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Pros/Cons Of Solar Panels

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by ReganAndCarter, 24 Jan 2021.

  1. ReganAndCarter

    ReganAndCarter

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    I'm looking at buying a 2 bed bungalow with solar panels on one side of the roof. I don't know the first thing about SPs, and would appreciate some info from the experts please.

    Would I be using some of the electricity produced by the panel, or is it all sold to the elec co? How much would these panels save me on an average bill? How long do they last and do they need any maintenance? What are the pros/cons of having them?

    Thanks for any advice.

     
    Last edited: 24 Jan 2021
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  3. BS3036

    BS3036

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    Does the current owner have a contract with an electricity company for the panels? Are they offering to transfer it to you? What rate are they paying? It may be very advantageous to you depending on the answers.
     
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  4. Alec_t

    Alec_t

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    Will the panels become your property, or are they owned by the company which installed them?
     
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  5. winston1

    winston1

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    There were two systems.
    1. Owned outright.
    2. Rent a roof.

    You need to find out which via your solicitors.

    In either case you use the electricity they produce and the excess is sold the the elect co at quite a high rate. However with rent a roof the renters take that money I believe but they may maintain the panels.

    Each panel produces around 250w in bright sunlight when they are new so your 16 could potentially produce 4kW. Output reduces with age but I don't know how much by. Dirt and grime will also reduce the output. I don't like cleaning the car let alone solar panels.

    If I was buying a place with solar panels I would welcome it if owned outright, if rent a roof I would probably look for another property.
     
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  6. flameport

    flameport

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    Items switched on when the panels are generating electricity will use that electricity, so you don't have to buy any from the grid.
    However for most domestic installs, the bulk of what's generated isn't used locally, and just goes back into the grid. It's very difficult to use substantial amounts of electricity in the middle of the day in a domestic property, unless you happen to have an electric car or some other device that uses large amounts of electricity for a significant length of time.

    The other option is to install battery storage, the panels charge the batteries in the day, and the batteries power the house in the evening/night.
    That way you can actually use the electricity generated, and if properly sized can reduce the amount of electricity purchased to almost nothing.
    However that will be several £1000 upwards.

    What you get for what's generated depends on the exact arrangements - without any subsidy you get a few pence per unit for whatever goes into the grid which amounts to a whole lot of nothing.
    Older systems were installed with ridiculous subsidies up to 41p per unit generated, regardless of where the electricity went.

    Most systems are owned outright, and will be sold with the property.
    There were dubious schemes where companies installed the panels for free, they got all of the subsidies and the property owner was tied into a lengthy 20+ year contract renting their roof to someone else for nothing. Property owner just got the use of any electricity generated which as above amounts to a pile of nothing.
    If it's one of those get the current owner to buy out the system before purchasing (typical cost £10K+), otherwise find another property.

    Lifespan should be 20-30 years for the panels. The inverter (connects the panels to the electricity supply) is more likely to be 7-15 years and will probably need replacement at some point on an older system. Replacement typically around £1000.

    Maintenance is cleaning occasionally, the front is glass so similar to cleaning a conservatory roof.
     
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  7. JohnD

    JohnD

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    the electricity is all generated during the working day, mostly between about 9.30 and 4pm if they face South.

    If you get in the habit of using the tumbledrier (especially), oven, washer and dishwasher during those hours, you will save some electricity and thus money. Sometime it will catch a sunny spell, sometimes it won't. If you have a gas boiler, the cost of hot water is trivial, so don't waste your money on an immersion heater electricity diverter. Once the novelty wears off you should stop fretting about it.

    They would save you money if you had a plug-in electric vehicle and were going to use electricity anyway.

    Today and yesterday we had spells of very cold, with bright sun, and mine were making between 1 and 2kW for some of the time, so contributed to the cost of the Sunday roast and the washing. On a cloudy day the generation is about nothing. In sunny summers it is much more.

    The panels on the house you are looking at may be fairly new, and the subsidy (FITS payment) is very low, so they are not a worthwhile financal investment. You can work it out if you know the commission date, the compass orientation, and the latitude. FITS payments are calculated on the assumption that 50% of the energy will be exported to the grid. If you actually export more, you get paid no extra. If you use it all yourself, you get paid no less.

    Quite handy if you have them, but not a big deal either way. Don't think they add much to the value of the house. If the vendor tries to tell you otherwise, ask to see the remittance advices for (at least) the last two years.
     
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  8. Swwils

    Swwils

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    From a wider purely eco perspective if your supply is already 100% renewable then having solar panels arguably isn't the first place to be more ecologically friendly.
     
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  9. ReganAndCarter

    ReganAndCarter

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    Thanks to everyone for your replies. A few things to investigate. I don't know any of the answers to your questions, so will get my solicitor to dig deeper if I go ahead with buying. Really appreciate the help.
     
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  11. ReganAndCarter

    ReganAndCarter

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    Finally had an answer from my solicitor. Turns out the solar panels are on a 'rent a roof' scheme on a 25 year contract through a company called A Shade Greener. I'm not sure what to do now.
     
  12. JP_

    JP_

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  13. JP_

    JP_

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  14. ericmark

    ericmark

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    My daughter has hot water panels on house in turkey, they work well, but father-in-law had them in North Wales and they never did work. All they did was get a better energy rating for the house, it seems over the years improvements have been made with all types of solar panels, and East/West we were told better as they produced for more hours in the day.

    But we were all told with electric panels 7 kW was the aim as over 7 kW the rate dropped, so most were rated at 7 kW, however @JohnD says between 1 and 2 kW so it seems they deliver around ¼ of rated output, so seem rather useless.

    Personally with rent a roof I would say thanks but no thanks.
     
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  15. charliegolf

    charliegolf

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    Well, you can still make every effort to 'use it before it leaves the premises'; and in any event it will reduce your bill. You could go further and get a solar water heater, assuming that you have a tank, not a combi. You'll likely use all the electricity the house generates. If not, increased use of slow cookers, oven timers and timed dish/clothes washing* would, I'd have thought, use it all.

    If the installers (who will be getting between 16 and 45p/click) remain liable for repairs and maintenance, It wouldn't stress me too much.

    *Not keen on unattended tumble driers.
     
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  16. Adam_151

    Adam_151

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    Run away, I'd suggest. You are letting your self in for problems, if the roof every needs repair then they are likely to charge an extertionate amount to remove and refit to facilitite this.... if you can even manage to get hold of them at all, as at some point the investment in some cases might end up with some holding company who has very little presence in this country.

    Like shared driveways, leashold houses and estate maintenace charges they are something that ought to be avoided when buying a house!
     
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  17. BS3036

    BS3036

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    This. Unless you can persuade the sellers to buy back their roof before selling. They are in a really dodgy position trying to sell this house! A lot of mortgage lenders wouldn't touch this.
     
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