...and the solar panels on my roof are chugging away – or would be if they had moving parts, generating just under 2 kilowatt hours peak, which is why we bung on the washing and cook the weekly oatcakes because all that electricity is free to use. The Feed In Tariffs of 41p per kilowatt hour mean that our roof is earning us about £900 a year, making the payback period for the panels about 12 years based on their cost of £11,000.
More importantly for us, every kilowatt of electricity generated by the sun means we avoid burning the same amount of fossil fuels, which create CO2 emissions, which… as we know … is a serious problem for our planet. When I read research such as yesterday’s – that rapid artic warming is likely to affect the gulf steam, which keeps our land temperate – I am even more committed to creating a renewable future in order to avoid the horrorstories that are already being created by climate change.
Third and perhaps more important of all is that oil and gas prices are creeping inexorably upwards and free electricity from the sun creates personal and collective resilience – if enough of us do enough things (including HMG, ahem) we’ll be looking at a clean future powered by the elements.
Dear Prudence open up your eyes
Dear Prudence see the sunny skies
The wind is low, the birds will sing
That you are part of everything
Dear Prudence won't you open up your eyes?
Walking around Lewes I cannot understand why more residents don’t invest in solar pv. Here might be some reasons and my responses. ‘I don’t own my own roof’: ask your landlord to invest in them. ‘I don’t have the cash’: see if you can increase your mortgage or take out a loan subsidised by Lewes District Council from South Coast Money Line. The FITs will more than cover the loan repayment. ‘The planning conservation officer says he will recommend refusal’: I say a polite ‘Bull’. Unless you are living in a listed buiding, don’t be bullied by these council officers whose job it is to be conservative; bung in the application and ask your local councillor to ask it to be referred to the planning committee. All applications put to them so far have gone ahead. And tell them that you don’t need to pay for the planning application because we are in an Article 4 Direction. Contact me if you want some free advice.
Finally, if you don’t have a south facing roof but want to invest in power from the sun, consider getting on board with Ovesco’s share offer to pay for Britain’s first solar power station – another fabulous Lewes first.
Dear Prudence, won't you come out to play
Dear Prudence, greet the brand new day
The sun is up, the sky is blue
It's beautiful and so are you
Dear Prudence won't you come out to play?