Buried at the bottom of a Telegraph article on solar energy:
In the UK, the average domestic solar PV system is 3.5 to 4kWp and typically costs from £5,500 to £9,500. A 4kWp system can generate around 3,700 kilowatt hours of electricity a year — roughly equivalent to a typical household’s electricity needs.
As well as this, households using a solar panel will be paid a minimum sum for all electricity generated by their system, known as the Feed-In Tariff (Fit). The Fit currently stands at 14.38p per kilowatt hour (kwh) for each unit of electricity created, providing an income of around of around £785 a year.
HM Government is paying a quarter (well, 24 cents) for a kilowatt-hour that averages 12 cents in the States? Hell of a deal. Then again, my household is atypical; I go through about 8000 kWh a year, which costs me around $900.
Obviously I’m not going to get this sort of rebate from the Crown if I actually were to mount some solar panels. And there’s always the question of where to put them:
Conventional wisdom in the northern hemisphere is to face solar panels south so they get the most exposure to sunlight during the day.
Architects and installers, as a rule, use this approach all the time particularly on home solar panel installations.
In November, American research revealed that panels facing west may actually get more energy from the sun, and at more convenient times.
Certainly explains why all my roses turn westward.
Scientists found that when homeowners faced their panels west they were able to generate more electricity each day. They also generated more electricity in the afternoon, when power grids experience peak demand. Though the increase was small — just two per cent — experts said it would certainly add up over the years.
Add to this the afternoon boost, reducing grid dependence during peak hours by 65 per cent as opposed to 54 per cent for south facing panels, could have widespread efficiency implications beyond single homes.
On the other hand, there are good reasons for purely southern exposure:
[T]hat is precisely the correct direction if your goal is to have a source of power for your battery banks in the event of a grid-down situation.
Not that anything like that could ever, ever happen.
And anyway, the orientation of my little love shack is such that any alignment to any of the name-brand compass points — say, north by northwest — is going to be just a hair off.