Solar Panels - Yay or Nay?

Snookie12cat
Snookie12cat Posts: 785
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What are the cons I am not considering for solar and maybe some of the less obvious pros?

My Sept 2021 tariff has another 15 months to run and then I am in for a world of hurt, having just calculated my bills at todays prices. Got me seriously considering solar as I will be savings upward of £100 a month if I can generate enough electric and more again if I can hook my hot water tank up to it. 

Anyone have them and think its a good idea or similarily had them and regretted it?

Comments

  • ariarnia
    ariarnia Posts: 4,225
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    cons are if the system you have installed doesn't pay back because of the angle or size of your roof or how/when you use electric. the people on the other energy board can help with that question. 

    other cons are if the maintenance on the roof is a problem but again i think there are ways you can avoid some of those problems (like with bird netting). 

    we are planning on getting it but there was so much demand recently the prices have doubled locally for an install and the guy isnt available until summer anyway so we are going to wait for now. but we are also low use as a family and most of our energy is used in the evenings when the family is all together so we might take a long time to break even anyway.  
    Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you. Anne Lamott

    It's amazing how those with a can-do attitude and willingness to 'pitch in and work' get all the luck, isn't it?

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  • ariarnia said:
    cons are if the system you have installed doesn't pay back because of the angle or size of your roof or how/when you use electric. the people on the other energy board can help with that question. 

    other cons are if the maintenance on the roof is a problem but again i think there are ways you can avoid some of those problems (like with bird netting). 

    we are planning on getting it but there was so much demand recently the prices have doubled locally for an install and the guy isnt available until summer anyway so we are going to wait for now. but we are also low use as a family and most of our energy is used in the evenings when the family is all together so we might take a long time to break even anyway.  
    Thank you, we have a full sun roof at the right angle so getting sun should be fine.

    Maintenance could be a problem and not something I considered. We are also a low use family and was unsure if all the electric you need would be able to be offset, but I imagine after what you are saying its a use it as its generated kind of thing or lose it. Maybe we would need to factor a battery into the cost, but then it would take more than 3 year just to make that cost back....
  • Why are you expecting 3 year payback?
  • Alnat1
    Alnat1 Posts: 3,145
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    I don't think you'll find many (any?) who regret it.

    I suggest you do a lot of research, there's loads of info out there but be aware, a lot of it is out of date, especially with energy prices.

    The basics really, is your roof suitable for solar PV? Is it big enough, unshaded and facing the sun? E/W splits can work well if you've no south facing roof

    Lots of people are installing solar PV with battery storage now, you charge up the battery with "sunshine" in the day and use it in the evenings and overnight to run the house load. This also gives you options with TOU (time of use) tariffs to fill up the battery with cheaper overnight electricity from the grid, to use next day if you know there won't be much sun.

    Lots of solar questions and info over on the Green & Ethical Money Saving board, have a good read. It's best to have a good idea of what you want before you try and get quotes.
    Barnsley, South Yorkshire
    Solar PV 5.25kWp SW facing (14 x 375 Longi) Lux 3.6kw hybrid inverter and 4.8kw Pylontech battery storage installed March 22
    Octopus Agile/Fixed Outgoing and Tracker gas
  • Snookie12cat
    Snookie12cat Posts: 785
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    edited 29 December 2022 at 5:45PM
    Why are you expecting 3 year payback?
     I am not, simply saying the battery alone would take 3 years to get the money back, so the whole system could be in excess of 10years. Not 100% sure that is worth it to me, esp if I move.
  • ariarnia
    ariarnia Posts: 4,225
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    edited 18 November 2022 at 10:52AM
    ariarnia said:
    cons are if the system you have installed doesn't pay back because of the angle or size of your roof or how/when you use electric. the people on the other energy board can help with that question. 

    other cons are if the maintenance on the roof is a problem but again i think there are ways you can avoid some of those problems (like with bird netting). 

    we are planning on getting it but there was so much demand recently the prices have doubled locally for an install and the guy isnt available until summer anyway so we are going to wait for now. but we are also low use as a family and most of our energy is used in the evenings when the family is all together so we might take a long time to break even anyway.  
    Thank you, we have a full sun roof at the right angle so getting sun should be fine.

    Maintenance could be a problem and not something I considered. We are also a low use family and was unsure if all the electric you need would be able to be offset, but I imagine after what you are saying its a use it as its generated kind of thing or lose it. Maybe we would need to factor a battery into the cost, but then it would take more than 3 year just to make that cost back....
    we use about 1700kwh of electric a year. even at 45p a kw that's only about £750 a year.

    if we could replace ALL our electric with solar (which we wouldn't be able to) it would take 8ish years to pay back the system we were quoted for (only one quote to test the waters). 

    thats not thinking about feed in savings and a smaller system might work for our level of use or installing a heat pump (at extra cost) which might also cut into our gas use. or we could go with a more expensive system 

    like i said the only real downside is that the break even point might hit the replacement point but you need to think about your needs and situation and what you think is going to happen with the feed in systems or time of use. or if you can make other savings like heating or with an ev. lots of individual differences really change the numbers. 

    we will go for solar. but just not yet. there are other things we want to do with the house first and i think its the wrong time right now (for us in this market). 
    Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you. Anne Lamott

    It's amazing how those with a can-do attitude and willingness to 'pitch in and work' get all the luck, isn't it?

    Please consider buying some pet food and giving it to your local food bank collection or animal charity. Animals aren't to blame for the cost of living crisis.
  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,630
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    Solar mostly gets discussed on the "Greeen & Ethical" sub-forum:
    I will be savings upward of £100 a month if I can generate enough electric and more again if I can hook my hot water tank up to it.
    Unless you have an absolutely huge system installed, you'll still need to buy electricity from the grid for 3-6 months of the year (the dark cold ones). The rest of the year you'll often have more electricity than you can use.
    Maybe we would need to factor a battery into the cost, but then it would take more than 3 year just to make that cost back....
    Payback is typically 8-12 years. Currently electricity is so expensive that some people with cheap systems in a good location can pay back in 5 years, but you shouldn't rely on prices staying as high as they currently are until 2027/8.
    Once installed, a system should last for 20+ years with minimal maintenance. (Mine is over 10 years old now.)
    Solar PV is a good idea if you're in your forever home, or if you think you'll be selling to someone who will recognise its value.
    N. Hampshire, he/him. Octopus Go elec & Tracker gas / Shell BB / Lyca mobi. Ripple Kirk Hill member.
    2.72kWp PV facing SSW installed Jan 2012. 11 x 247w panels, 3.6kw inverter. 30MWh generated, long-term average 2.6 Os.
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  • QrizB said:
    Solar mostly gets discussed on the "Greeen & Ethical" sub-forum:
    I will be savings upward of £100 a month if I can generate enough electric and more again if I can hook my hot water tank up to it.
    Unless you have an absolutely huge system installed, you'll still need to buy electricity from the grid for 3-6 months of the year (the dark cold ones). The rest of the year you'll often have more electricity than you can use.
    Maybe we would need to factor a battery into the cost, but then it would take more than 3 year just to make that cost back....
    Payback is typically 8-12 years. Currently electricity is so expensive that some people with cheap systems in a good location can pay back in 5 years, but you shouldn't rely on prices staying as high as they currently are until 2027/8.
    Once installed, a system should last for 20+ years with minimal maintenance. (Mine is over 10 years old now.)
    Solar PV is a good idea if you're in your forever home, or if you think you'll be selling to someone who will recognise its value.
    Thank you. We just moved in and do not plan to move for a decade or much more hopefully so we would eventually make the cost back.

    You have given me some things to consider and I think we would 100% need a battery to save buying from the grid. 
  • NedS
    NedS Posts: 3,498
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    edited 18 November 2022 at 2:09PM
    We have a large south facing roof that is unshaded and perfect for solar. I priced up solar panels a couple years back, before the current crisis, and the numbers didn't work out for me. In the end I put the cash into an S&S ISA, and bought solar funds that are paying a 7% dividend yield, and seeing some capital appreciation. Compare that with solar panels that will sit on my roof, take 10 years to break even and be worth nothing in 25-30 years time, so capital depreciation.
    Part of the issues I saw were the hugely inefficient nature of solar panels. In the winter when I use most electricity, they are producing next to nothing so there is very little benefit. In the summer when they do produce a large output, I am unable to use most of it as it's largely generated between 10am-4pm, so I end up selling back to the grid at a fraction of the cost I then am buying electricity a few hours later. We need hot water to shower at 7am - we cannot wait until after 10am when the sun hits the panels (our water is on oil combi or electric shower). We can do things like put the washing machine on during a sunny day, but we cook our main meal (electric oven) in the evenings, although this could change on the weekends if it's sunny.
    Obviously battery storage would help, but that increases the price and increases the break even period. Plus, it's unclear how many months per year the batteries would be effective as 6 months plus (in winter) we are likely to be able to use anything we produce so the batteries will never get charged and sit idle - it is only over the summer where we may be able to charge the batteries during the day and utilise that power during darkness.
    In the meantime, my solar funds are paying out a steady dividend every 3 months which cover my electricity bills and I don't have an expensive depreciating asset sat on my roof. I love the idea of solar (and wind), but I just couldn't make the numbers work for me. Maybe that has changed with the current energy crisis, but it sounds like the cost of solar arrays has also increased so maybe not.
  • I have a 6.35kWp array and a 13.5kW battery. The break even point is now less than 8 years. I run my EV for free, and we heat our HW from solar and cheap Grid electricity. I have no idea how the maths work out today. I was fortunate to negotiate a very good deal during the first Covid lockdown period.

    The figures work out something like this: the array generates about 6000kWh/year of which 2200kWh/ year go to the Grid. We import c.1000kWh/year from November through to February.
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