Wood Pellets and Solar Thermal?

Do wood pellets and solar thermal work well together as a combination?

The simple answer is “yes” with the home owner taking advantage from both the sun and wood pellets or logs.

The disadvantages are that you have to pay for 2 pieces of heating equipment and for 2 installations. However there are plenty of bonuses.

1 The non domestic Renewable Heat Incentive

(for organisations and district heating)

The non domestic RHI will pay out 7.9p per kWh for small scale biomass and 8.5p per kWh for solar thermal.

The rates being slightly favourable for solar mean that each kW you heat using solar is more beneficial for your heating bills and your incentive tariff from hte government will be  a little higher.

2 The domestic Renewable Heat Incentive

Whilst tariffs are not yet decided it is expected to be similar in parity to the non domestic RHI.

3 During the summer

During the summer it is likely that solar can be the only form of heating/producer of hot water. This means no bills.

4 During the winter

During the winter solar takes the edge off your bills according to how sunny it is.

5 No struggling with heating

Solar can struggle to provide heating. Biomass wood pellets have few limitations in terms of “how much” heat you need.

Both solar and wood pellets provide cheaper fuel. The RHI does pay for the installations. With the non domestic RHI starting at the end of November applications can be made directly to Ofgem for these sorts of combinations.

How much is the non domestic RHI worth for wood pellets and solar?

@ 20,000 kWhs per year (small b&b and 15 kW boiler) – £32,000 over 20 years

@ 30,000 kWhs per year (small public house 23 kW boiler) – £48,000 over 20 years

@ 40,000 kWhs per year (Small office block 30 kW boiler) – £64,000 over 20 years

@ 50,000 kWhs per year (small hotel 38 kW boiler) – £80,000 over 20 years

@ 60,000 kWhs per year (3 homes in a district heating system 45 kW boiler) – £96,000 over 20 years

@ 80,000 kWhs per year (A museum) – £102,000 over 20 years

The RHI will pay for the equipment and installation. You also get the considerable benefit of “no more fossil fuel”.

Price watch on fossil fuels November 2011

Gas prices for Wiltshire are 8.850p for Tier 1 and 4.132p thereafter. This equates to about 4.7p per kWh for the average house.

Oil was 60p a litre or 6p per kWh

Both types are more expensive than Wood pellets at £190 per tonne or 4p per kWh.

Locally made solar panels

Green Phoenix make their own solar panels near Royal Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire. High quality and transparent pricing!