I heard on the radio yesterday an oil and gas lobbyist saying the UK should release more licenses for extraction in the north sea to tackle the cost of the energy crisis. Surely, this is lunacy?
It certainly seems the case as I talk to renewable energy installers who are in massive demand for installation of solar PV. They are inundated with consumers wanting these little beauties on their roof.
Finally, the intelligent public has woken up to the financial viability of solar photo voltaic, but will the government also realise this is the way forward?
Extraction of oil is surely more costly than the installation of renewables and will take longer? I assume this but don’t know for sure. I imagine it’s 5-10 years before oil/gas can hit the market after an extraction license is delivered.
According to Mike Berners-Lee, we need solar on around 1.5% of Britain to provide all our energy (less the challenge of balancing the grid). Whilst around 8% of Britain is built up, it can’t be much of a challenge for the government to get more solar panels on the roofs of houses, warehouses, and other public buildings.
This could be done quickly and surely it’s got to be one of the most immediate solutions to the energy crisis. It makes me think about Elon Musk’s challenge to Australia when they had blackouts - he provided an immediate solution to a grid problem with associated solar infrastructure and said it could be done super quick.
We should be using this crisis as an opportunity.
When I search for energy suppliers for business clients through our consultancy arm, I’m shocked by prices. It’s going to cost around 52p/kWhr for daytime electricity. The case for solar is clear. The installation cost for my 5.24KW solar installation was £8,540, and it produces 4,848kWhrs a year. It’s guarantee is for 25 years giving the cost of my solar energy around 7p/kWhr (£8540/121,200kWhrs/lifetime).
For someone installing solar on their roof, who should get a better price than me (note - @omantench did better getting a similar system to mine for £6,000), there is a very strong case for installing solar energy. When paying 52p/kWhr for import, and assuming you use only half of your solar energy, a solar installation like mine will pay itself back in less than 7 years. It also makes the case better for batteries - attaching battery storage which will cost around £6,000, meaning a payback in around 7 years as well.
This stacks up well for someone in their home wanting to reduce their energy bill. Instead of paying for the increasing cost of energy and lining the pockets of oil and gas companies, they can help the grid become renewable and line their own pockets.
And studies are showing that solar panels add value to your property - so it’s a winner even if you’re going to move!
So, what should the energy crisis mean for the installation of solar PV - it should mean accelerated deployment. We know that when deployed at scale solar PV should cost around 3p/kWhr, cheaper than coal and much cheaper than gas.
So shouldn’t we just get on with it?