The chair of Manx Utilities has said that the costs of solar panels would be significantly higher than a wind farm.

Tim Crookall said this in response to a written question which asked whether the option of offering householders solar panels had been considered and how that data compares with the cost of the wind farm investment.

In his response, Mr Crookall said: ‘On Island, more electricity is used in winter than in summer. Generally this is because the daylight hours are reduced and there is a need to use lighting earlier in our homes. ‘Electric heating is also utilised in winter where the temperature is cooler and hot electric showers are more likely to be used.

‘Wind speeds are highest in winter on island which means a wind farm will produce most of its power in winter, when Island demand is the highest.

‘A typical 20 Megawatt windfarm in the British Isles has a capacity factor of 35%. This means a 20 Megawatt will produce on average of 61,320 Megawatt-Hours per year.

‘The windfarm sites identified have an anticipated capacity factor of 45% to 74% which means even in the worst case scenario, they will produce at least 80,000 MWh per year.’

He added: ‘In contrast, solar panels produce most of their power over the summer months, with longer days and with the sun higher in the sky. The time solar power produces most power, is the time when demand is lowest. If this excess power cannot be exported, it must be curtailed which results in higher costs to consumers.

‘While the cost of generating from solar can be very low, the total system costs resulting from curtailment and balancing of solar are actually significantly higher.

‘The cost of wind once system costs are factored in are actually much lower than solar.

‘A typical solar project in the British Isles has a capacity factor of between 9 to 11%. This means 20 Megawatts of solar will only generate a maximum of 19,272 Megawatt-Hours per year.’