Solar power has a bright future

The Wilkinson family, of Skitham Lane Out Rawcliffe, are delighted with the solar panels installed by the Solar Sense company, as after only five months they have been paid over �800 by electricity companies.'Pic L-R: Susan and Peter Wilkinson, 4 year-old Kieran Robinson, and owner of Solar Sense Richard Walmsley.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'14-9-2011

The Wilkinson family, of Skitham Lane Out Rawcliffe, are delighted with the solar panels installed by the Solar Sense company, as after only five months they have been paid over �800 by electricity companies.'Pic L-R: Susan and Peter Wilkinson, 4 year-old Kieran Robinson, and owner of Solar Sense Richard Walmsley. PIC BY ROB LOCK'14-9-2011

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AN Out Rawcliffe businessman has saved £500 on his electricity bills – and earned a further £800 for surplus electricity generated after installing solar panels on his property.

Peter Wilkinson, of Fylde Saddlery, made the decision to install the panels with Lytham-based Solar Sense (NW).

And he says the decision was a no-brainer.

Mr Wilkinson said: “I can’t say a wrong word about it.

“I was paying £240 a month for electricity and in the months after I installed it, my bill was £105, £97 and £44.

“Now I’ve had a cheque back for £837 as well.

“I only did it for the environment. The more people that do it, the better.”

Solar Sense, based in Clifton Street, has already completed 36 similar schemes across the Fylde coast.

Richard Walmsley runs the family-owned firm, which has a workforce of 12.

He said: “We offer solar panels and give a prediction on what – considering the number, and their alignment, they will produce.

“Mr Wilkinson actually earned 35 per cent more than we expected.

“He’s actually getting paid to produce electricity – it sounds too good to be true but it isn’t.

“The only thing you have to do is invest in the panels in the first place.

“But if you took the money out of an ISA account, invested it in the panels, and then reinvested the takings into the ISA, the return is amazing in comparison.”

The return is down to a Government-backed scheme that pays the panel owner 43.3p for each unit of electricity generated, linked to the Retail Price Index.

The income is also tax free.

The tariff is likely to drop from early next year in a bid to encourage home and business owners to invest early.

Mr Walmsley said that the scheme would also change the way people used their electricity.

He added: “With the panels, you generate electricity through the day, and that is when the electricity is free – so that’s when to get your washing machine on.

“What you don’t use then goes back into the grid and earns you money.

“We’ve got a five-week lead time for installation because we’re so busy.

“And we’re waiting on a number of planning applications for hotels in Blackpool. “There’s lots of ways and means we can install the panels.”