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Solar thermal case study: The Robinsons from Clipston
When their 110-year-old detached 5-bed farmhouse in Clipston needed a new roof, the Robinsons knew it was the perfect opportunity to install solar panels and start generating their own hot water for their 12-acre smallholding.
“We had been considering solar thermal power for about six months,” explains Mrs Robinson. “We make our own honey, meat and dairy produce on the farm so the thought of making our own hot water too was very exciting. We were also keen to reduce our carbon footprint and energy bills as our old oil boiler was burning a horrendous amount oil every month.
“I prefer the minimalistic look of integrated solar panels so when our roof was in desperate need of restoration, I knew it was the best opportunity we would have to install an integrated solar thermal system.
“When our roof was in desperate need of restoration, I knew it was the best opportunity we would have to install an integrated solar thermal system.”
“Our solar system from Lewington Heating and Gas cost £4,500 and our expected payback time is between 9 and 13 years. We think this is excellent value as we have estimated we will earn between £150 and £300 per year from the government’s Feed-in Tariff and will save between £200 and £300 per year on our energy bills. Over the course of the expected 20-year lifetime of the solar system, this amounts to a combined saving and income of approximately £8,500. We also discovered that if we did move, the solar panels would significantly increase the value and saleability of our smallholding, so it’s a win-win situation.”
“Over the course of the expected 20-year lifetime of the solar system, our combined saving and income will be approximately £8,500.”
Darren King, Lewington’s Renewable Energy Manager, lead the installation of the Robinson’s solar system. Two 1.2 x 2 metre solar panels were fitted to the south-facing side of the farmhouse and incorporated into the new roof to make them flush with the slates. The team also fitted a new cylinder to store the hot water generated by the system.
With the installation is complete, the Robinsons are getting excellent results. “Despite the fact that I think we use a lot of hot water, we are getting faultless hot water all day long. We are aiming to reduce out hot water energy consumption by 70 per cent every year and I can’t see any problem in achieving this target,” says Mr Robinson.
Mrs Robinson adds, “Besides being reliable and saving us money, we great a great sense of satisfaction and pride in knowing that we are helping to reduce the impact we have on our natural environment.
“We can’t fault our new solar system or the service we received from Lewington Heating and Gas. The team that installed the panels and cylinder were clearly experts in their field and worked efficiently to get the job done with minimum disruption. They were also very friendly, clean and tidy.
“In fact, we are so impressed with the service from Lewington and the results from our solar system that we’re now considering having a wood burner installed too, which would enable us to do away with the oil boiler completely.”
“We are so impressed with the service from Lewington and the results from our solar system that we’re now considering having a wood burner installed too.”
Know the facts
- 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 Heating and Gas 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 Heating and Gas can help you lower your energy bills, visit our website at www.lewington-solar.co.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01858 433 333 and ask to speak to Darren King. If you would like to speak to the Robinsons directly about their solar thermal system, please let us know and we will arrange for you to do so.