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  • FIRST POST
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 4th Jul 18, 6:03 PM
    • 6,138Posts
    • 3,927Thanks
    Hengus
    Does domestic solar make financial sense?
    • #1
    • 4th Jul 18, 6:03 PM
    Does domestic solar make financial sense? 4th Jul 18 at 6:03 PM
    I have just sold my home with a 2.12kWp array that generates an annual income/savings of c.£1000 a year. Despite getting a raft of (often daft) questions from the buyer’s solicitor, I am convinced that the income/savings from my array was a factor in my sale.

    I am now struggling with the advantages/disadvantages of getting PV solar installed at our new home. There is an unobscured roof space for a 4kWp array but, even with an install cost at the lower end of the range, I cannot seem to make the sums add up given the falling level of FIT payments. I guess that I am not alone in thinking that, until battery storage becomes more affordable, solar PV is a life choice rather than a sensible financial decision. I don’t really want to get quotes unless I am minded to take the installation forward. Am I missing something?
Page 1
    • Crowmann
    • By Crowmann 4th Jul 18, 7:06 PM
    • 103 Posts
    • 401 Thanks
    Crowmann
    • #2
    • 4th Jul 18, 7:06 PM
    • #2
    • 4th Jul 18, 7:06 PM
    Hole in one.

    Your old house was to me and most others highly attractive with its £1k contribution from PV.

    Doing the same now - not a chance.
    16 265w panels South facing, 45 degrees, West Norfolk.
    • hollie.weimeraner
    • By hollie.weimeraner 4th Jul 18, 7:54 PM
    • 1,620 Posts
    • 1,111 Thanks
    hollie.weimeraner
    • #3
    • 4th Jul 18, 7:54 PM
    • #3
    • 4th Jul 18, 7:54 PM
    My installer came round to sort my inverter issue out yesterday. I paid £5,600 for my system 3 years ago. He reckons the same system now would be between £3,500 and £4,500 at todays prices. Not sure how long it would take you to recover that.

    I am just over 1/2 way to recover my costs in 3 years.
    3.975 KW Solar PV. 15 Canadian Black 265w panels with Sunny Boy 3600tl Inverter. SSE facing with 30 degree pitch. In occasionally sunny Sheffield.
    Toyota Auris Hybrid Tourer
    Toyota Yaris Hybrid
    • Martyn1981
    • By Martyn1981 5th Jul 18, 6:37 AM
    • 7,438 Posts
    • 11,917 Thanks
    Martyn1981
    • #4
    • 5th Jul 18, 6:37 AM
    • #4
    • 5th Jul 18, 6:37 AM
    I have just sold my home with a 2.12kWp array that generates an annual income/savings of c.£1000 a year. Despite getting a raft of (often daft) questions from the buyer’s solicitor, I am convinced that the income/savings from my array was a factor in my sale.

    I am now struggling with the advantages/disadvantages of getting PV solar installed at our new home. There is an unobscured roof space for a 4kWp array but, even with an install cost at the lower end of the range, I cannot seem to make the sums add up given the falling level of FIT payments. I guess that I am not alone in thinking that, until battery storage becomes more affordable, solar PV is a life choice rather than a sensible financial decision. I don’t really want to get quotes unless I am minded to take the installation forward. Am I missing something?
    Originally posted by Hengus
    Cheap batts would help, but far more important today is the install cost.

    The government's gutting of solar and wind on the supply side, and over-reaction to demand side has damaged the whole supply chain - less installs = higher costs than we would otherwise be seeing.

    Then add on the damage from the MIP, with panels in the EU about 30% higher than elsewhere. With panels representing about 30% of the install cost, that adds ~10% to the overall cost.

    In a country like Australia where PV is well supported, they are seeing install costs of approx £3k for a 5kWp system. Even at UK generation rates, I'd suggest that would be a no-brainer.
    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.
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 5th Jul 18, 8:12 AM
    • 6,138 Posts
    • 3,927 Thanks
    Hengus
    • #5
    • 5th Jul 18, 8:12 AM
    • #5
    • 5th Jul 18, 8:12 AM

    they are seeing install costs of approx £3k for a 5kWp system. Even at UK generation rates, I'd suggest that would be a no-brainer.
    Originally posted by Martyn1981
    Therein lies the problem....
    • Zarch
    • By Zarch 5th Jul 18, 9:06 AM
    • 65 Posts
    • 68 Thanks
    Zarch
    • #6
    • 5th Jul 18, 9:06 AM
    • #6
    • 5th Jul 18, 9:06 AM
    My installer came round to sort my inverter issue out yesterday. I paid £5,600 for my system 3 years ago. He reckons the same system now would be between £3,500 and £4,500 at todays prices. Not sure how long it would take you to recover that.

    I am just over 1/2 way to recover my costs in 3 years.
    Originally posted by hollie.weimeraner
    At current 3.9p generation and 5.2p export tariffs you would get around £2800 on FIT payments on a 4kWp system in 10 years.

    Then if you could save £15/month in energy that should get you over £2000 on top.

    All figures from my hooky spreadsheet and inflation linked

    My figures seem to match the installer maths pretty well, but I don't always agree with their inflated inflation(?) and high home use estimates.

    So whilst system installs from a few years ago look to cover their costs in say 6 or 7 years..... that figure appears to be more like 9 or 10 now?

    Is that a fair assumption?

    But surely you install solar knowing you're playing the long game, so its years 7,8,9,10 and onwards were you really reap the reward right?
    • NigeWick
    • By NigeWick 5th Jul 18, 9:26 AM
    • 2,911 Posts
    • 1,219 Thanks
    NigeWick
    • #7
    • 5th Jul 18, 9:26 AM
    • #7
    • 5th Jul 18, 9:26 AM
    I think solar is a lifestyle choice for those of us who can afford to be early adopters at present. I can also a battery to go with it, and, an EV to help use up the solar produced.

    It looks as though solar and battery will be a viable option for most in just a few years. If HMGov backed renewables instead of fossil & nuclear generation it would be a lot sooner.
    The mind of the bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes
    • Zarch
    • By Zarch 5th Jul 18, 9:38 AM
    • 65 Posts
    • 68 Thanks
    Zarch
    • #8
    • 5th Jul 18, 9:38 AM
    • #8
    • 5th Jul 18, 9:38 AM
    The obvious question then remains, if you can still get £250/year back now on current FIT tariffs on a 4kWh system, where is incentive to install once the FIT disappear next year?

    You'd be lucky to get your money back over 20 years just from energy saved.

    Will there be FIT v2? What could it look like?

    If the govt do change to a different model could previous installs jump to the new pricing model if its a better deal?

    ie, take the panels off, have them installed again under the new terms?
    Last edited by Zarch; 05-07-2018 at 9:40 AM.
    • Hengus
    • By Hengus 5th Jul 18, 9:56 AM
    • 6,138 Posts
    • 3,927 Thanks
    Hengus
    • #9
    • 5th Jul 18, 9:56 AM
    • #9
    • 5th Jul 18, 9:56 AM

    But surely you install solar knowing you're playing the long game, so its years 7,8,9,10 and onwards were you really reap the reward right?
    Originally posted by Zarch
    As a senior, the breakeven point is a factor..........
    • Martyn1981
    • By Martyn1981 5th Jul 18, 10:59 AM
    • 7,438 Posts
    • 11,917 Thanks
    Martyn1981
    The obvious question then remains, if you can still get £250/year back now on current FIT tariffs on a 4kWh system, where is incentive to install once the FIT disappear next year?

    You'd be lucky to get your money back over 20 years just from energy saved.
    Originally posted by Zarch
    Yep, there's the rub. Part of the problem is that leccy prices (wholesale and retail) are too low, as they don't reflect many costs, such as all AGW, health impacts, older nuclear decommissioning, the 'cheap' price current nuclear was sold off at, and so on.

    This has a double whammy on prosumers (producer/consumers) as savings against import would be greater, and the export value would be higher. Instead, come Apr, new installs won't get any FiT nor export.

    Will there be FIT v2? What could it look like?
    Originally posted by Zarch
    Let's hope so. A model wrapped up with storage would be nice.

    There was a recent article in the Guardian about the end of FiT, and one commentator proudly pointed out that this was a good thing as the subsidy on HPC would only be 5-6p/kWh. I pointed out that the FiT subsidy is only 4p/kWh. And that PV has been supported for 8yrs, v's the 60yrs that nuclear has been subsidised.

    I don't think folk realise how little support the RE industry needs now, but also how important that 'little' help still is.

    In a world that is starting to shift from large scale centralised generation, to a smaller and more distributed form of generation, you'd think the UK government would get on board.

    PS The FiT @4p on 100,000 new domestic installs each year generating 4,000kWhs, would be £16m pa, v's the £1.3bn pa for HPC. So if PV is a tad cheaper already, and the subsidy element is 'trivial' compared to the nuclear allocation(s), then why not?
    Last edited by Martyn1981; 05-07-2018 at 11:02 AM.
    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.
    • hollie.weimeraner
    • By hollie.weimeraner 5th Jul 18, 11:25 AM
    • 1,620 Posts
    • 1,111 Thanks
    hollie.weimeraner
    At current 3.9p generation and 5.2p export tariffs you would get around £2800 on FIT payments on a 4kWp system in 10 years.

    Then if you could save £15/month in energy that should get you over £2000 on top.

    All figures from my hooky spreadsheet and inflation linked

    My figures seem to match the installer maths pretty well, but I don't always agree with their inflated inflation(?) and high home use estimates.

    So whilst system installs from a few years ago look to cover their costs in say 6 or 7 years..... that figure appears to be more like 9 or 10 now?

    Is that a fair assumption?

    But surely you install solar knowing you're playing the long game, so its years 7,8,9,10 and onwards were you really reap the reward right?
    Originally posted by Zarch
    I would agree with that. My installer has been pretty accurate with his projections although probably optimistic with savings. When I connected I was saving £20 per month on my electric which will have increased now but that was summer months. Over 12 months probably nearer £15 but again higher now due to increased prices.
    3.975 KW Solar PV. 15 Canadian Black 265w panels with Sunny Boy 3600tl Inverter. SSE facing with 30 degree pitch. In occasionally sunny Sheffield.
    Toyota Auris Hybrid Tourer
    Toyota Yaris Hybrid
    • pinnks
    • By pinnks 5th Jul 18, 8:14 PM
    • 626 Posts
    • 1,380 Thanks
    pinnks
    I have been recording all sorts of data from the outset in June 2013 so have about 5 years worth. My 3.5kWp system was installed in 2013 and the smaller system in March 2014, so not quite 5 years of data on the total spend but close.

    I save about £200 on import each year (accurate data for 3 years and pretty good estimates for the first two). I have diverted at about £150 per year (immersion, UFH and oil radiators) and earned FiTs of about £750 per year on average (currently on 17p and 15p for the two systems).

    All together I invested, with the two diverters, just over £11k and have recovered almost exactly 50% in 5 years (for one system) and 4 1/4 years (for the other system).

    Add future inflation into the mix and I should break even at around the 9-year point. This is actually a little longer than the installer's projections even though their annual generation estimates were a little on the low side. Must mean their (hyper)inflation estimates and own usage estimates were too high.

    But that said we have drastically reduced consumption over the same period too with new A+++ appliances, LED lighting and so on, so perhaps a little harsh to criticise their usage estimate. For instance, our old fridge-freezers (all three) drank a whopping £210 of leccy per year. The new Fridge and two freezers (same overall capacity) take only about £50 of the stuff, and so 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
    • Coastalwatch
    • By Coastalwatch 6th Jul 18, 12:33 AM
    • 201 Posts
    • 748 Thanks
    Coastalwatch
    I have just sold my home with a 2.12kWp array that generates an annual income/savings of c.£1000 a year. Despite getting a raft of (often daft) questions from the buyer’s solicitor, I am convinced that the income/savings from my array was a factor in my sale.

    I am now struggling with the advantages/disadvantages of getting PV solar installed at our new home. There is an unobscured roof space for a 4kWp array but, even with an install cost at the lower end of the range, I cannot seem to make the sums add up given the falling level of FIT payments. I guess that I am not alone in thinking that, until battery storage becomes more affordable, solar PV is a life choice rather than a sensible financial decision. I don’t really want to get quotes unless I am minded to take the installation forward. Am I missing something?
    Originally posted by Hengus

    As someone who has only just had a PV array installed on the basis of my own figures that don't take any inflation into account it will take 14 years before breakeven is achieved. At 68 I'm naturally optimistic that I'll see this realised but even if I/we don't, our children will. They will also benefit from clean energy and the reduction in pollution that comes with it.

    Strangely, I arrived at installing a PV array because of the need to replace our ageing diesel, as opposed to having it installed purely as a stand alone investment.
    Our eleven year old diesel is to be replaced next week with an EV. It's pollution free when charged from the sun, has zero road tax and with only 5% VAT paid on fuel when charging from the grid will returns saving of approximately £900 annually(not counting possible lower service charges too).
    We are in the enviable position of being retired so the EV will sit on our drive in the daytime when there is plenty of surplus solar energy to charge it with. I appreciate that others who need their vehicles for work etc are not so fortunate.

    Home storage is not financially viable but may become so in the future which may return some small savings then.

    Sadly, history will show how much our generation polluted the Earth. I'm just hoping that by engaging with renewable energy we can show one way forward to a slightly cleaner future for our grandchildren.
    East coast, lat 51.97. 8.26kw SSE, 23° pitch + 0.59kw WSW vertical. Nissan Leaf plus one dirty diesel. Still waiting for V2H and home storage to become available at sensible cost.
    • Zarch
    • By Zarch 9th Jul 18, 8:52 AM
    • 65 Posts
    • 68 Thanks
    Zarch
    After pouring over the FIT figures, inflation indicators and tons of other data on my own spreadsheets I've come to the conclusion that the amount of energy you use (of what you generate) is the real key to driving down the numbers of years you need to pay the system off.

    The current (right now) generation figure of 5p and export of 4p are nothing to write home about but they are set and assuming a set inflation you can be sure of these.

    So for every 1kWh of system installed you can get back £750 over the next 10 years assuming inflation of 3%.

    1kWh: £750
    2kWh: £1500
    3kWh: £2250
    4kWh: £3000
    5kWh: £3750

    Onto using that generated energy......

    Can you say £8 per month from your current electricity bill? With yearly energy rises of 5% that will save you £1200 over the 10 years.

    £8/month: £1200
    £16/month: £2400
    £24/month: £3600
    £48/month: £4800

    Obviously there are other costs and additions not fully mentioned. Inverter replacement (maybe 10 years). Gradual decrease of system efficiency over time etc.

    So for me, if I went 4 kWh system (£3000 if FIT) and I could save £16/month (£2400 saving) that would be £5400 over 10 years.

    And from current quotes, £5000/£5500 seems about right for a 4kWh system (1.25 per kWh).

    But obviously, if I can save more, say £24/month, then i'd get back £6600 back over 10 years, so will have paid the system back more like 8 years.

    Obviously, with FIT guaranteed for 20 years once you've paid the system off, whether its in 8 years or 10 years, you are still going to get at least 10 years of pure profit out of an install.

    Saving £16/month on a 4kWh system you could be looking at as much as £13,000 back in total over 20 years. Based on FIT and savings.

    Again, increase your savings to £24/month and its over £16,000.

    Does all that make sense?
    • zeupater
    • By zeupater 9th Jul 18, 1:16 PM
    • 4,303 Posts
    • 5,721 Thanks
    zeupater
    After pouring over the FIT figures, inflation indicators and tons of other data on my own spreadsheets I've come to the conclusion that the amount of energy you use (of what you generate) is the real key to driving down the numbers of years you need to pay the system off.

    The current (right now) generation figure of 5p and export of 4p are nothing to write home about but they are set and assuming a set inflation you can be sure of these.

    So for every 1kWh of system installed you can get back £750 over the next 10 years assuming inflation of 3%.

    1kWh: £750
    2kWh: £1500
    3kWh: £2250
    4kWh: £3000
    5kWh: £3750

    Onto using that generated energy......

    Can you say £8 per month from your current electricity bill? With yearly energy rises of 5% that will save you £1200 over the 10 years.

    £8/month: £1200
    £16/month: £2400
    £24/month: £3600
    £48/month: £4800

    Obviously there are other costs and additions not fully mentioned. Inverter replacement (maybe 10 years). Gradual decrease of system efficiency over time etc.

    So for me, if I went 4 kWh system (£3000 if FIT) and I could save £16/month (£2400 saving) that would be £5400 over 10 years.

    And from current quotes, £5000/£5500 seems about right for a 4kWh system (1.25 per kWh).

    But obviously, if I can save more, say £24/month, then i'd get back £6600 back over 10 years, so will have paid the system back more like 8 years.

    Obviously, with FIT guaranteed for 20 years once you've paid the system off, whether its in 8 years or 10 years, you are still going to get at least 10 years of pure profit out of an install.

    Saving £16/month on a 4kWh system you could be looking at as much as £13,000 back in total over 20 years. Based on FIT and savings.

    Again, increase your savings to £24/month and its over £16,000.

    Does all that make sense?
    Originally posted by Zarch
    Hi

    ... but it would it be possible for you to reduce your energy cost by £48/month with a 4kWp system? ....

    We don't have proportional diversion and our 4kWp setup saved somewhere around £120 in an average year, so around £10/month and that seems to be pretty typical ...

    Anyway, £48/month represents £576/year, possibly representing >20%-30% more than what most would expect to generate in a year, but it doesn't stop there .... the majority of annual generation would be at this time of year so the question posed is whether you're currently consuming well over 20kWh/day during daylight hours alone? - if not then there's a strong chance that a large proportion of generation would be exported, reducing the saving ... but if you are using that kind of level of energy/power you should really be looking at improving efficiency measures before solar!

    HTH
    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    • Zarch
    • By Zarch 9th Jul 18, 1:35 PM
    • 65 Posts
    • 68 Thanks
    Zarch
    Hi

    ... but it would it be possible for you to reduce your energy cost by £48/month with a 4kWp system? ....

    We don't have proportional diversion and our 4kWp setup saved somewhere around £120 in an average year, so around £10/month and that seems to be pretty typical ...

    Anyway, £48/month represents £576/year, possibly representing >20%-30% more than what most would expect to generate in a year, but it doesn't stop there .... the majority of annual generation would be at this time of year so the question posed is whether you're currently consuming well over 20kWh/day during daylight hours alone? - if not then there's a strong chance that a large proportion of generation would be exported, reducing the saving ... but if you are using that kind of level of energy/power you should really be looking at improving efficiency measures before solar!

    HTH
    Z
    Originally posted by zeupater
    Yep totally agree. Our electricity bills are currently only £40/month (3600 per year usage), so no chance of saving some of the figures I listed.

    Figures were just for illustration and you make excellent points that stress that you need to tailor any calculations personal to your own setup and usage patterns.

    One question/situation for the floor that I find interesting.

    If the install of 5kWh system costs £1000 more than a 4kWh system, you'll get £750 back in FIT over the first 10 years, so 3/4 of the extra costs are covered. But will that extra 1kWh throughout the year, especially through the winter/non summer months allow you to increase your overall percentage usage of generated energy?

    Obviously the extra generated might be wasted during the summer, but crucially could having a higher generation ceiling during the winter mean you'd have more to use when you need it?

    If that makes sense?
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