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Thread: Solar panels…..a good idea?

  1. #1
    Craftsman
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    Solar panels…..a good idea?

    Apologies if this has been discussed.

    I’m considering getting Solar Panels fitted to our house. We can get them installed at not much more than cost through a friends company….but what are peoples real life experience of them?

    Any issues to consider?

    Do they reduce electric bills as much as the Solar companies suggest?

    Have those who had them installed, had any regrets?

    I appreciate it is a very open ended question….I guess I am just trying to get a feel for peoples real experience, rather than just listening to Solar companies (my mate included!)

  2. #2
    Master
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    Find the Solar thread from a week ago lots of info.
    I have gone with the same company recommended by someone else.
    14 panels, inverter, eddi & battery.

  3. #3
    Master
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    Was this it?

    https://forum.tz-uk.com/showthread.p...-storage-again

    Anyway, think the answer’s “yes” subject to the specifics of location, etc..

  4. #4
    If you're south facing and getting them at costs all seems sensible to me

  5. #5
    Master
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    I've thought hard about this as we have a large, South facing 30 degree roof so pretty perfect.

    However, analysing our energy usage I suspect most of it is the washing machine, the tumble drier, the oven and the dishwasher. I bet that's 80%+ of our usage:

    WM: Mainly run in the mornings, could use some solar electricity but I suspect the panels wouldn't supply enough to fully power the water heater (3kw I suspect).
    TD: mainly run during the day so possibly, however if the sun is shining we won't be using the TD, on a cloudy day the solar might be enough to do the heating but have not done that much research.
    Oven: Mainly used in the evening, so we'd only benefit summer evenings but by then the sun is in the West.
    Dishwasher: Almost exclusively run in the evenings.

    Battery storage systems are twice the price of the panels and move the pay back from 5 odd years to 15.
    Feed in tariffs if you sign-up now are derisory. Barely 10% of the price of the energy you use.
    We could cut down on oil usage by heating a tank of water in the day, this might be our biggest win.

    As far as I can see it really only makes sense economically if you have an electric car and you buy a battery system but the cost of capital / depreciation on both is going to wipe out any savings.

    If the government really want us to adopt these things then they need to introduce some sort system where feed-in price is a high percentage of the purchase price, say 80%.

  6. #6
    Grand Master Onelasttime's Avatar
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    My mum bought her house 6 years ago and inherited the solar panels on a feed-in tariff that pays for all her electricity use, and up to now has paid for her oil tank to be filled all year. Obviously the oil has gone up so she has to pay a little bit extra, but not that much.

    The tariff is due to end in 5 years.

    The chances of ever seeing those incentives again are long gone.

  7. #7
    The fact of the matter is unless you can use the energy when its shining or harness for when you get home or later you’ll be giving it back to the grid for bugger all. One way to capture some of this is to use an iboost which will divert any excess to your immersion heater. I had one fitted about a month ago and already its sent 40kwh to the immersion which would have ordinarily gone back for nothing. Yesterday was a great solar day, we had the washing machine on whilst it was generating- dishwasher was on timer and went off at 11am and almost 5 kWh went to the immersion. If you can get smart and harness the energy great if not then as others have said sometimes the maths don't work, however if you're getting it at cost and energy prices continue to rise it still sounds like a good idea.

  8. #8
    Jeremy. Payback on the quotes i have had estimate 9 years for 12 panels and a 5kwh battery with consumption around 3000kwh/yr. I expect battery prices to fall over those years so will go for a smaller rather than larger battery. Lifespan of the batteries is a concern but feel willing to take a risk on it. I'd also be surprised if we do not see battery repair becoming a small industry.

    Solar may not cover all the requirements of a washing machine etc at its peak draw but reduces the amount you require from the grid. More so if the inverter and battery help cover peaks. They'll also be covering all of your base load from fridge freezer etc.

  9. #9
    Grand Master Andyg's Avatar
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    Yes! But without the tariffs it really only makes sense if you go for battery storage. We have had a Tesla Powerwall connected to our PV system and last month consumed 14kw/h of electricity from the grid (exported 18kw). This month the system has generated nearly 500Kw/h so far and we have used 2kw from the grid.

    Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
    Friedrich Nietzsche


  10. #10
    Journeyman
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    I’ve had a 3.9kW array with 3.68kW inverter for just over 2 years now.

    It absolutely makes a difference. How much is going to be dependent on your circumstances.

    As other have touched on in earlier posts, you’ll get the most value out of your install if you can make use of the generated power (i.e. you’re running things whilst the sun shines).

    Both my wife and I work from home, we run the washing machine and dishwasher during the day.

    Anything in excess will be exported back to the grid. You will now need a smart meter installed to measure that export and depending on your supplier, you should get paid 5-7.5p/kWh exported.

    I’m with Octopus who are paying 7.5p/kWh, which offsets my usage in each month’s bills. Not a fortune, but it adds up, especially in summer.

    I’ve been paying 19.5p/kWh (more now with the price increases), so anything I can power from solar means I don’t have to pay the power company.

    I also have a MyEnergi Eddi solar diverter (similar to the iBoost mentioned earlier) which diverts excess power to my immersion heater and means I don’t need to use gas to heat water from March-October. Over winter it needs a little help from the boiler.

    I also got an EV about 14 months ago, and have a MyEnergi Zappi charger, which works in conjunction with the diverter, and again, any excess power can be used to charge the car.

    After all that, there’s no generation left to charge other batteries, and household batteries don’t make financial sense by my calculations.

    Some actual numbers:

    I don’t have data for a whole year to hand, but as an example, this month (Apr 22) my electricity consumption was 55% from my panels and 45% imported.
    On top of that, I had excess that was exported, which should reduce my bill (thanks to the 7.5kW/h payments) by 25%.

    Except on absolutely miserable winter days, I would certainly expect significant reductions. In summer I am paid for more than I consume.

    35% of the charge into my EV has been from the panels, saving around £185 over the last year. I’m doing relatively low mileage at the moment, limiting the amount I need to charge.
    There’s also the added bonus of the EV being cheaper to run than my old diesel, but I’ll ignore that.

    The solar diverter has saved a fairly modest £43/year. I’m also happy that I’m getting hot water without burning fossil fuels, even if it’s only a modest financial bonus.

    I’ve found it a little challenging to work out the exact payback period, but I think it’s in the neighbourhood of 9 years and reducing as electricity, gas and petrol/diesel go up.
    My system was a little more expensive as I specified some more expensive parts due to limited space and some other features.

    Anyways, long answer from me, but yes, they’re worth it.

  11. #11
    Craftsman
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    Thanks for the advice everyone. My mate is coming to do a survey today, and provide calculations, etc.

    I hadn’t really thought about battery storage, and hadn’t heard about the iBoost gadgets….so will look into these too.

    It looks like in order to maximise any savings, you just need to tweak certain things (like dishwasher in during days, etc).

  12. #12
    If you are not in during the day then a battery allows you to use the energy you have generated. I think at present they might be around neutral financially. I'm an looking at that potential cost a bit like a standing charge rather than using the battery as an investment.

  13. #13
    Master sweets's Avatar
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    Each scenario is different, but in principal, it is worth adding that even if it is cost neutral, doing the right thing is a good thing to do.

  14. #14
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    We have 'm since last October; 22 panels - partly on the roof of the house and partly on the flat roof of the extension /office. Last month (March was sunny) our electricity bill was just over 16 euros! All other electric power that we used, was generated by our solar panels. April is even sunnier.

    Mind you, heating is done via a heat pump in combination with natural gas. That pump uses a lot of energy. But still it was a cheap month.

  15. #15
    Master mindforge's Avatar
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    So who do people recommend to get in to install solar panels? I'm in London. Presumably they do a site survey to see whether the roofs are appropriate? I have a mix of dormers and flat roofs.

    Sent from my IN2023 using Tapatalk

  16. #16
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by mindforge View Post
    So who do people recommend to get in to install solar panels? I'm in London. Presumably they do a site survey to see whether the roofs are appropriate? I have a mix of dormers and flat roofs.

    Sent from my IN2023 using Tapatalk

    My energy supplier are doing everything for me from survey to supply fit.
    Roll on July, 14 panels, inverter, 5 KWH battery, solar immersion Eddi, looking forward to being more self sufficient & doing my bit for the planet.
    Surveyor commented on prefect aspect with no shading whatsoever & by my calculations the battery will supply my needs from 5.30/6pm till 9am.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by mindforge View Post
    So who do people recommend to get in to install solar panels? I'm in London. Presumably they do a site survey to see whether the roofs are appropriate? I have a mix of dormers and flat roofs.

    Sent from my IN2023 using Tapatalk
    I used ECH Group - https://echgroup.co.uk/ - would recommend them.

  18. #18
    Master mindforge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tertius View Post
    I used ECH Group - https://echgroup.co.uk/ - would recommend them.
    Thank you.

    Sent from my IN2023 using Tapatalk

  19. #19
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by tertius View Post
    I used ECH Group - https://echgroup.co.uk/ - would recommend them.
    Never seen a company before that has a very long and detailed web page about its complaints procedures!!

  20. #20
    Grand Master Andyg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mindforge View Post
    So who do people recommend to get in to install solar panels? I'm in London. Presumably they do a site survey to see whether the roofs are appropriate? I have a mix of dormers and flat roofs.

    Sent from my IN2023 using Tapatalk
    yes they do a site survey, but make sure you do not have any restrictions on your property. I would also check with with the neighbours to make sure they are inside.

    Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
    Friedrich Nietzsche


  21. #21
    Solar panels on the roof are permitted development so unless you live in a listed building or similar it doesn't matter if your neighbors are inside or outside.

  22. #22
    Master mindforge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andyg View Post
    yes they do a site survey, but make sure you do not have any restrictions on your property. I would also check with with the neighbours to make sure they are inside.
    What kind of restrictions?

    Sorry, make sure the neighbours are inside?!

    Sent from my IN2023 using Tapatalk

  23. #23
    Master mindforge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ernestrome View Post
    Solar panels on the roof are permitted development so unless you live in a listed building or similar it doesn't matter if your neighbors are inside or outside.
    Ha oh right, onside. My neighbours won't like it but they don't like anything.

    Sent from my IN2023 using Tapatalk

  24. #24
    Grand Master Andyg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mindforge View Post
    What kind of restrictions?

    Sorry, make sure the neighbours are inside?!

    Sent from my IN2023 using Tapatalk

    Sorry, should have said “onside”.

    As for restrictions some houses may have covenants placed on the which restricts the outward appearance of the building and one guy in Surbiton was told to take his panels down despite another house in the road having them - I know it didn’t make sense to me either.

    Might be worth just checking your deeds, ringing the planning office or simply having a walk around the block to see how many others have PV fitted.

    Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
    Friedrich Nietzsche


  25. #25
    Master mindforge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andyg View Post
    Sorry, should have said “onside”.

    As for restrictions some houses may have covenants placed on the which restricts the outward appearance of the building and one guy in Surbiton was told to take his panels down despite another house in the road having them - I know it didn’t make sense to me either.

    Might be worth just checking your deeds, ringing the planning office or simply having a walk around the block to see how many others have PV fitted.
    Good tip, thanks!

    Sent from my IN2023 using Tapatalk

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