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UK RICS report says solar takes 208 years to repay...nonsense! Help needed!

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Posted by Jonathan on October 14, 2007, 8:57 am
 
I opened my paper yesterday to see the following wildly inaccurate,
misleading and sensationalist report regarding home energy saving and
renewable energy. It was in several of the papers, here are some
links.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article2648540.ece
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/10/13/nhip213.x=
ml
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=
=487394&in_page_id=1770
http://www.building.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=284&storycode=3097491&c=
=0

There was a graphic in the Times, illustrating some figures.
http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c180/digitaltoast/times_RICS_graphic_smal=
ler.jpg

The figures in the graphic are in cloud cuckoo land.
761 to lag the tank? 755 for loft insulation?? 2,240 for
thermostatic radiator valves? At 9 per valve that's a pretty big
house!. All of the costs are between 5-20x exaggerated over real world
prices. I'd be interest in seeing the actual report, but of course,
there is no link to it.

What struck me in particular was this paragraph:

"But the study from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors shows
that some of the measures, such as solar panels to heat water, would
cost 5,000 to install but reduce average bills by only 24 a year and
would take about 208 years to pay back."

I work very hard to market ethically, using the "safest low figures"
as provided by the Energy Saving Trust and guidelines from the Solar
Trade Association

The very, very minimum saving on an appropriate solar thermal
installation is 75 per annum per panel, in the real world it's many
times more. I'm sure even the most sceptical person in this group can
see all of the figures are utter nonsense. But what to do about an
ignorant public?

Nonsense like this ruins years of hard work rebuilding the reputation
of an industry which has already had hard times due to mis-selling.

I've written to the RICS asking to the see full report, where the data
came from, and how they worked their figures out. But meantime, does
anyone have any thoughts on what the agenda of this report might be,
apart from to spread lies and mis-information?


Posted by Bob Eager on October 14, 2007, 9:14 am
 
wrote:


Well, there are plenty of those but they're usually biased the other
way...


You're assuming zero labour cost, though. A TRV may cost £9 (although
that may be a 'cheap' one) but there can be significant labour to fit
it. Partial drain-down, pipework alterations if old valve is a different
size, etc. Certainly, when we had ours fitted, some of them were very
quick but some took a long time.
--
The information contained in this post is copyright the
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   http://www.diybanter.com

Posted by Eeyore on October 14, 2007, 9:46 am
 

Bob Eager wrote:


That was what I was expecting actually.

Graham


Posted by Andy Hall on October 14, 2007, 9:38 am
 

Clearly the figures for insulation, TRVs and so on are incorrect and
demonstrably so.

Unfortunately for you, it is going to be difficult to do anything about
the mis-selling of solar equipment and the bodged job horror stories.  
You have an industry tarred with the same brush as double glazing at
best, but closer to that of spray on foam for roofs.

Moreover, you have a technology for sale in a country where the
perception is that the sun doesn't shine very much and that therefore
there will be little heat from these things.   I can appreciate that it
doesn't require full sunshine to do at least something, but Joe Public
believes that that is the situation.   You are then trying to sell
something that is dependent or perceived to be dependent on the British
weather.   If the weather isn't good, the payback may not be there.    
it's the same reason that windmills aren't perceived to be interesting.

Moreover, your product is aesthetically ugly.    There is no way in
hell that I would put solar panels on the roof of my house - they wreck
the appearance completely.    I have enough space that I suppose that I
could put them in the garden somewhere. Maybe.    But the visual
problem doesn't go away.      You may think that your products are
attractive visually and that the claimed saving is worth the visual
inconvenience, or even have some misguided notion about rescuing the
planet, but I'm afraid I don't.

So you are not dealing with a situation of a public which is ignorant,
but one which is not convinced by your claims or by those of your
industry.   it's completely worthless to have reports from
organisations like Energy Saving Trust and the Solar Trade Association
because these organisations have either a political agenda, a
commercial one or both.    That actually discredits your offering
further.

Sorry, but you have a very long way to go.      It's possible that
solar panels will begin to appear in new builds and if they attract the
attention of the likes of Benn, who really has no clue, then there
could even be legislation for new builds 10 years from now.    As to
the retrofit market, if you are depending on that, I think that you are
going to struggle for a very long time to make significant growth.

Either way, several things would need to happen.

- The products need to be made to look attractive.     That is the most
difficult.

- Significant money would need to be spent on marketing in all of its
forms including getting people like RICS and other similar building
industry organisations on side.

- There would need to be political lobbying.   Be careful with that one
though because people are seeing through that.

However, if the economics of all of this really are as good as you say,
then there should be plenty of money coming in, good profit margins for
manufacturers and suppliers and plenty to spend on said marketing.

I suspect though, that the books don't quite add up to do all of this.

You may have something of interest to the eco-enthusiast, but you don't
have something with a compelling value proposition.    If you did, the
jobs would be rolling in and the products flying off the shelves.






Posted by Eeyore on October 14, 2007, 9:38 am
 

Jonathan wrote:


What do you expect from journalists ? Even their 'science correspondents' seem
to be utterly clueless
these days. It's no doubt all to with dumbing down, political spin and the
give-away degrees that
Universities now offer..

Graham




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