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Thread: Solar Panels installation?

  1. #1

    Default Solar Panels installation?

    Hi,

    Has anyone any experience of solar panels for generating electricity to reduce your elec bill and sell back to the grid?

    Want to know if its as good as they state with the payback. We have a two bed house, semi detached, two people only. We are fairly good at energy consumption -75 a month average elec / gas bill. Have most energy efficient items but no wall insulation.

    Any help much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    1,884

    Default

    I looked into this for fil a few weeks ago, from memory

    The house has to have at least Energy Performance Certificate rating D before entitled to the feed in tariff - may need wall insulation

    Only worth the investment if you have savings earing low interest - don't borrow to fit

    Aim for 4kw - 800 (approx) per annum return

    Lifestyle changes - cleaning and washing when the sun is shining so you buy less from the grid

    I never got as far as researching panels fil was thinking of borrowing and had been told the returns would cover the monthly repayments - there are some lighter panels which work in shaded areas and new triangular ones.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    2,156

    Default

    I thought the ship sailed on the best solar panel deals a few years back?

    Unfortunately, I'm a bit of a poor loser, so would find it difficult to settle for a significantly less profitable offer/tariff!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    1,884

    Default

    Lol thats just like me - my ex used to say I'd cut my nose off to spite my face. Looking it up for fil did make me research solid wall insulation - that wasn't worth it either as we plan to move in 4 years.

  5. #5

    Default

    Solar seems to still be a good investment. Like anything it has risks. For 5000 6000you should get a good mono system installed. Presuming you use electricity during the day you should make all your money back in 5 to 10 years. Bear in mind after year 10 chances are you will get inverter fail, and will cost 400 to 1000 to replace. By that time your panels will also be generating less than they did 10 years ago too. So you will need to invest a little and you should make money still. At first your panels will say be 90% efficiency after 10 years this will probably be about 80%. They will degrade over time and if your unlucky one or more may even fail therefore more expense, or less power generated. As far as I can tell on a unoptimised system if one panel should degrade this will pull down all the panels on that string to the same level. Like shading. If one gets shaded on a string they will all operate at the shaded level. Solar edge optimisation is around 80 per panel extra. This works great but only gives a better efficiency of around 2% unless you have a shading issue. What it does though is monitor each panel so if one fails you will know which one, but thats also typically 16 more inverters to go wrong. Unless you do have shading its usual to avoid optimisation as the extra power is not usually covered by the extra cost. Voltage optimisers are also sold by some companies. However there is no way I can see any saving in getting one installed.

    If you have 5000 plus to invest in the long term there should be no way you shouldn't return a profit over 25 years. Realistically probably 10% upto 20% if you used all your generation.

    At present you get just over 14p per kw and 50% of what you generate is sold to the electric company even of you used 100%


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  6. #6

    Default

    Thanks everyone for your replies.

    It has been something we have been considering if we came into a bit of money so not immediately.
    My feelings were with fuel costs going up every year, if we could make the system pay our fuel bills as we are fairly low consumers, it would pay back in say 6-7 years. Could be even less if fuel bills continue to rise at normal rates seen in the past few years.
    After that point, free energy for aslong as the system keeps going. We have no shading issues so thats not a problem.

  7. #7

    Default

    Strange to see no-one, despite comprehensive replies, has mentioned the aspect of your roof or the compass direction, the two things that will be potential dealbreakers.

    The other thing to note is that you pay with net income, and receive gross in return, so if you did have 5k in savings and were paying tax on it, make sure you considered your net figures vs gross correctly.

    If you haggle a bit you should get under the figures above. Quite right thought FITs are 1/3rd of what they are and it sounds like you are well below average energy consumption, all the headline rates these days are based on average household bills of 1350ish I think with that being about 40/60 electric/gas.

    The calculation is regulated for the feed in tariffs but at my last check is not so regulated on the energy bill saving side, and this is where you need to be careful. I would think you are looking at about 5-6% ROI and payback in longer than 10 years just from what you say, but it is Govt. guaranteed, you can get inverter guarantees for 20 years anyway now so wouldn't worry about that (haggle for it if not offered) plus inverters have come a long way, insist on a decent one (German or belgian).

    I would be stunned if you would get payback in 6-7 personally unless you have a directly S facing roof and are in the SW of the UK, and the majority or all of that 75 a month is leccy (but you mention gas, so that is unlikely). Just back of the envelope, have not done the maths.

  8. #8

    Default

    Yes, we have a south facing roof, no shading at all and we live in sw england on the coast, we do get more sun than most in this area.
    I was thinking if we did go ahead in the future to change to electric hob and new energy efficient electric heaters so we would have no gas.

    Just playing around with ideas on this at the mo so all comments are appreciated.

  9. #9

    Default

    Yes electric items is fine if you wouldn't miss gas hob etc (kept gas at ours, it is a "luxury" we are willing to pay for).

    It does bring things like electric slow cookers, airfryers, the more "modern" plug in oven into a new light, and we have bought a few gadgets on that basis.

    One added bonus we got out of it was to get a device fitted (note you need to have a system boiler not a combi) to switch on the immersion when we have any excess electricity. This pushes us up to using at least 80% of what we generate, and in the winter season 100% basically - and also means no using gas to heat hot water about 40-50% of the year (which only represents 20% of the average house gas bill, although yours might be higher as it sounds like you are very switched on on the usage front).

    No opinion on the new electric heaters, unless you are talking about the air-to-air heat pumps which are worth a look but there may well be an incentive coming on those as well. You are tackling the 80% of the gas bill there so it is worth a look. I've considered them but the price is too high at the moment, and also they only really look after one room at a time, and most installations recommend 4 heaters max, which won't cut the mustard in our house.

  10. #10

    Default

    Some great advise Parchy - thx.

    Yes, would have to remove combi and replace with hot water tank and immersion. Me and my wife came from elec only flats so we are used to those systems.

    We could easily do away with our gas hob, yes think they are better but small sacrifice.

    So you have already a solar system by tge sounds of it, worth it in your opinion or worth waiting a while longer to see if installations fall a bit?

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