Solar Thermal Case Study – Mr and Mrs Balcon, Northamptonshire

Discover how the Balcons switched to solar and made their dream of using renewable energy come true

Having always been intrigued about installing solar panels to get ‘free’ hot water, when Sue and Dave Balcon’s boiler broke down, they seized the opportunity to install solar power in their 3-bed semi-detached home in Desborough.

“We’ve been considering installing solar panels for more than 10 years,” explains Sue. “The environmental benefits have always appealed to us and the surging oil and gas prices have definitely made solar energy more appealing.

“To us, using renewable energy is common sense so when our central heating system broke down, we knew we had the perfect opportunity to reduce our hot water bills by as much as 70 per cent.

“When our central heating system broke down, we knew we had the perfect opportunity to reduce our hot water bills by as much as 70 per cent.”

“It cost £4,500 for Lewington Solar to install our new solar energy system and the expected payback time is 10 years. Considering we don’t intend to move again and the panels have a 20-year plus life expectancy, we feel these figures are extremely reasonable. We also discovered that even if we did move, the solar panels would significantly increase the value and saleability of our home.”

Lewington’s Renewable Energy Manager, Darren King, oversaw the installation of the Balcon’s solar panels, as well as a new condensing gas boiler, central heating flush and several radiator valves. The team fitted two 1.2 x 2 metre solar panels to the south-facing side of the house and a new hot water cylinder in replace of the water tank from the old heating system.

As soon as the installation was complete, the Balcons saw results. “Our gas meter readings fell sharply and we’ve consequently been reimbursed by our gas supplier for

overpayments,” says Dave.

“Our gas meter readings fell sharply and we’ve consequently been reimbursed by our gas supplier for overpayments!”

“The system is not only environmentally friendly, but cost-effective and reliable – we are

thrilled with the results. We bath/shower every day and have ‘free’ hot water from April

to October on most days – even if it’s dull or raining. It’s also very easy to check how much hot water is in the tank and we rarely need to use the immersion heater.”

Dave adds, “We were delighted with the service from Lewington Solar. They answered all our questions beforehand and gave us the information and advice we needed to make our decision. The staff were courteous, friendly and helpful throughout and there was no mess left behind. We would definitely recommend Lewington to family and friends.

“If you’re considering solar energy, our advice would be to go for it! Our solar panels have added value to our home while reducing our energy bills, so it’s a win-win situation. Solar panels have proved to be a worthwhile investment that we should have made many years ago!”

“Solar panels have proved to be a worthwhile investment that we should have made many years ago!”

Know the facts

Solar panels

  • Contrary to popular belief, solar panels are suited to the UK’s temperate climate because they absorb light and UV energy – direct sunlight is not essential.
  • Solar panels enable you to save 50 to 70 per cent on your hot water bills and improve your home’s energy efficiency.
  • The life expectancy of solar panels is in excess of 20 years.
  • Solar panels from Lewington Solar come with a 5-year warranty and don’t need any servicing or maintenance.
  • Greater demand for solar energy has reduced manufacturing costs, making solar panels more affordable than ever. Prices now typically start from just £3,400 and the average payback period is 8 to 10 years.
  • Solar panels are subject to a reduced VAT rate of just 5 per cent.
  • Solar panels can increase the value of your home by up to £10,000 and make it easier to sell.
  • Solar panels reduce the strain on your main heating system, which helps to prolong its life and reduces servicing costs.
  • Planning permission is generally not needed, although we recommend you call your local planning office to check.

For more information on renewable energy sources and how Lewington Solar can help you lower your energy bills, visit our website at www.lewington-solar.co.uk, email info@lewington-solar.co.uk or call 01858 433 333 and ask to speak to Darren King. If you would like to speak to the Balcons directly about their solar thermal system, please let us know and we will arrange for you to do so.