Thursday, 17 November 2011

Business models

I have noted before, that in Summer at least, a lot of sunny energy lands on the grange roof and gets turned into heat, and that it would be nice to turn this energy into electricity instead of wasting it.

EDF have a serious problem with their electricity distribution network in France: it is operating at near-capacity, demand is growing, and upgrading it will cost them a fortune. There are therefore various government subsidies and buy-back incentives for electricity that you might generate with solar panels, to encourage you to fit them.

But at the end of the day, when I looked at the numbers, it would cost upwards of 110,000 euro to cover the roof with solar panels, and the pay-back period would be longer than ten years. I'm sure I could find better things to do with the money, and anyway, it's EDF has the problem, not me. Why should I tie up a load of money, and give myself the headache of managing and maintaining a solar installation, just to help out EDF?

If on the other hand EDF came to me and asked to lease my roof so they could install solar panels, and pay me a bit of cash to do so, I would be interested. They can take the business risk, and I get a bit of money plus some smugness at being eco-friendly. So I was intrigued by these guys who are basically offering to do just that for customers in the UK. Maybe someone will take up this idea for France. And I wonder how long it will take for the likes of EDF to wake up and cut out the middle man?


Sarah said...

Leasing your roof sounds a brilliant idea, and I love what those guys are doing in the UK. Such a creative approach.

the fly in the web said...

ICE...the equivalent here of EDF...are pushing DIY energy generation, but, just like EDF, the installation costs are down to you.
Therefore, no, I'm not doing it...especially when they're sitting on sources of geothermal energy which could give them multiple times their energy requirements.

Mark said...

There's never any free lunch. I don't know enough about the EDF scheme but I 'd bet there's a very long lock in.

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