Steve Munday (SMC Solar Ltd)
SMC is an electrical contracting company specialising in the things that 'ordinary' electricians can't do. In a new diversification , SMC now installs Solar Panels.
Since 1st April 2010, the Government backed subsidies for installing photovoltaic (PV) panels are so generous that anyone with a south facing (or anything near south facing between east and west) can effectively get a 10% rate of return on their investment, index-linked and government guaranteed for 25 years! Its too good to be true. But beware the white knights offering 'free' solar panels.
The income from Solar Panels comes in three elements: the Feed in Tariffs (FITs), amounting to around 75%; the savings you make through using the electricity you make and therefore not buying it, around 20%; and the value of the electricity you export back to the grid when you are not using it, say 5%. The people that offer you 'free' panels will take the FITs for the whole 25 years leaving you with just the 25% remaining benefits. Whereas, even if you borrow the money to finance the installation yourself, you will pay off the capital in around 10 years and recoup the whole of the benefit for the remaining period. Equally, if you have money in a savings account earning virtually no interest, then stick it on the roof and let it earn you 10% - tax free and index linked for 25 years!
I am a retired railway engineer and general manager having spent recent years engaged in Management Consultancy and HR Consultancy. Just for a change (!) I decided to train as an electrician four years ago and now run an electrical contracting business. I am therefore extremely over qualified for what I do but my background enables me to conduct my business with a quality of communication and level of professionalism that it not always evident when dealing with tradespeople!