Thursday, 25 August 2011

Living on sunshine

After months of lobbying from Tom, I finally agreed to the installation of solar panels on the roof of our house a few months back. The thing that convinced me was the security of having a back-up electricity supply if the power starts going off in the next few years (as Tom tells me it might)… especially living in the middle of nowhere as we do.   Heaven forbid if I were to ever miss an episode of Eastenders.

The builders arrived and the panels went up in three days. With all my health and safety alarm bells ringing, Betty and Dolly had great fun playing around the scaffolding.  Although when the scaffolding was still there after a week, I made a stroppy call to the scaffolding company and told them of my concerns (Dolly had tried to scale the side of the house more than once), and that it must be taken down immediately.    

It’s been pretty sunny since the panels were installed back in March and it’s very satisfying to put the washing machine on when the sun is shining knowing that it costs nothing. I even allow myself the odd use of the tumble dryer, only when the sun is shining mind.  Tom sometimes makes himself a random cup of tea when it’s sunny ‘just for the sheer satisfaction of it’. It seems to make Betty happy that our electricity comes from the sun - and she has an impressive antennae for spotting other buildings with solar panels on their roof - this makes Tom extremely proud.  

We obviously don’t get all our electricity for free, just when the sun is shining, so the panels do nothing for our night storage heaters. But because we’re both at home all day we get to actually use the free electricity, unlike in some houses where people are out at work all day, so over the past few months our bills have gone right down. 

We received our first cheque for nearly £200 from the government feed-in tariff the other day which was the icing on the cake, and Tom was walking on sunshine (boom boom).     

Solar panels aren’t right for everyone (you need a south-facing roof and the initial financial outlay is rather a lot), but they are working great for us and we’d definitely recommend that other people look into solar panel installation.

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Maxabella said...

I really admire you guys for getting in there and doing this. It's been on our 'to do' list for far too long!

Cheers to lots and lots of sunny days ahead!


Tasha Goddard said...

Did it cost a huge amount? Am quite interested, but think there are probably other things we need to do to the house first.

Unknown said...

Hi Maxabella
Yes to the sunshine! Tom was the driving force, but am so glad we have done it!

Hi Tasha, we got 18 panels and it cost about £12,000... but it all works out better in the end!

Anonymous said...

We spend a lot of money on electricity but living up in the far north of England we get limited sunshine!

I hope yours work well for you.

CJ xx

Anonymous said...

Hello - we got some about 8 weeks ago, too! Other half is wildly excited by giving me kilowatt reports every day. It's a great lesson for Dulcie, too. We haven't had the cheque yet, but very much looking forward to it. So worth doing!

Maxine x

Unknown said...

Hi CJ, thank you, me too! x

Hi Maxine, ha ha i get the kilowatt reports from Tom too! It's very satisfying tho, isn't it, specially when you see the sun beating down onto them :) x

Iota said...

I love the irony of you putting the tumble dryer on when the sun is shining.

Unknown said...


sadie said...

love the idea, but am pretty sure my husband would say the 'd' word if I suggested it. He's already huffing and puffing over the cost of the new flooring for the hallway and stairs.

Nice to hear about it though, and how much you are enjoying it.


Unknown said...

Hi Sadie, Tom obsessed with it, and I am trying to show enthusiasm! Sorry to sound thick,but what is the 'd' word?! x