Cambridge builders Refresh Renovations UK offer design and build services for homeowners looking for home extensions, loft conversions and kitchen redesigns
It’s a subject of much debate and a cause of a lot of confusion, but the use of solar power within your renovation can tick a number of boxes, especially when it comes to protecting the environment, reducing your utility bills and even selling power back to the National Grid. While the government’s lucrative Green Deal scheme was scrapped in 2015, its Feed-In Tariff remains in place and is designed to enable homeowners to generate a return on their investment in installing solar energy. These returns have also been accelerated as the price of panels has reduced considerably in the last five years.
While domestic solar solutions may seem complex, they can actually be relatively straightforward. At the heart of any solar project is the Feed-In Tariff, which offers consumers rewards in two areas. Firstly, the Generation Tariff pays you for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity produced by the solar panels you’ve installed, and secondly the Export Tariff pays you for every kWh of electricity that is produced by your solar panels but that you don’t use and give back to the National Grid.
It’s worth remembering that standard solar panels last for around 25 years, enabling homeowners installing now to continue to save money on their electricity bills even after the Feed-In Tariff ceases to exist. It’s estimated that a typical domestic dwelling could generate savings of between £2,350 and £6,900 over that 25-year period. The size of the saving is dictated by the number of solar panels that are installed, while the price per kWh of the energy is index-linked, which means that it rises annually with the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation. And, most significantly, the proceeds are tax-free.
On the flipside, it’s important to remember that the attractiveness of solar panels, and the savings they generate, is affected by fluctuations in the price of electricity. When the price falls, savings are reduced, but the higher it goes, the greater the savings potential. In addition, the savings generated by the Feed In Tariff can only be classed as profit once you’ve finished paying for the solar panels. The best way to finance a solar panel installation is to pay in full and upfront, but the level of outlay can preclude this. As many as 85% of customers decide to borrow in order to finance their solar project, either with a dedicated loan or by remortgaging, so it’s prudent to factor in any interest payments when evaluating the potential returns.
A final consideration is the impact that a solar installation might have on the value of your property. A recent survey indicated that only 8% of estate agents believed that solar panels would enable homeowners to command a higher price for their property, with 17% believing the value might even drop. In essence, therefore, the majority of estate agents felt that it would have minimal impact, so it really comes down to personal preference.
As Simon Kelliher of Cambridge builders Refresh Renovations confirms, there is general support for the trend towards sustainable development, especially with the government’s Feed-In Tariff remaining in place until April 2019 to incentivise homeowners to go green. ‘At Refresh we’re always open to innovation,’ comments Simon. ‘We believe that solar is a viable option for clients to consider in their project planning whether they’re creating an extension or undertaking a full renovation. For the uninitiated, it can be something of a minefield, but we’re more than happy to work with clients to ensure that they not only understand the process but also receive the correct level of installation to generate meaningful returns. In short, we’d suggest bringing us in as early as possible in the project – and ideally in the planning phase – in order to avoid any nasty surprises further down the line.
‘And not only that, technology is moving on rapidly in the solar industry, with new providers now supplying solar panels that are incorporated into roof tiles. As well as offering outstanding output by enhancing eco-performance ratings, these panels can be tailored to meet the client’s needs and can even be installed within a day. Best of all, however, they are extremely discreet and don’t affect the aesthetics of the property in the same way that conventional solar panels can. At Refresh we’ve built excellent relationships with specialist solar panel suppliers and we’re now looking to incorporate them into renovations and extensions wherever the project and budget permits.’
Contact Refresh about your renovation
Want to know more? Get in touch with the renovation experts at Refresh now to find out what they can do for you and your home. Refresh Renovations Specialists offer a free initial one-hour consultation that will help you make the decision whether their team is the one for you. This consultation is no obligation and is a chance to understand what they can do for you.
All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.
If you would like to find out how Refresh Renovations can support you with a high quality, efficient home renovation, get in touch today. Your local Refresh Renovations consultant will be happy to meet with you for a free, no obligations consultation.