Solar panels: do they save money?

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

RobinBHM

Established Member
Joined
17 Sep 2011
Messages
7,202
Reaction score
1,393
Location
Wst Sussex
With energy costs rising exponentially, I’m thinking of solar panels

has anybody got experience with them?

I live in South East (Sussex), house is conventional gable ended, like an apex roof shed. Pitch is about 35deg, rear side faces about South South East.

my concern is I don’t know how long I will be living here - do solar panels increase house value

TIA :)
 

Ollie78

Established Member
Joined
4 Aug 2011
Messages
1,394
Reaction score
637
Location
Wiltshire
My brother has some and he does save money.
However, when he had them fitted the government were doing a buy back tarrif where they buy back excess energy at a good rate.
When I looked into it later the scheme was no longer in effect.

I think they are only worth it if you have a battery system or electric car.
That way you are keeping and using your energy and so not buying that amount from the grid.

There is a website that uses Google earth to see if your roof is suitable, solar checker or something like that.

On another note, not all panels are the same quality. You can also get combined PV and water heating ones.

Ollie
 
Last edited:

Ozi

Established Member
Joined
26 Dec 2020
Messages
507
Reaction score
344
Location
Rugby Uk
I have solar hot water, no buy back etc. but at the time I was told they would last longer, this may or may not be true now. They do mean I don't need to run the boiler for several months each year, I can't calculate the pay back as I changed from a very old gas boiler to a more modern condensing one at the same time but gas usage dropped a lot - very glad of them just now, been running 13 years with one service a year ago. The only way I see to answer the house value question is would you pay more for a house with than without?
 

John Brown

Social media influenza
Joined
25 Sep 2008
Messages
2,515
Reaction score
532
Location
Stinchcombe, Gloucestershire
We have solar water heating and PV. We get the original feed in tariff (which will expire in 6 years or so). I don't think the figures add up for new installations now, although maybe when electricity prices go through the roof it'll make more sense ... Since most FITs don't actually measure exported power, but just estimate it, some people divert any export power to an immersion heater. As mentioned above, if you have an EV, you can get smart chargers that only charge when you would otherwise be exporting, but now the government are pulling the smart charger grand at the end of March. I don't think this government are really interested in that sort of green stuff.
 

Stuart Moffat

Established Member
Joined
3 Apr 2019
Messages
62
Reaction score
39
Location
St. Neots
No experience of PV but very good experience of hot water. Bought a large but leaky house about 15 years ago. first 2 years was filling oil tank 3 times a year. Professional quotes for solar panels were very expensive even with grants. After some research designed and bought the stuff to do it myself, but got a roofer to fix the 2 frames on the roof. It paid for itself in about 14 months. PM me if you want any detail.
 

Woody2Shoes

Impressive Member
Joined
5 Jan 2015
Messages
2,133
Reaction score
405
Location
Sussex UK
do solar panels increase house value?
Answer - don't know but they ought to! I think that EPCs are becoming more important at sale time (and also for anyone looking to rent out a property) and will become more so. EPCs are not perfect, as they sometimes reflect cost of ownership rather than CO2 emissions, but they're not a bad measure. Calculating payback time is a tricky one, as a key input is the cost of grid energy (gas/electric) and we only know what's happening to that after the fact!

I think that although feed-in tariffs (govt incentives) have been done away with, the cost of solar PV panels and other components has gone down significantly and their efficiency and reliability has gone up. There are also other really interesting technologies like thermal batteries e.g. Sunamp | Compact thermal storage for hot water, heating and cooling (and electrochemical batteries too, e.g. GivEnergy ) which allow you to store heat/electricity generated by your PV panels and/or off-peak electricity and use it later - this kind of thing goes a long way to making up for the lack of reward for exporting electricty back to the grid.

This guy talks a fair bit of sense:

And him:

The Ecobuble people have some interesting videos too e.g.

With all renewables, the mantra is usually "fabric first", so your money may well be better spent on insulation, draughtproofing etc. in the first instance (which if done properly and documented should improve your EPC rating and reduce your cost of ownership).
 

Woody2Shoes

Impressive Member
Joined
5 Jan 2015
Messages
2,133
Reaction score
405
Location
Sussex UK
No experience of PV but very good experience of hot water. Bought a large but leaky house about 15 years ago. first 2 years was filling oil tank 3 times a year. Professional quotes for solar panels were very expensive even with grants. After some research designed and bought the stuff to do it myself, but got a roofer to fix the 2 frames on the roof. It paid for itself in about 14 months. PM me if you want any detail.
Was this for space heating as well as DHW?
 

Rich C

Established Member
Joined
22 Aug 2019
Messages
458
Reaction score
87
Location
Manchester
My parents have PV panels without a FIT, they pay for all their electricity and gas with a slight surplus. Worth it given the cost of purchase? I'm not sure.
 

Lorenzl

Established Member
Joined
20 Feb 2022
Messages
139
Reaction score
82
Location
Cambourne
I am a septic and a guy I work with say's he get's about 60% of the energy the salesman told him. I think if you live somewhere very sunny it is worth it.

I went to a council sponsored meeting about thirty years ago and the salesman said you would get payback in about 15 years. In the question and answer session I asked what was the lifetime of the solar panels and he said 15 years!

I used to work in lab that dose research on solar panels and at the time the very best efficiency was 20% ( in the lab under a lamp ). I can't remember the full details but they were developing panels with a new material which was toxic* but the government were going to let them proceed. I asked what would happen to the panels when they reached end of life and was told they would be recycled in dedicated recycling centres. I can see that being a mess with nobody wanting to take responsibility or pay for it. But hay why worry about that now it will be somebody else problem.

*However, the commercialization of PSCs has raised some concerns about their safety, as PSCs contain methylammonium lead iodide (CH3NH3PbI3, MAPbI3). Pb is a well-known toxicant, and its toxicity varies from genotoxic and carcinogenic to nephrotoxic, neurotoxic, immunotoxic, and reproductive toxic
 

Sideways

Established Member
Joined
26 Dec 2017
Messages
1,914
Reaction score
692
Location
United Kingdom
I'm planning an installation to go in before the summer.
I'm retired and see this as a lifetime buy so I don't have to spend time on it ever again.
As we have a decent sized SE facing roof and I will pair it up with storage batteries, I expect to be self sufficient for electricity 9 months of the year, with surplus to spare to charge a car and / or contribute to the hot water for 6 months.
It's expensive and a big investment for me.
It will take at least 10 yrs to break even, but the panels are guaranteed for 25 yrs and the batteries should do better than the 10 years life that is assumed in the financials.
In your situation, I wouldn't,, but think where you can you put the money that will make enough of a return to keep pace with energy costs ?
In mine, I don't see it as a great investment so much as buying insurance against prices going silly in future, and it has to be now or we won't live long enough to get the benefit of it :)

And like everyone, I'd like to do what I can to be "green". I'm not entirely sure that this is because the whole life calculations of what goes into making the parts, installing them and cleaning up afterwards are too complicated for me to figure out with any confidence. At least I'll take a lot of my load off the grid which is going to get hammered as electric vehicle numbers grow.
 
Last edited:

GrahamF

Established Member
Joined
11 May 2015
Messages
749
Reaction score
51
Location
Abergele and Portugal
...........
I used to work in lab that dose research on solar panels and at the time the very best efficiency was 20% ( in the lab under a lamp ).

Efficiency has drastically improved over the years. We live aboard a sailing boat for around half the year and solar provides all our needs, with 320w of panels occasionally outputting >300w in Algarve/Med sun. More often though we see mid 200's as boat swings around on anchor so panels not always in best position.

I did the sums a couple of years ago for home installation but at 75 now, highly unlikely to live long enough to make it worthwhile. For younger folks and possible permanent higher power costs, may well be cost effective.
 

D_W

Established Member
Joined
24 Aug 2015
Messages
9,517
Reaction score
1,913
Location
PA, US
if you're able to put them in yourself and hire an electrician for the critical electrical bits and the grid tie in, they would be an enormous money saver. Where I live, you're not allowed to do that, at least not stating that you're doing that.

The installation and financial packaging groups touting panels triple the cost from a self install and prefer to tie you in to a financial arrangement so that they can sell your debt and cash flow pattern on the secondary market (they keep a spread - as in, they foot the bill for the panel setup, and then sell your agreed payment pattern to bondholders and then the difference between those two is their profit).

You can pay cash for install here, too, but the mark up is enormous, same as the bond packaging (the virtue of the bond packaging is that someone who can't afford panels can sign in to the lease agreement and guarantees).

Typical price here for a freestanding grid of smart panels and grid tie in by electrician is about 1k per KW and may be less now. Nobody likes freestanding because it's ugly, but the mennonites and such who are a little less prissy have installed a lot of arrays like that on farms. Their payback will be fast. The lease agreements are about even with regular grid power, but have escalators in them to make the initial rate more competitive and probably over the time will be about the same or slightly better.

FIL's neighbor has a monthly rate that's flat now, guaranteed output from panels that if the panels don't make the guarantee, the bondholder has to purchase the power to make up for it, and the escalator is 3% per year. Power rates have not gone up that fast in recent history, but if they go up faster in the future, then the panel buyer wins.
 

D_W

Established Member
Joined
24 Aug 2015
Messages
9,517
Reaction score
1,913
Location
PA, US
The installers here are pretty savvy with the margins as far as I can tell. They make the packages look about as attractive or slightly more attractive than regular grid power and they don't give much away as a benefit to the buyer.
 

RobinBHM

Established Member
Joined
17 Sep 2011
Messages
7,202
Reaction score
1,393
Location
Wst Sussex
No experience of PV but very good experience of hot water. Bought a large but leaky house about 15 years ago. first 2 years was filling oil tank 3 times a year. Professional quotes for solar panels were very expensive even with grants. After some research designed and bought the stuff to do it myself, but got a roofer to fix the 2 frames on the roof. It paid for itself in about 14 months. PM me if you want any detail.
That’s really interesting. I had kind of assumed solar electric was the way to go - it seems to be far more popular in the UK, but I guess that has something to do with the feed in tariff.

PM sent.
 

Lorenzl

Established Member
Joined
20 Feb 2022
Messages
139
Reaction score
82
Location
Cambourne
@Graham F I made a mistake in my post; the cells are only 20% efficient. So your 320W panel is based on cells that are only 20% efficient. If the cells were 60% efficient your panels would be rated at 960W
 

Jones

Established Member
Joined
5 Oct 2021
Messages
280
Reaction score
173
Location
Gwynedd
Solar PV payback is dependent on costs and feed in tariffs. The salesman will probably slightly exaggerate the benefits ,but there should still be some especially in the south. There's probably lots of other better ways to reduce bills which will also improve the EPC and so saleability and maybe price. Insulation of roof,walls and floors is obviously the big one, but solar hot water is worth looking at, the panels are about 70% efficient and should cut water heating costs by half over a year. Depending on your current plumbing setup the installation can be simple or much more complicated and expensive.
 

eribaMotters

Established Member
Joined
12 Feb 2010
Messages
584
Reaction score
251
Location
Formby, Merseyside
On a new build the "Tech route" idea is sound, but on an existing home it is not really worth it. I'm making these comments base upon the recent EPC done on the bungalow we are selling. I believe the installation costs quoted are a bit optimistic, but the results interested me:-
Complete Suspended Floor Insulation - £1,200 and save £86 a year.
Install Solar Water Heating - £6,000 and save £26 a year.
Install Solar Photovoltaic panels - £5,500 and save £309 a year.
These figures are on a 126m2 bungalow that we refurbed with new roof along with 400mm of loft insulation, 60mm outside wall insulation, [nothing in the cavity] 1/2 the property with underfloor insulation and new DG windows. Our combined gas & electric is on a deal till 2023 and we pay £89 a month.

Colin
 

Lorenzl

Established Member
Joined
20 Feb 2022
Messages
139
Reaction score
82
Location
Cambourne
Simplistically about 18 years to get back the cost of the Solar panels and 231 years for the water heating
 

Latest posts

Top