Advent-ures in the MSE Forum... Our Advent calendar is live, helping you discover a new corner of the community each day. Visit the homepage and scroll down

House Purchase with Solar Panels

Hi,
My husband and I are in the middle of purchasing a house with a number of solar panels on the roof. However, the seller hasn't been able to provide any paperwork for the panels and we've been advised by our solicitor that it could cause problems with our lender if no paperwork is able to be produced.
The vendors solicitor has said that the vendor is having problems getting a hold of paperwork due to the company that installed them going in to liquidation. All I know is that there is no lease on them and they are owned by the vendor and are included in the sale.
Oddly they also weren't included in the houses EPC, in fact it was mentioned that they would be a benefit to the property yet the estate agents brochure states they are producing electricity which heats the hot water. The Home Report (we're in Scotland) only mentioned them briefly in reference to the assumption that the roof had been checked to make sure it could cope with the weight of them but again didn't make any reference to them providing electricity for the house.
Does this sound like it's all going to go horribly wrong or could it just be the vendors incompetent solicitor and estate agent (they're from the same place and were pretty awful during negotiations) or should we be worried?

Replies

  • Merlin139Merlin139 Forumite
    6.3K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    Forumite
    Do you have any pictures of the panels. Do you know how many panels are on the roof? Are they flat or are they lines of tubes?

    If they are Solar PV then the owner should have a MCS Installation Certificate. It will say who installed them and when. This would have been needed to claim the FIT. Not sure if a replacement MSC instal cert can be obtained

    Can the seller tell you if they are paid a sum of money every 3 months for submitting a reading from a generation meter to an electricity company.

    Have you been in the loft/attic to see if there is something called an inverter that the panels are connected to?
    3.975 kWp PV SolarEdge System Facing 200 Degrees 10% Shading Installed 21 May 2014 Located in Mid East Yorkshire.
  • ChangingChanging Forumite
    17 Posts
    They don't have the installation certificate which is a main part of the problem. We have no idea if they're getting anything back for them and we can't get access to the loft.
    Our main concern isn't the production of electricity but the structural element of the panels which I'm guessing would be part of the certificate? Is there a governing body who produce the installation certificate? If so I would of thought they would have to keep details on file.
    As you can tell I am very new to solar panels. It's all just sounding a little odd to me at the moment. A lack of paperwork and no mention of them on the EPC makes it all seem a little suspicious.
  • Merlin139Merlin139 Forumite
    6.3K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    Forumite
    The MSC Cert will say nothing about the structure of the roof.

    Installer details, Site details, Generation meter details, Installation details date and capacity, product details.

    Depending on how long they have been on the roof they could be getting around 50p per KW produced if they have been there for around 6 years or more. Might be a ploy to keep the FIT payment.

    If they cannot provide any paperwork then all your likely to get is some free electricity. depending on the size of the system could be a few hundred pounds a year.

    No paperwork then I would say that you will buy the house if they remove the panels. They will not want to do that if it is a ploy to keep the FIT.
    3.975 kWp PV SolarEdge System Facing 200 Degrees 10% Shading Installed 21 May 2014 Located in Mid East Yorkshire.
  • ChangingChanging Forumite
    17 Posts
    My research has found that when selling a house with solar panels they need to have met building regulations, had the electrics certified to meet compliance and the MSC Cert should confirm that the installer complied with regulations. To be honest if it just comes down to the FiT payments and everything else is in place then we would be able to work it out. However, the seller of the house would have no say over the content of the EPC or the home report so I'm finding it really strange that they're not mentioned anywhere. Our solicitor is on it all, we're just starting to worry that there may be a bigger problem.
  • Merlin139Merlin139 Forumite
    6.3K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    Forumite
    I have just looked at my paperwork and I have a Building Regulations Certificate of Compliance provided by the installer which on the MCS Certificate says under Building Regulations Notification. After the installation through a self certification Competent Persons Scheme (CPS)

    I think this refers to the electrical side of things. The back of the Certificate of Compliance says it complies with Regulations 4 and 7 of the Building Regulations 2010.
    3.975 kWp PV SolarEdge System Facing 200 Degrees 10% Shading Installed 21 May 2014 Located in Mid East Yorkshire.
  • ChangingChanging Forumite
    17 Posts
    Merlin139 wrote: »
    I have just looked at my paperwork and I have a Building Regulations Certificate of Compliance provided by the installer which on the MCS Certificate says under Building Regulations Notification. After the installation through a self certification Competent Persons Scheme (CPS)

    I think this refers to the electrical side of things. The back of the Certificate of Compliance says it complies with Regulations 4 and 7 of the Building Regulations 2010.


    Thanks, I had a feeling it would be something like that. I'm hoping if there are any problems a survey will keep the bank happy. The electrics need tided up in general anyway so it would be interesting to see what came of that.

    I've left it in the hands of the solicitors now so we'll see what happens. It turns out our title deeds are on the old Sasine register as well so it looks like we've got some fun legal times ahead.
  • SystemSystem Forumite, Community Admin
    177.9K Posts
    10,000 Posts Photogenic Name Dropper
    Community Admin
    I am going through this with my buyer’s solicitor. They just roll out a standard set of questions from The Law Society. Most PV solar installations are permitted developments which do not require planning permission. Similarly, installers can self certify their work. Like other posters, I have certificates relating to electrical safety but not Buildings Regulation Approval.

    Roof loads have to be calculated in accordance with this document (see page 71):

    http://bpva.org.uk/media/38266/new-guide-to-installlation-of-pv-systems-mcs_20130530161524.pdf

    I also pointed out that any concerns about roof damage through loading should have been identified during the buyer’s survey: noting that last Winter we have had the most prolonged period of heavy snow in 30 years! The panels have been up for seven years.

    There were further questions on ownership. Before FIT payments are approved, both the MCS Certificate and proof of ownership have to be supplied. I was able to provide proof that FIT payments of c.£1000 per year are being made along with an example of a FIT transfer form.
This discussion has been closed.
Latest MSE News and Guides

Is your local HSBC closing?

114 branches to shut in 2023

MSE News

Advent Competitions

The countdown is on

MSE Forum

Baileys £10 for 1L at Tesco

When you scan your Clubcard

MSE Deals