Solar PV (photovoltaic power) is energy from the sun that is converted into electricity for your home. By installing Solar PV panels on your roof, you will be feeding your home's mains electricity supply saving you money on your electricity bills. Because Solar PV panels don't need direct sunshine, they even work in cloudy weather.
To encourage the takeup of Solar PV, the government will pay you just for generating energy, even if you're using it yourself. Also, if your Solar PV panels produce more electricity than you need, the excess can be sold back to the national grid through a Feed In Tariff scheme. Consumers with a typical 3.5kWp Solar PV system could make combined saving and income of £628 per year (based on a solar PV system eligible for a generation tariff of 15.44p/kWh). What's more, a typical Solar PV system will save around 30 tons of CO2 in its lifetime.
A typical 3kWp Solar PV system can cost around £7,700 (including VAT). However, costs have fallen significantly over the last year and prices vary between installers and products, so it's best to get quotes from multiple installers.
It's easy to get set up with Solar PV panels. The installer will do almost everything for you, and the panels can be installed within a day or two. Unless you live in a conservation area, you won't need planning permission. Various energy companies provide feed in tariffs. British Gas can provide you with a Feed-In-Tariff, so you can get in touch with them for details.