Recent tests have proved that after 20 years, the first UK grid connected PV system is still operating at an impressive 95% generation rate. Installed in 1994 at “The Autonomous House” in Southwell, Nottinghamshire the domestic solar system has generated 33MWh during its lifespan with the only necessary modification being an inverter upgrade in 2008. A 20% decline in panel efficiency had been predicted over the course of 20 years. However, when the system was tested on its 20 anniversary the first panel test revealed only a 5% decline!
With a view to compare current day performance against original panel flash test data from the factory, both solar irradiance and back of cell temperature were measured as well as a full I-V curve test from open-circuit to short circuit current. The 2.16W south facing array has defied all expectations and is now predicted to be generating for at least another 20 years! As the UK’s inaugural attempt to harness solar energy in order to supply the national grid, the performance of this PV system marks an exciting step forward for the future of renewable energy.
A bright and profitable future for Solar PV Installations It is interesting to note that in 1994, this system cost £6,900 per kW with a module price of £4.40 – totalling a 200 year payback time! Since this time, the cost of solar installation has plummeted. A modern day payback time for a system of this size would now being in the region of 8 to 9 years with payback for a smaller 4KW array approximated at around 7 years. As both domestic and commercial PV systems continue to be widely adopted across the UK, property owners are benefiting not only from sizable savings on energy bills but also the opportunity to sell surplus energy back to the grid through the government’s
If you are considering having a PV solar system installed at either your business or domestic property then call our expert team today on 01425 461 461 or fill in our contact us form.