Micropower generation by home owners is set to take off in a major way - and the High Street is gearing up for it.
One month ago, Curry's became the first major retailer on the British high street to offer a range of solar panels to the home customer. The panels, produced by Sharp Electronics – who claim to be the world’s leading solar panel manufacturer - are now on sale in just three Currys stores (
According to the Sharp press release: ‘After a detailed in-store consultation with a trained adviser, customers with suitable houses will be offered a home assessment free of charge. Should the house be capable of supporting the technology – and most are – installation of the solar panels on the property roof takes just one or two days and requires a minimum of equipment to be installed, usually in the roof space.’
They claim the cost for an installation of nine solar panels (enough to cover approximately half of a household’s electricity requirements on an average three bedroom house) is approximately £9,000. ‘Customers opting for solar power can expect to reduce their electricity bill by up to 50% and could cut down their home’s carbon dioxide emissions by up to two tons per year. Panels come with a performance warranty of 25 years, and minimum maintenance is required by the customer.’
Sharp claim that customers who install their panels can expect a potential increase to the value of their property and poaint out that grants are available through the Low Carbon Buildings Programme. www.lowcarbonbuildings.org.uk/home/ and www.est.org.uk/myhome/generating/application/Then, on 28th September, the DIY chain B&Q announced that, from October, they will be selling wind turbines and solar panels in every one of their 320 UK stores.
According to The Guardian, the turbines will cost £1,498 - a price that includes a home survey, help with applying for planning permission and installation. Its staff will also help customers apply for grants from the Energy Saving Trust - which can cover 30% of the cost of the turbine.
The turbine are 1.75m wide and 2m tall and will generate 1kw of electricity directly into a ring main. They may not suit every home. Home owners will also get advice as to whether their property is structurally suitable and/or whether it is located in an area too sheltered from the wind to make wind power economical.
Unlike the Curry's solar panels - designed to generate electricity - the one's sold by B&Q will heat water using daylight, providing enough for half the average family's needs. They are priced as follows: Single unit (£1,798); two-panel unit (£1,498); three-panel unit (£2,498).