Matt Fraser, the head of service delivery at Energy Saving Trust and his family recently moved, which presented the ideal opportunity to experiment with more sustainable living practices. At their new home, the family fitted solar panels and replaced their gasoline vehicles with electric vehicles. Matt told us why electric vehicles and the solar panels are the way of the future for low-carbon living.
Installing the solar panels
Matt and the family were concerned about the global warming crisis and its consequences. They took advantage of the opportunity to study strategies to minimize their carbon footprints when they relocated to a different house in October 2019. Matt had wanted to put solar panels on their roof for a long period of time but was unable to do so since the roof was excessively steep and the home was obscured by trees and neighboring properties at their previous home.
The family’s new home is a 4-bedroom detached home with a southwest-looking roof, allowing solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. Matt sought independent, qualified advice from Home Energy Scotland about whether alternative technology could be appropriate for his new home. Solar PV could be simply installed, according to the expert, and other solutions would also be appropriate.
Matt chose a 4.2kW solar PV setup with 14 panels and a charging station for his new electric car. He found three potential companies to submit quotations using the Renewables Installer Finder that belongs to Energy Saving Trust. Instead of subcontracting the work, Matt chose to hire a local installer who was going to do it all himself, believing that this would offer them more control of the quality and timing of the installation. This installation took 2½ days in the early February 2020, with the scaffolding built the week prior, which was faster than Matt had anticipated.
Zero carbon driving
Matt and the family are ecstatic with the new solar panels as well as an electric vehicle. The potential to create power from the sun has piqued the entire family’s interest. Matt is ecstatic that his EV runs on zero-carbon electricity supplied by his solar panels.
They get paid 5p per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for the electricity they send to the grid via Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). Given the present cost of electricity, it makes financial logic for the family to utilize as much of the electricity produced by solar PV panels as feasible before exporting to a grid.
Matt and the family have consumed roughly 3,300kWh of electricity in the first year since the panels were placed, both in the home and for charging an electric car. During that time, the panels have produced around 3,100kWh, which is more than enough to cover consumption. Only 40 percent of the electricity produced by the panels was utilized in the house or to charge the car, with the remainder 60% being fed into the grid.