Who runs my solar panels?

Hi all,
Really hope someone can point me in the right direction. I recently moved into my house which has solar panels on the roof. I hadn't noticed them when we purchased the house but when I did I thought happy days. However I have no paperwork for who owns them, runs them or anything. I did find a business card in the loft of the company that installed them but looking them up they have gone out of business. Does anyone know a way I can find out about my panels. Truth is I don't know if they are working, have had maintenance or anything. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks for reading.
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  • What sort of solar panels; solar thermal (heats water) or solar PV (generates electricity)? How many are there? If only one or two they are probably thermal panels. If thermal, then they are part of the house and belong to you.
  • born_again
    born_again Posts: 13,575
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    Hi all,
    Really hope someone can point me in the right direction. I recently moved into my house which has solar panels on the roof. I hadn't noticed them when we purchased the house but when I did I thought happy days. However I have no paperwork for who owns them, runs them or anything. I did find a business card in the loft of the company that installed them but looking them up they have gone out of business. Does anyone know a way I can find out about my panels. Truth is I don't know if they are working, have had maintenance or anything. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks for reading.
    So no one looked at the roof, no survey done & solicitor totally missed them. 

    I wonder what other gems the seller failed to note...
    Life in the slow lane
  • What was the name of the company? 
  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,630
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    @wayneb1066 welcome to the forum.
    I recently moved into my house which has solar panels on the roof. I hadn't noticed them when we purchased the house but when I did I thought happy days. However I have no paperwork for who owns them, runs them or anything.
    This should all have been covered by the conveyancing paperwork. Have you spoken to your solicitor about this at all?
    The way solar panels function is quite straightforward. Sunlight shines on them and generates electricity. This is DC power and can be quite high voltage - up to 600V or so - and should be treated with respect. This DC power then goes to an inverter - a shoebox-sized box of electronics, most likely scewed to a wall somewhere. The inverter turns the DC power into AC power, at the same voltage and frequency as the mains electricity in your house and precisely synchronised with it.
    From the inverter, the solar AC normally passes through a generation meter - a second electricity meter, but one that's used solely to measure the electricity generated by your solar panels - and into a dedicated circuit in your fuse box. There should also be an isolation stitch to allow you to safely disconnect the solar panel system from the mains, in case you need to do maintenance work on it.
    Once it gets to your fuse box, the solar electricity can be used by your house (your lights, TV, washing machine etc.) . Any excess electricity that isn't used by you is then exported to the grid where it can be used by your neighbours.
    Export takes place through your electricity meter. If it's a smart meter it will have a separate register that records how much electricity you have exported, as well as the register(s) that record the electricity you have used fom the grid.
    Who owns them? Almost certainly, you do.
    A previous owner of your house may have bought them and paid for them to be installed. In this case, they're yours and you can do what you wish with them. Depending on how long ago the panels were installed, there's a fair chance that they are part of the Feed In Tariff (FIT) scheme. In this case, the panels' owner (you) will be entitled to payments from the government for all the electricity they generate. This could be more than a thousand pounds a year, for the next 10-15 years, depending on the size of your panels and when they were installed.
    Or, a previous owner might have signed up to a "rent a roof" scheme and had panels provided for free. In this case the panels might still belong to you, but there will be a company tht owns the right for them to be on your roof. This company will be receiving FIT payments from the government and will expect you to leave the panels in place until the end of the scheme.
    If the panels are covered by rent-a-roof, there should be an entry on your house deeds or at the Land Rgistry to show it. Your solicitior should have checked.
    Also, if the panels are yours and you should be receiving FIT payments, the seller should have completed the paperwork to transfer the FIT registration from them to you.
    I've written a lot. Does it help and do you have any questions?
    marcia_ said:
     How did you manage to buy a house without this coming up! 
    Well, quite.
    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.
    Ofgem cap table, Ofgem cap explainer. Economy 7 cap explainer. Gas vs E7 vs peak elec heating costs.
  • QrizB said:
    @wayneb1066 welcome to the forum.
    I recently moved into my house which has solar panels on the roof. I hadn't noticed them when we purchased the house but when I did I thought happy days. However I have no paperwork for who owns them, runs them or anything.

    Who owns them? Almost certainly, you do.

    Really? there were many rent a roof installs with the FIT payments going to the supplier so it is far from certain

    Also, if the panels are yours and you should be receiving FIT payments, the seller should have completed the paperwork to transfer the FIT registration from them to you.
    I've written a lot. Does it help and do you have any questions?
    marcia_ said:
     How did you manage to buy a house without this coming up! 
    Well, quite.
    Had the transfer of the FIT payments taken place the OP would have received some paperwork on this.
  • paul991
    paul991 Posts: 348
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    roughly  where in uk are you im sure theres  someone  locally who
      could give you a look and at least tell you if they  are  working and maybe point you in right direction. 
  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,630
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    QrizB said:
    Who owns them? Almost certainly, you do..
    Really? there were many rent a roof installs with the FIT payments going to the supplier so it is far from certain

    Had the transfer of the FIT payments taken place the OP would have received some paperwork on this.
    Yes, really. Even  if they are under a rent-a-roof scheme.
    When the OP purchased their property, unless explicitly stated otherwise they purchased everything attached to it. Including the solar panels.
    This, of course might mean that the previous owner is in breach of his rent-a-roof contact and needs to settle it with the company that owns the FIT. But it's not an immediate problem for the OP unless the seller.
    Owning the panels is not the same thing as owning the FIT.

    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.
    Ofgem cap table, Ofgem cap explainer. Economy 7 cap explainer. Gas vs E7 vs peak elec heating costs.
  • My money is on it being solar thermal. How would you otherwise not notice the house has got a reasonable size PV array on it?

    Or do people just buy houses unseen, these days?

    I feel very old.
  • Reed_Richards
    Reed_Richards Posts: 3,982
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    edited 24 September 2023 at 6:03AM
    My near-neighbours bought their house during one of the Covid lockdowns without actually visiting it.
    Reed
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