anyone installed solar panels?

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  • anyone installed solar panels?
  • sharkbait
    Member

    Questions to ask yourself:
    1) Can you use the power that is generated (so is there someone at home a lot)
    2) Does your roof face south – not imperative but helps get the maximum power
    3) Can you afford it? – The feed in tariff is not as good as it once was. You’ll get your money back but it takes a lot longer now.

    Roter Stern
    Member

    As someone in the know once told me. If you have the money lying about doing nothing it is worth while investment. If you have to borrow money to do it then not so. However solar panels have become a lot cheaper now with influx of cheap Chinese imports so it could be different.

    trail_rat
    Member

    do you want solar PV or solar thermal

    either way i wouldnt base my house around either but it would be a nice addition.

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    Solar PV or Solar Thermal?

    BTW interesting fact:

    Solar PV collectors are generally between 13% and 17% efficient.

    Evacuated tube solar thermal collectors are between 60% and 75%.

    Mr Panda and I are approaching house ownership and we are thinking about finding a house that would be suitable for solar panel install.

    Any STWers done it? Is it worth it? And are there any pre-requisites for a house that has them on (apart from a roof which gets some direct light during the day)?

    Premier Icon igm
    Subscriber

    And you can store hot water to use in the evening when you actually need it.

    Worth thinking about when time of day energy tariffs aren’t that far away.

    On PV though, my advice is south facing roof and do it properly. Don’t “rent a roof” as there are commercial liabilities galore, and don’t go over 3.68kVA (reg 22 of the ESQCR if you care to look – 230 nominal voltage before anyone tries to correct me).

    sharkbait
    Member

    And you can store hot water to use in the evening when you actually need it.

    There is a very cool little piece of kit available that constantly monitors the energy being used by your house and shoves any surplus from the PV panels into a circuit that’s connected to your immersion [or any other dedicated devise such as an oil filled rad].

    Evacuated tube solar thermal collectors are between 60% and 75%.

    Cheers Stoner, that is quite cool and I’m rather interested in this but will ask my, very simple, question on a fresh thread.

    timbur
    Member

    sharkbait – and the name of it is???????????????
    (have panels and would like to utilize more of the electricity generated :O)

    Bear
    Member

    And another little known fact PV panels become less efficient the hotter they get.

    Stoner heard 20% quoted for efficiencies these days but to get higher than than that will be a slow and expensive process

    I would also like to know how good the Chinese made panels are regarding the waste they produce etc as some nasty metals are used in them and I don’t think china has a great reputation re waste.

    Premier Icon stever
    Subscriber

    You might find some useful stuff on this thread… http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/solar-panels-2

    sharkbait
    Member

    and the name of it is???????????????

    Immersun
    Sounds great and I’d have one but as I work from home and have a number of computers running I doubt we have any spare capacity – plus our PV panels are on another building and the way they connect to the consumer unit would probably make this a tricky install.
    I’d like to put one in at my mums holiday house though.

    Interesting. There are two sides to it really, one side is the “green side” and the other side is the saving money, since the energy companies are holding us all to ransom. Any house we buy we would be looking at “greening up” as much as poss – insulation, grey water collection etc.

    According to the renewableenergyincentives.co.uk site, it would take around 10 years to recoup the investment cost of solar panels.

    sharkbait
    Member

    Just we aware that those figures probably don’t include replacing the inverter – I think they have a lifespan of about 10 years and [used to] cost about £1000.
    I might be wrong though.

    trail_rat
    Member

    “According to the renewableenergyincentives.co.uk site, it would take around 10 years to recoup the investment cost of solar panels.”

    i would ignore any “recoupment” times quoted by people – its all based on hypotheticals – usually at the more extreme positive benifit end.

    do your own maths for your circumstances.

    we use so little electricity during the day that solar PV makes no sense at all for us you could double or even triple that recoupment time – may change when kiddiewinkles arrive but right now its of zero priority.

    Premier Icon leffeboy
    Subscriber

    I’ve not installed them here but I did in Afghanistan a few years back. The problem with the PV panels then was access to keep them clean as although some dirt in a corner might look like it would only affect a tiny area of the panel in reality it had a large effect because of the way the various elements chain together. ie. I wouldn’t install them in a place I couldn’t easily get to to clean either by hand or with a long brush out of a velux type window

    Also don’t forget solar panels are likely to devalue your house if you want to re-sell.

    If you plan on living there for 20 years plus then possibly worth it. Much less and you are paying to be green

    sharkbait
    Member

    Also don’t forget solar panels are likely to devalue your house if you want to re-sell.

    Eh? Why?

    trail_rat
    Member

    WCA – are you on crack ? most folk would see them as a benifit and a selling point.

    the rent a roof schemes where you rent your roof out to a company so they can profit from your feed in tarrif -now that will devalue your house.

    Premier Icon BlobOnAStick
    Subscriber

    I have. 9 panels producing 2.25 kW max.

    I did it as an investment, not as an exercise in green living as I think if you’re doing it to be green then solar thermal makes much more sense. Due to the Feed-in-tarriff scheme however, the solar PV business case is much greater.

    Installation costs have come down with the feed-in-tarriff dropping. e.g. my father’s system was about 9.5k to install, but has around 30p FIT whereas mine cost 4.5k with 15p FIT. So, payback timescales remain at 7 to 8 years, depending on how greedy the power companies are (FIT rates are guarenteed for 20 years)

    I am blessed with an electricity meter that runs backwards (don’t worry – I’ve informed the supply company so they know about it) but what that has shown me is that 2.25kW is plenty of energy. I was still exporting to the grid with the dishwasher, washing machine, freezer, fridge and TV/Sky box on and running!

    Premier Icon BlobOnAStick
    Subscriber

    we use so little electricity during the day that solar PV makes no sense at all for us you could double or even triple that recoupment time

    Eh? are you sure?

    Most of the benefit comes from the FIT, which is based on the total energy you produce (whether you use it or not). For example, my system is estimated to produce 1,980kW per year. I get paid 14.9p for all of that (£295). Then it is assumed I use half of that and export half, which means I get 4.64p for 990kW for selling to the grid (£46) and avoid using 990kW from the grid (I pay 14.9p per kW, so avoid £148 charges). Total for first year= £488, the FIT is index linked, so 14.9p/kW will increase over time.

    I’d say the element of how much I use might make a maximum of 18 months difference to the overall payback period.

    mudshark
    Member

    some dirt in a corner might look like it would only affect a tiny area of the panel in reality it had a large effect because of the way the various elements chain together

    Well the more expensive panels don’t have the chaining problem. I looked into this earlier in the year but decided against installing as I don’t agree with the guaranteed FIT thing – everyone’s paying higher bills so a few can have these.

    Premier Icon BlobOnAStick
    Subscriber

    Well the more expensive panels don’t have the chaining problem

    Yes, I was disappointed with only getting 9 panels on my roof as it could hold at least 16 but the shadowing effect from our chimney rules out a large area of roof. The more expensive panels you mention have an inverter each, so there’s not the chaining issue, but to have these fitted basically blew the business case out of the water, so 9 panels it was.

    I’m not entirely sure about the FIT thing. I think solar thermal would prove to be much much more green, but there’s no FIT at the moment. I think there may be a Renewable Heat Initiative (RHI) payment scheme on the cards to cover solar thermal.

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    Yes RHI confirmed for solar thermal but it’s at 19.2p/kWh which IIRC is the upper limit set by DECC as being the effective offshore windfarm elec subsidy rate – i.e. that’s as high as they were prepared to go, even if solar thermal might require a higher subsidy to bring the payback down enough.

    Im still of the opinion that MCS certified solar thermal installations are too expensive and so even with RHI the payback is too far out. The DIY approach is cost effective and unlike most other stuff like PV or biomass boilers can be done by a DIYer legally (assuming vented installation). A DIY installation in many cases will payback faster even without an RHI contribution.

    Premier Icon stever
    Subscriber

    Total for first year= £488, the FIT is index linked, so 14.9p/kW will increase over time.

    …plus the money you save on not buying in power is going to be index linked Plus A Lot More. Fuel price inflation has outstripped regular inflation and is only likely to get worse.

    WCA – are you on crack ? most folk would see them as a benifit and a selling point.

    You would have thought so. Ask the Estate Agents though. People who are buying are being lumbered with whatever contract was originally agreed without options and with less rights to change it.

    May not make sense to the bunny huggers of STW but that’s the housing market for you.

    trail_rat
    Member

    i know its outkeeping with tradition on here but please read the whole post before commenting.

    roof renters i agree will devalue (thats the “we got solar panels for free ” brigade

    buying some solar panels and having them installed will not devalue your house unless you do it all wrong.

    richc
    Member

    WCA – are you on crack ? most folk would see them as a benifit and a selling point.

    You would have thought so. Ask the Estate Agents though. People who are buying are being lumbered with whatever contract was originally agreed without options and with less rights to change it.

    May not make sense to the bunny huggers of STW but that’s the housing market for you.

    My brother who is in construction mentioned this, apparently a lot of people don’t have the building regs or roof calculations for the panels so when they come to sell the come unstuck.

    Also as others have said if you are buying a house with panels on, and they are part of a deal where they are fitted for free this can devalue your house.

    richc – thanks for confirming my facts*

    *did you see how I dodged the question about crack though…

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