In a bid to counteract the current consumer confusion surrounding the UK solar industry Conergy has launched a tracker system which highlights the long-term financial returns still available when installing solar panels.

The quarterly Solar Returns Tracker, which is the first of its kind in the UK, clearly displays the potential return on investment available despite the upcoming feed-in tariff cuts, which will go ahead from August 1.

Robert Goss, the Managing Director of Conergy UK, said: “The Solar Returns Tracker is designed to provide clarity to British home-owners who’ve been bamboozled by all the talk of tariff ‘cuts’. Export tariffs are in fact going up 40 percent which helps people who aren’t able to use so much of the power in their home. After August 1, the reduction amounts to just £14 per month on a typical home installation.”

After the most recent round of feed-in tariff cuts, which went through on April 1, weekly solar installation figures fell down to just 885 in comparison to more than 1,700 in the same month last year. Among other things, one of the main reasons cited for this dip was the negative press surrounding the cuts, which prompted a large amount of consumer confusion.

The Solar Returns Tracker aims to reduce this confusion by forecasting the potential financial returns from a typical 4kW domestic solar installation costing £7,000 and located in London. In the first edition [seen on this page], returns are estimated for installations completed before and after August 1, when the next round of changes will go through. Savings on energy bills are also factored in and are set alongside estimated returns from financial investments.

As can be seen in the table solar installations completed and registered before the changes go through will receive tax-free returns of 12.8 percent a year, combining the feed-in and export tariff. With estimated energy bill savings of £258.70/year (rising to £311.50 in 2030) payback on the £7,000 example installation is expected at six years. Over 25 years, total returns are forecast at £22,595 – an average £904 per year. This compares with a total of £8,838 for £7,000 re-invested in five-year bonds at current market rates – or returns of £354 per year.

“There’s a triple win here of reliable returns, reduced energy bills and DIY energy production that is very grown up. There aren’t many surefire ways of making £20,000, but you’d be surprised what you can be made from the roof over your head,” Goss concluded.