Saturday 22 January 2011

Solar panels

A woman rang during the week to arrange an appointment for someone that she said was doing a survey in the commune to come and visit. He was part of a government survey into our energy use and together with EDF they were doing a report. (Since this was a telephone conversation the details are always hazy but I definitely got EDF, government and they are not trying to sell me anything.) Anyway worst case scenario I get a free french lesson.

Man duly arrives and he's a solar panel salesman. Quelle surprise. But since he was going to explain the way that this is funded in France that was ok and interesting. With this company being the manufacturer of the panels (and making the money) it goes like this:

The company installs the panels (if your roof is suitable) for nothing and you enter into a 20 year contract with EDF whereby EDF will buy the electricity you produce for 58 cents a kwh. which they guess will be 2610 euros a year. The government gives you 4000 euros in tax rebate. (You still pay your electricity bill as usual.)

BUT you have to pay them monthly for the installation for the first eleven years which just about equals what they pay you for the electricity so you only get the value of the electricity for the last 9 years.

And all these figures are guesses on the amount of electricity produced.

There are so many unanswerable questions about future unknowns that it aint going to happen.

What mostly concerns me is that it is yet another unasked question when you buy a house. Don't think oh great it's got solar panels that'll save on the electricity. Think oh shit we are going to be stuck with the remains of a contract with EDF which we have to pay 200 euros a month for, having missed out on the tax rebate and probably years away from the pay off.


  1. And I see that the government now want to impose capital gains tax on the sale of one's principal fund the shortfall if they abolish the wealth tax...

  2. Similar schemes in the UK. Those with long teeth have the measure of it, and see through the figures and stay clear. All that's gold, doesn't shine.