Birmingham and Renewable Energy
Located in the West Midlands region, Birmingham is the second most populated city in the UK, with slightly more than one million inhabitants. The city has been described as the powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution and the workshop of the world, and it currently has an economic output of £18 billion per year.
Birmingham is now facing the challenge of allowing its citizens and economy to thrive on sustainable use of resources, becoming a leading green city. With this in mind, the government and council have designed the Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP), in which they set up the ambitious target of reducing the CO2 emissions by 60% until 2027 (on a 1990 baseline). The top priorities are:
- to accelerate investment in how to heat and power the city.
- to create more local and renewable energy.
- to improve transportation.
- to widen investment in energy efficiency programmes.
Solar Power in Birmingham
The former, very-popular Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme sparked a wave of investment in small generating equipment, with a significant impact in terms of solar panel installations. This combined with the considerable drop in prices of solar systems has lead to an increasing popularity of domestic solar panel installations. The SEAP expects that 8,000 Birmingham homes will have retrofit PV systems installed by 2020. Nonetheless, bear in mind that the government decided to retire the FiT in March 2019.
In 2004, a large solar PV array was installed at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham. This system is, in fact, one of the largest solar PV schemes in the UK. Moreover, the Summerfield Eco Neighbourhood was another early example of large-scale roll out of solar electric panels.
Read more: How To: Choose a Solar Panel.
Regarding solar thermal systems, the potential for such technology is thought to be relatively low in Birmingham. The city's row of terraced housing often uses a combination of gas boilers with electric showers with no hot water storage. Solar thermal panels tend not to be used with these types of systems.
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Birmingham? Can I Get Free Solar Panels?
Giving an exact number for a solar system is not possible without details like type, size and quality of the system chosen. Therefore, if you are wondering how much you will have to invest in your solar panels or solar water heating system, we suggest you filling the contact information at the top of this page and we will gladly provide you with up to four customised quotes from our specialist suppliers.
However, just to have an idea, we can anticipate that a solar panel system should cost you from £4,000 to £8,000, depending on your choice and needs. On the other hand, a solar thermal system can cost you around £4,000. Installation and insurance costs might add a bit to these numbers as well.
However, you should not panic. Remember that the FiT scheme means that you will eventually make money from your solar system and that the initial investment pays back. Moreover, your roof might be eligible for the “rent your roof scheme”, through which you can get solar panels installed for free. Although this means that the energy supplier will keep the money you could make with the FiT, you will still save up to one-third on your electricity bill. The criteria that will determine your eligibility for this scheme can be summarised as follows:
- Your roof should face the south.
- The further the south and west of the country, the more likely the roof will be eligible for the scheme.
- There should be at least 20 m2 of an unshaded area with clearance space around the panels.
- The building should be more than 500 meters from the sea, which is the case of every building in Birmingham.
Are There Grants for Solar Energy in Birmingham?
The FiT is, by far, the most popular scheme regarding solar energy, not only in Birmingham but in the entire UK. The scheme targets renewable energy generation and applies (among other technologies) for solar panels. The FiT will pay you for every unit of electricity you generate, and if, instead of using it yourself, you sell it back to the grid, you will get a bonus payment.
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is another popular government incentive regarding renewable energy. This applies for renewable heat and therefore, for solar thermal. The RHI provides grants for solar thermal systems and also pays you for the heat you generate at your place.
There is also a funding called Energy Company Obligation (ECO) funding, that covers a wide range of energy saving installations for eligible householders. This energy efficiency programme was introduced in Great Britain in 2013 and is intended to work alongside the Green Deal to provide additional financing and support in the domestic sector, focusing primarily on vulnerable consumer groups and hard-to-treat homes.
How Can I Find a Solar Supplier in Birmingham?
Finding the right solar supplier can eat up a lot of your time. Moreover, since the required investment is quite significant, you want to make a good purchase which will make you happy during the entire lifespan of the solar system. Therefore, you should compare different suppliers and their respective options and make sure that you pick a reliable and certified supplier. GreenMatch.co.uk is here to help. You can fill the contact form at the top of this page and you will be contacted by up to four professional solar installers with their best offers to suit your particular needs. Our no-obligation service is 100% free of charge!