Solar Power for UK Homeowners

Scottish Power Typical Residential Gas and Electricity Usage Chart on a Bill

Solar Energy Options for UK

As the crazy electrical and gas rates increase, the attractiveness of solar energy becomes greater, since the payback on investment is shorter. From the rates I've seen, it looks like power will go up to around 52 p/kWh (around $.60 per kWh) for standard rates (up from around 18-30 p/kWh).

Your options are solar thermal (hot water or hot air from the Sun), solar photovoltaic (PV) generating electricity from the Sun for self use or export back to the grid, and non solar time-of-use battery arbitrage (if you have a cheaper off peak electrical rate, store power in a battery at night, then use during the day).

All options have varying paybacks depending on initial costs and how well you use power.

But first, lets look at ways to reduce your power demand.

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Scottish Power Usage Comparisons

Reduce Your Lighting Load

Invest and install LED light bulbs. This may reduce your demand by 30-50 percent.

Scottish PowerResidential Gas Usage Comparison

Reduce Gas Costs

Turn down your hot water heater (tank type or on demand tankless) to 55 C or less. Also for tankless on demand heaters, dial back the flow rate needed to activate heater so that your not running full pressure for minutes to get hot water (i.e. wasting water to get hot water flow).

Insulation comes in many forms including easy to install foil sided bubble pack called Reflectix


Your best and quickest savings for winter (heating season) cost reduction is to insulate and figure out where you are losing heat.

Your attic is your largest heat sink, followed by walls, doors, and windows.

Instead of opening a window for your bathroom, consider installing a bathroom fan (which seem to be lacking in the UK). Huge amounts of heat exit through the window.

Typical Appliance Electricity Use Chart

Manage power loads to match time of use

If you are on a time of use electrical rate, consider running your high energy using appliances in the evening, or early morning, outside of the time of use higher rates.

If you have solar panels installed already, consider doing laundry and major cooking from 10 am to 2 pm during the day.

Managing power loads will go a long way to reduce your bill.

Comparing Energy Use

Figure out your energy bills and costs

Download your past 12 months of utility bills and chart your use (for both electricity and gas).

Develop a strategy for power reduction (first look at saving techniques above), and then self generation.

Figure out your monthly bill totals, and then the cost per kWh and cost per unit of gas, so that you can figure out payback.

Scottish Power Tariff Example

Low Hanging Fruit

Figure out which part of the utility bill is costing you the most, and has best potential for savings.

In this case, lets look at the power (electricity) bill.

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