Real-life experiences and data are hard to find, which makes Andy Barbour's case study even more of a pleasure to read. You can find it at UK Solar PV Case Study. He profiles three installations including his own, all installed during Spring/Summer of 2010. Each has a peak rating of just under 4kW and uses a different panel manufacturer: Kioto, Sharp and Sanyo.
The three main charts in Andy's study show month-by-month comparisons of expected vs actual income, and shows that there can be quite a variance from expected income. The second page (see the 'systems in detail' link at the top) has considerable detail on each system, and examines energy output in kWh. The income charts show that it can be possible to outperform the estimate, but Andy's own installation has consistently underperformed. Is this because of his Kioto panels, his SMA inverter or his roof? The income is only slightly lower, however, so it shouldn't put anyone off installing their own.
This study goes to show that there is a real income to be made from a solar electric installation, but make sure that you get an estimate (of output and income) tailored to your house and proposed equipment.
Andy is keeping the charts updated on a monthly basis, so check back there often!
Please do keep us informed whether or not the Energy Secretary responds to you!
Re: "We are determined to get tough with the big six energy companies to ensure that the consumer gets the best possible deal".
I assume you are aware that, under the FIT scheme, it is the government which fixes the export payments for all generators connected to the Electricity Network. It is claimed that these payments are adjusted every year in line with the RPI. The RPI in April last year (when my solar panels were fitted) was 222.8. A year later it was 234.4. Yet my export payment stands at 3p. Perhaps the energy companies should also be challenged about the systems they have in place to adjust FIT payments annually because they do not appear to be adhering to their present agreement.
I had solar panels installed on my property 18 months ago. These were installed at my own expense as I had just missed, by days (it ceased suddenly and without any warning), the possibility of subsidy. Since installation the prices charged by my energy supplier have increased three times. My FIT payments have not risen.
My own FIT factsheet, supplied by E-on, states that "the Government has reserved the right to change the export rate should they consider it appropriate to do so." This being the case, might I suggest that - if the government wishes people to continue to support the Green Energy agenda - this situation should be addressed immediately. Otherwise it will seem that, once again, big business is benefitting from the consumer's investment. I spent ?10,000 of my savings in order to supply the National Grid with electricity. If they are paying more for energy (as they always claim when prices rise) then why am I not receiving more?
It occurs to me that if FIT payments were fixed to rise in line with what the energy companies charge they may possibly think twice before increasing charges to consumers.