Solar Plants (Reposted from Energy)

Back in 2010 I had solar panels installed and, until last year, they were brilliant. Investment cost recovered by year five so everything from there on was money in the bank - or so I thought.

Last August the inverter failed. Repairing it was more expensive than replacing it so I got a new one with a five year guarantee.

At a show recently we saw a stand for Solar Plants, nothing to do with plants but with a different type of inverter which takes each panel in parallel rather than in series. That claims to improve output by 15 - 17% and means that if one panel goes faulty, the others keep working, plus it has a 20 year guarantee. It all sounds good except it would take another five years to recover the outlay.

My gut feeling is that I'm better off staying as I am - especially as I only renewed the inverter last year (5 year guarantee but they have offered a "buy back" discount on it).



  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
    12.5K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    I've recently upgraded mine, but it didn't cost 'too' much, and my inverters (now sold) were out of warranty. But crucially my system had a fair amount of shading.

    Do you suffer from a lot of shading, what size system and specs, how much do you generate, how does it compare to PVGIS (see section 5 of FAQ's link in my autosig).

    TBF you need decent improvement, perhaps 10%+, and a decent price.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • ASavvyBuyerASavvyBuyer Forumite
    1.7K Posts
    Fifth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    What make is the alternative inverter and how many panels do you have?

    Sounds like what they are proposing is a Solaredge Inverter with optimisers on each panel.

    We have that, and it works very well; especially good if you have any shading problems.
  • Goldwing1Goldwing1 Forumite
    161 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    Hopefully the following answers the questions.

    I have seven panels rated at 1.29KWp producing around 1200 units (HWh?) per annum which currently works out at around £620 per annum.

    Yes, the proposed inverter with optimisers. No problem with shading.

    I could just sit on my hands until the guarantee runs out (4 years time) and then make a decision assuming I don't move (No plans to).
  • pinnkspinnks Forumite
    840 Posts
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Posts Photogenic Rampant Recycler
    If you have no shading then it is difficult to see what a Solar Edge or similar approach would add (SMA and others now have similar offerings), other than allowing production to continue if and when a panel fails.

    There is of course an increased risk with SE-type installations that the additional kit on the roof could fail before panels start failing. To be honest though, both are probably reasonably low risk.

    So, I would probably stay with what you have.

    Indeed, I have shading issues and have considered upgrading but the additional production of perhaps 500 units per year or, for me, about £100 would just not warrant the cost.

    Annoying/frustrating? Sure, but sometimes it is simply better to suck up ones less than optimal decision and move on...
    Wiltshire - 5.25kWp
    3.5kWp: 14 x Phono Solar 250 Onyx, Sunny Boy 4000TL, WSW 40 degrees, June 2013
    1.75kWp: 7 x Phono Solar 250 Onyx, Sunny Boy 1600TL, SSE 45 degrees, March 2014
This discussion has been closed.
Latest MSE News and Guides

54 ways to ‘DIY it’

According to the MSE Forum

MSE Team Blog

£10 Christmas bonus

For benefits recipients

MSE News

Lidl '£10 off £40 spend' voucher

Via Metro or Daily Mail. Excludes NI

MSE Deals