As regular visitors to the site will know, I’ve long felt that PV companies advertising their wares are misleading when they present purchasing panels as an investment relative to putting money in a bank. They use simple comparisons like interest rates on savings accounts being just 3%, compared to returns from a solar panel being more like 10%. It’s misleading because with a bank, you get the money back at the end of the term – with a PV purchase, you end up with some 25 year-old panels and little else (it’s too early to tell whether they have any positive or negative impact on house values).

So you might imagine my surprise when a relative announced at the weekend that he has signed up for a 3kw system (at a cost of around £13k). I was just about to go into my diatribe when he told me that he’d run a comparison through Excel that compared the annuities he was going to invest in with paying out for solar panels.

In short, for the same level of investment he’d expect to receive around £380 a year through an annuity that rose with inflation. A PV would give him around £1,200 (again, index linked) and any electricity saving would be a bonus.

In that light, it makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it. Anyone see any flaws in this logic?

Comments
  • David xr

    Was that figure quoted before the feed in tarrifs were slashed from 42p to 21p per unit? I tend to agree that long term they are a marginal ‘investment’ but under the Green Deal – if you can get them – then it might make sense for the saving on Electricity alone as the Green Deal is based on a proviso that energy costs will double between now and 2020.

  • Samuel Joy

    Hi David,

    The blog post above was indeed written before the recent announcement about the planned reduction in tariffs.

    Regards,
    Sam Joy (Online Editor)

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