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Official MSE Free Solar Panel guide discussion

edited 27 August 2013 at 1:32PM in Energy
200 replies 87K views
edited 27 August 2013 at 1:32PM in Energy
Hi all,

We've written a new guide on Solar Panels to help if you're thinking of installing a solar panel system, and it'd be great to get MoneySavers' feedback.

Please do share your experiences, any extra tips to help others and useful resources you've found along the way, as well as any points you'd add to the guide. Just click 'reply' to post.

If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply. If you aren’t sure how it all works, read our New to Forum? Intro Guide.

Thanks for your help,

MSE Marcel
«13456720

Replies

  • rustygrustyg Forumite
    331 posts
    We had our solar panels fitted last year by a local installer from Wakefield, West Yorkshire. They are performing considerably better than predicted. Very friendly company - professional and informative but not pushy. PM me for further details.
  • Very good guide there. There are companies that offer solar panel installations on credit too. It makes paying for solar panels easier for those who don't have a few grand laying about in the bank! Much safer than going for those free solar offers where you lease out your roof.

    Feel free to message me if you would like more information on this offer :)
  • sweaty_bettysweaty_betty Forumite
    1.3K posts
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker Xmas Saver!
    ✭✭✭
    I have a stupid question I'm hoping someone can answer.

    How does it work? I've seen solar panels attached to rooftops, but how do they connect into your electricity supply? Do you have some contraption in the loft?

    I'd really like to have them fitted in the future, but trying to get my head around how it all works.

    TIA
  • rogerblackrogerblack Forumite
    9.4K posts
    The £150 figure for savings seems to contradict the ESTs position.
    http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Generating-energy/Getting-money-back/Solar-Energy-Calculator

    Entering brighton, and a 4kW south-facing panel, and £500/month electricity use only gives £135/year.

    Referring later to the '£150ish' is misleading - it's always going to be lower than this, and in most cases very considerably lower.
    For example - if the electricity use in the above property was £30, it's more like half this.
    'around £100ish' - maybe.
  • rogerblackrogerblack Forumite
    9.4K posts
    I have a stupid question I'm hoping someone can answer.

    How does it work? I've seen solar panels attached to rooftops, but how do they connect into your electricity supply? Do you have some contraption in the loft?

    I'd really like to have them fitted in the future, but trying to get my head around how it all works.

    TIA

    There is usually a loaf-of-bread-sized box with the panels connected to it.
    This is then wired back to your fusebox, with the electricity going through a newly installed meter to measure how much is being generated.

    The generated electricity is paid for at about 16p/unit.
    There may be additional savings due to you being able to use the generated electricity directly - for free - without drawing power from the grid.

    Any power you do not use moment by moment gets fed into the grid.
  • I think people need to be very careful if they opt for the 'free' option where the panels are placed on the roof by a company who receives the majority of the payment. There are people in my area who cannot sell their properties because one or more of the companies involved have vanished.
  • rogerblackrogerblack Forumite
    9.4K posts
    I think people need to be very careful if they opt for the 'free' option where the panels are placed on the roof by a company who receives the majority of the payment. There are people in my area who cannot sell their properties because one or more of the companies involved have vanished.

    If the company involved has actually vanished - who is collecting the FIT?
  • We had our solar panels installed on the roof of our bungalow last year (would have been better if we had had a taller house, but we don't!), just before the drop in the FIT. Some were installed on our south facing roof and some on the west facing one (as not enough room to put them all on the south roof unfortunately). The west facing ones do considerably worse than the south ones except in late afternoon, so I would agree that they really need to be pretty much near south facing to make it worth it.

    We also didn't really appreciate the effect of trees, particularly in the winter when the sun is so low. Our output in winter is pretty diabolical, but we are still on course (hopefully!) to pay off the cost of the panels in about 10 years or so, which is what we budgeted for. We are pleased we had them, as we feel we are doing our bit to reduce carbon emissions, and interest rates are so low at least our money is doing something on the roof.

    We used a small local installer who we were happy with, though the output of the panels isn't anywhere near what they are marked as, so don't expect to get your full wattage of output, even at noon in full sun.

    As for energy saving - hmmm. We haven't noticed much difference in our energy bills to be honest. We try and put the dishwasher, washing machine etc on during the day when it is sunny, but you still use most of your electricity when it is dark and you need to get that from the grid...
  • rogerblack wrote: »
    If the company involved has actually vanished - who is collecting the FIT?

    I do not totally understand but it was reported in the local paper and it appears that more than one company is involved in the installation/supply process and while the FIT is clearly being paid there appears to be issues with tracing who is actually receiving it, due to the installation company going bust without leaving adequate records.
  • FroggittFroggitt Forumite
    5.9K posts
    The side of our house is south facing and shade free. Is it possible to have panels fitted to the side?
    illegitimi non carborundum
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