Monday, 24 January 2011

Solar thermal

Our drive has been full of vehicles today. Last Autumn, we were approached - who hasn't been? - about putting panels on the roof, and it seemed the right time. After much toing and froing, we decided against the initial suggestion, a ten-unit system of photovoltaic cells. The roof available is 40 degrees off South and our two large chimneys add a deal of shade to the area. So, we are foregoing the attractive 41.3p per unit on offer from the government at present as an incentive to house-owners who opt for PV.

Instead, we asked about solar thermal, to reduce the gas and/or electricity needed to warm our water. We found that it too came with a sweetener - the renewable heat incentive: some £300 a year for 20 years. So, that is what we are now having installed - but of course it doesn't end there. Further questions and answers have led us to agree that our ancient boiler - long since condemned by British Gas - should be replaced, along with most of our rusting radiators. Altogether, a very expensive business.

We are just thankful that the temperature are at this moment above freezing, though this does not seem set to continue later in the week: doors are continually left open by plumbers who - whilst their selling point may be carbon efficiency - were themselves clearly born in a barn.

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