from energy efficiency specialists, said: “There has never been a better time to invest in solar. Energy bills are soaring higher and higher and by investing in solar, not only are you avoiding making huge payments to big energy corporations; you are also helping the planet by not using destructive fossil fuels.“Some people may struggle to find enough money to install their own solar PV system, but they could probably afford to pay £5 towards a community solar project. This is a great way to help boost the solar industry locally as well as seeing your own money go further.”

Money can be made from solar PV through the feed-in-tariff, a government scheme that helps you (or your company) save money in three ways if you generate your own energy:

Firstly, you save money by not paying electricity bills, because you have created your own energy.

Secondly, you receive a generation tariff (16p per kWh) from your energy company for all the energy your module produces.

Thirdly, your energy company then pays an export tariff of 4.5p per kW for the energy you don’t use, which can be exported back to the grid.

Of course, some consumers have complained government FiT cuts have already diminished the appeal of installing solar PV. When introduced in April 2010, they were 43.3p per kW, now almost 30p less, they will drop again in November.

However, he said: “The feed-in-tariff was actually introduced as an incentive and was never designed to be there forever. It had lots of ups and downs and I actually call it the feed-in-tariff fiasco. However, we must not forget the other compelling reasons why we should install solar PV. “A ROI of eight to 12 per cent is still remarkable compared to banks, and of course the price of solar PV has come down more than any other technology in just a few years. Solar energy is clean, cheap and secure. The solar industry can create thousands of jobs, more per megawatt than any other renewable technology. We need sustainable policies and a stable market to allow the industry to grow.”

This article is written by Lima Curtis who is a scientist-turned-journalist-turned-environmental reporter and is associated with .

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Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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