solar or not

I know its not gardening But has anybody any first hand info of Solar panels,our bungalow is the perfect position for them but are they any good or not ,i know everybody has there own ideas on it but i dont actually know anybody to ask that has looked into it properly.iv been ages on the net and im no  wiser at all,if no one  has me and Kate are going Carroll singing early but only if they have panels on the roof .

imageHelp Please if poss  Alan4711


  • ColinAColinA Posts: 164

    Hello Alan4711

    We had 18 Solar panels fitted approx two years ago, our total monthly payment for duel fuel dropped from £105pm down to £69pm so yes I say they are a good investment. Needless to say we take all measures to help keep the bills down ie energy saver bulbs and not leaving lights on etc

    Hope this Helps



  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115
    Do you mean for hot water or to produce electricity?
  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    I believe the ones for electricity don't last very long. The ones for hot water do last.

  • Colin, we can only judge the value of your investment if you tell us how much they cost - everything included

  • If for producing Hot Water, I'd say it was well worth it in my experience.

    If for Electricity........look long and hard at your contract.  Unless you have some means of storing the electricity you produce, the unused power will be sold to the Grid for a lesser cost than you will have to pay to import the power you will use when your solars aren't producing.  It seems to be a bit of a minefield particularly when you take your initial investment into account. 

    If you are a high energy user, it may be worth your while but it isn't cost effective for everyone.  It also seems to be the thing that people are being led to believe that generating your own "electricity" is the answer to our prayers............very little is seriously promoted about helping people to actually cut their everyday power consumption.....that is what really matters IMOimage

  • ColinAColinA Posts: 164

    I was lucky to get onto one of the free schemes that were about a couple of years ago so the system cost me nothing and i get free electricity during the day for the use of the "airspace" on my roof. so the value to me is excellent

    The solar panels are made to last 25 years.

    Being retired we are not high energy users but still get a big reduction in our monthly bills.



  • MrsT 12MrsT 12 Posts: 77

    Hi Alan,

    We had solar panels installed on our SW facing roof 18 months ago at a cost of just under £6k (for 16 panels) We sell back to the grid at just under 18p and have seen some great quarterly returns. My prediction is that if the returns each quarter remain as they have been, we will make our initial investment back in approx 5 years. Having no plans to move this suits us fine.

    Our old electricity bills were £110 per month, so we were unfortunately high energy users due to  huge pumps and filter systems in our koi pond. Dependent on the season and light levels we now save anywhere between £50-£90 per month on our previous bills.

    We did not purchase a storage facility for the electric we produce at the time as they are still relatively new, and the prices extortionate. We will invest in one at some time in the future though. 

    I would never recommend solar panels to someone who does not have a high energy bill, it just wouldn't be financially sound. My mother only spends £35 per month on electric, and after getting the costings for installation etc, we decided she would be better leaving her money where it is.

    When I was looking into having panels, I found very little information available which was of any particular use. So I knocked on doors of people who had them installed locally, gaining as much advice and information as possible. Then I got a local company out to give a quote, within a week I had paid my deposit and booked an installation date. 

    I hope this information helps in some way to your decision as to invest in panels or not and if they are right for you. 

  • GardenmaidenGardenmaiden Posts: 1,095

    Solar panels are guaranteed to last 25 years, the inverter which turns DC in AC is guaranteed to last 10 years. We did ours under a govt scheme (14 panels) and sell back any unused power. We get about £1500 back but we got in early as I don't think the pay is as good as it used to be, but if you are a big electric user its worth doing. Make sure to get quotes from 3-5 companies as the installation could vary alot. We don't regret getting ours done.

  • Alan4711Alan4711 Posts: 1,569

    Hi all,thank you very much for all your help,and Mrst12 that was very interesting,iv looked at the future forecasts for gas prices and they are just not real, so im having a Good look at solar,thanks again  for all the help.

  • Like gardenmaiden we had ours installed some time ago.  The cost was higher then than it is now, but we will re-coop the cost in 8 years, and our electricity costs have been greatly reduced (about £80 p/m dual fuel for a four bedroomed house).  We take great pleasure in not running the dishwasher until the sun comes out, and the panels generate all year round, though considerably more profitably in the summer.  Our 18 panels pay us arounf £2000 a year, in addition to the reduction in electricity costs.  We thought of the installation costs as being more effective than an ISA in terms of pay-back.

    I cannot understand why it is not mandatory to install solar panels on all new-builds.

  • GardenmaidenGardenmaiden Posts: 1,095

    Solar panels were installed on my sons school extension last year.

    Exactly gg, that's what I do.

  • Here in France, where I am at the moment, every school roof is covered in solar panels, they have started to put solar shades over the supermarket carparks (shae is very welcome here in the summer) and every winegrower covers the rooves of his buildings.  The system is different here, but they get an excellent return from the government and so much more friendly than fracking which seems to me to be very destructive.

    It is a myth that they need sunshine to work, they generate all the year round though much less when it's cloudy.  We considered it a longterm investment - we were promised it would have paid off the installation costs in ten years, but it is likely to be seven or eight the way things are going.  So for those years you have the reduced cost of electricity, but after that you have around £2000 a year income which is worth considering.

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115
    Our water heating has been entirely solar from April to late September this year. We have two panels; sadly we don't have the right aspect for voltaics but we are considering free-standing panels, which are certainly feasible.
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