One year on from 12 Arran residents installing solar panels due to advice from Eco Savvy, we got in touch with them to find out how they are enjoying their free electricity!

Sunlight is free, and many Arran households are implementing solar PV to capture this free resource, cut electricity costs and minimise fossil fuel dependence to benefit our environment.

Eco Savvy is excited to report that out of the 25 households who showed a strong interest in Solar PV, 12 installs have now taken place. Eco Savvy is funded by the Scottish Governments Climate Challenge Fund to provide energy efficiency audits, and through these audits, realised the exciting potential for households and the Arran environment to benefit from solar PV installations. Wanting to make the process as easy as possible, and being an impartial advice service, Eco Savvy did extensive research on installers, the quality, track record, and the best deal that they could give to households interested. With Energy Performance Certificates conducted by energy auditor Charlotte to inform them on savings and how to maximise their solar installation, households were then able to make an informed decision on installers. 

Most households have gone for the same installer, offering a deal that averages around £4,500 for the maximum 4 kilowatt installation for domestic homes which is 14 panels. Eco Savvy has aided in form filling for the Home Energy interest free loan application and Feed in Tariff application and conducted the mandatory EPC for each household post installation.

Though the Feed In Tariff deadline of April 2019 has been a significant nudge for residents to accelerate PV plans, the high percentage of inefficient and old housing stock on Arran means D55 EPC ratings may never be achieved; and we are seeing many residents are moving forward with PV projects without the bonus of the FiT.

This is helping us help Arran cut significant carbon emissions, as solar electricity is green renewable energy and doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants. It is estimated that these twelve installs will save around 17 tonnes of CO2e annually. On top of this, households are getting paid for the electricity generated by solar PV through the Feed in Tariff and by selling excess electricity back to the grid through the governments export tariff.

Chris & Jan Attkins, Brodick:

Jan with her panels in Brodick

We really are delighted with our new solar installation, recommended to us by Eco Savvy and installed by Logan Installations. These new panels seem to make better use of overcast days. Of course, when the sun shines we get 3kw – enough to run our washing machine and, more importantly, charge up our electric car. Eco Savvy told us about an interest-free loan from Home Energy Scotland, which makes the installation really affordable.”

Please see below for insight into the first four installs of the project so from the people themselves!:

What was your motivation to get solar panels and what are you most looking forward to now they are installed? 

Toni & Jim, Lamlash: Benefit to the environment. Being an all-electric household, we are looking forward to lower fuel bills eventually. It is quite exciting to see how much power they are generating each day even in our present winter conditions.

Jim with his panels in Lamlash

Helen, Whiting Bay: Utilising energy from the sun to provide electricity for our house and to others through the national grid offers great potential to protect natural resources and our climate. Compared with other sources of electricity, it is safe and relatively cheap to generate electricity and there is no loss between the source of electricity to powering our kettle as there is for electricity from the national grid (Electricity distribution losses on average accounted for 8% of transported volumes and between 3.1% to 10% for the individual Distribution Network Operators in 2014. It has been my ambition for many years to have solar panels and I am looking forward to seeing whether we can be self-sufficient in energy use this summer as a result.

Chris & Jan, Brodick: To recharge our electric car and do our bit for the environment.

Carol, Shiskine: Solar panels use renewable energy which can only be a good thing. Also cutting a bit from the electric bill is a good thing too

How did you find the free advice that Eco Savvy provided to help you progress with solar PV and is there anything in particular that was beneficial?

Toni & Jim, Lamlash: We were very impressed with Eco Savvy and how they continue to be very helpful with advice on form filling etc. By implementing their recommendations for reducing our CO2 emissions we have improved our EPC rating considerably. The report they produced to improve our home’s performance rating was very detailed and interesting and a guide to other areas we could upgrade at a later date.

Helen, Whiting Bay: The support from Eco Savvy was great – helping to find a good contractor, arranging dates for the work to be completed, and providing the Energy Performance Certificate were particularly helpful.

Helen with her panels in Whiting Bay

Chris & Jan, Brodick: The service has been very helpful: informative, supportive and friendly. In particular, we discovered an interest-free loan was available.

Carol, Shiskine: Eco Savvy were great, making it so easy and straightforward to get things moving. Charlotte in particular practically organised all the arrangements for us, I didn’t really need to do anything. I’ve thought about getting them installed for awhile but really didn’t know where to start, what installers to use, etc. I also hope to have the Solar iBoost installed to help with hot water.

Would you recommend getting solar panels to other residents on Arran? And what would be your advice for anyone considering getting them?

Toni & Jim, Lamlash: Yes, certainly but we would suggest everyone took advice from Eco Savvy before going ahead with any options as they are very knowledgeable and only interested in reducing Arran’s carbon footprint.

Energy Auditor Charlotte, outside the first install

Helen, Whiting Bay: I would really recommend getting solar panels to people who have the roof facing in the right direction. Help is available from a variety of sources and it does not take long to fit them these days.

Chris & Jan, Brodick: Absolutely. Seek advice from Eco Savvy. Do it immediately, before the FIT ends.

Carol, Shiskine: Yes, I’d recommend getting them done but you’d need to be quick as the cut off for FIT payments is 31st March and all the paperwork needs to be with your electric supplier by that date.

Any other thoughts?

Toni & Jim, Lamlash: Logan installations have been very dedicated to the process and have gone above and beyond, even replacing a broken rooftile which happened long before the install took place!

Helen, Whiting Bay: Thank you very much for helping me to achieve my dream.

Chris & Jan, Brodick: Even on a dull day, our base load is covered by our PV generation.

Carol, Shiskine: Thank you Eco Savvy

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