If money was no object this is exactly what I would like the roof of our house to look like. Just ignore the grey skies and rain!
The tea rooms at Fairhaven Woodland and Water Gardens in Norfolk
I’ve written before on this blog about my love of renewable energy and for years now I’ve been slowly working towards a time when as a household we can be self-sufficient in as many ways as possible. Having solar panels fitted would be one such step and it’s one that I really want to take.
I know that as you drive around the country you see more and more farmers’ fields that are now filled with row after row of solar panels and whilst I’m always happy to see them it always has me back to thinking about all the empty roof space across the country that could be used instead. Talking to friends who do have solar panels I get the impression that it’s incredibly satisfying to watch the numbers creep up on a sunny day as you see how much electricity your own roof is helping to generate. Also, I just like the idea of keeping it local and being able to compare for yourself how much you generate against how much you use. I know that for me getting a simple electricity monitor helped me cut my bills as I was constantly running round turning things off to get the numbers as low as possible. I guess the challenge to live within your means when you have solar must actually be quite great.
I don’t mean to trivialise the whole situation though by making it sound like a game. In actual fact renewable energy is something that we really need to consider more as a country. The truth is that we won’t be able to run off coal fired power stations for ever, and we also need to think about all the damage that is being done to our planet in generating all that electricity. I’m a firm believer in the idea that by being sensible we could all try to reduce our electricity usage, but I think that in parallel with doing this we also need to change how we generate the majority of our electricity in this country. Moving towards more solar is one way to do this.
I’m intrigued therefore to hear about SunEdison’s new plan where there are no upfront payments and you can save up to 15% off your electricity bill. The way the scheme works is that you actually pay SunEdison a low quarterly fee for the electricity that the panels on your roof (which remain owned by SunEdison) generate. This is instead of paying a large upfront cost to buy the panels which is what puts may people off having the systems installed. If you are really clever and change your electricity usage pattern so that you use all the high draw items (like washing machines) during daylight hours you can save even more. It’s definitely an attractive option.
To celebrate the launch of their new plan SunEdison are also running a competition to find #BritainsBrightestStreet. Participating home owners in one street (in England, Scotland or Wales) will win 10 years worth of the SunEdison Energy Saver Plan for free. These neighbours will be able to enjoy free solar energy and save approximately 45% on their electricity bill during the 10 year period. In addition to this the winning street will also be able to nominate a local school or community project which will receive free solar panels. So, if you have likeminded neighbours (between 5 and 20 of you in total) and you’re all homeowners then this is definitely the competition for you. Take a look at their website to see how to apply and to read the full T&Cs.
In the meantime I’m off to turn off a few more appliances and to ponder whether or not I can convince some of my neighbours to put our street forwards as #BritainsBrightestStreet.
Disclaimer: I’m working with BritMums and SunEdison talking about the #BritainsBrightestStreet search campaign. I have been compensated for my time. All editorial and opinions are my own. Visit http://bit.ly/1ID0enl for more information about #BritainsBrightestStreet search.