If the government offered to pay you £1,000 a year for the next 25 years, in return for an up-front investment of £12,500, you'd snap it up in a second. Well, that's pretty much the deal on offer this week after the government finally revealed what it will pay those who install electricity generating solar panels – in and around their homes – through the new “Feed-in Tariffs” (FITs).

After years of campaigning by environmental groups – helped in small part by this newspaper – the government has finally agreed to reward households and businesses installing electricity-generating measures with enough of a return to make it a serious financial, as well as an environmental, investment. If you've got the money (which is a big “if”) and, crucially, a sunny, south-facing roof, you can earn a 7%-10% tax-free return, an income that will rise in line with inflation. At the same time, you get to do more than your fair share in reducing the UK's carbon­ emissions.

In the week that the energy regulator,­ Ofgem, warned the nation to expect 20% electricity price hikes by 2020, and warned future supplies were in jeopardy, investors in solar panels will have the added benefit of being a net provider of electricity, and largely insulated from future price hikes that could see household bills top £2,000 a year by 2020.