Those of you with solar PV
How did you find an installer ?
Getting quotes back on about a 4kw
Two things becoming aparant. Wide variation in cost
Different kit brands and technical abilityPosted 9 months ago
being quoted ….. But what do I actually want/need – limited chance of shadowing due to lay out of the street (and we are literally a standalone street in the sticks) so do I need the bling inverters.
Oh and another thing a couple of the local sounding installers have turned out to be nothing more than front websites for large multinationals using subbies…..
Is there any kind of accreditation system for solar installers where I can go to find bona fide local installers ?Posted 9 months ago
I went with a recommendation from a colleague. They did a good job; everything happened the day it was supposed to, the scaffolding was 100% compliant (better than I’ve ever seen on major construction sites, wiring all neatly done and documented. They went into liquidation a year or two later, but it’s worked for 9 years without any issues.
Things may have changed, but I’d be looking at the life of the panels, and the percentage of nominal power at end of life. Ours are something like 95% at 20 years. See if you can get a manufacturer warranty rather than the installer.
I see dual function inverters are now a thing. Ours are grid tied, so if the grid connection goes off, they shut down (to avoid electrocuting the grid repair team). Dual function would isolate and switch to supplying backup power.Posted 9 months ago
Dual function would isolate and switch to supplying backup power.
Not seen that mentioned … Going to assume that’s many spends more than I’ve been quoted for so far……but that would be handy being at the end of a country overhead line….Posted 9 months ago
Might be worth giving Local Energy Scotland a buzz, they’ll know reputable suppliers/installers and can check if there’s anything grant wise, etc. that might be useful.Posted 9 months ago
I’m looking at this myself. Would like to get integrated panels, partly out of vanity… Well, they do just look better and new build houses going up nearby have them. I’ve a couple of recommended suppliers to call when I get round to it.
Voltair Energy and Logan Installations, which both came recommended by the producer (Viridian). I’m stating from a blank canvas of technical knowledge, so know nothing about inverters you speak of.Posted 9 months ago
Think about adding solar thermal to the mix. That’s a real investment.
Also, I sacked off all the grants and negotiated a deal with the installer and saved even more.Posted 9 months ago
Solar thermal won’t work I ain’t got a tank.
I hadn’t considered grants as my experiance is that those accredited installers working on the grants(when it was boiler replacement time) rip the arse out of it.
Would rather have a local installerPosted 9 months ago
Correct about the grants.
If you had a thermal store the solar is excellent. All my hot water comes from one panel for the most of summer and the water never goes below 35 deg all year (winter I use a wood boiler stove) . I had my gas bill down to £5 a month at one point.Posted 9 months ago
Interested in what you pay if you get it installed; I really like the idea of solar PV but despite having an absolutely perfect south-facing roof just don’t see how it stacks up financially! Leccy/gas is just too cheap (at the moment) especially if you have e.g. LED bulbs etc & decent insulation.
Signed up for a local council-backed scheme (results due in soon apparently!) which is something like a group-buy for solar PV so allegedly cheaper installs, we will see though (no obligation to buy)Posted 9 months ago
We are on oil…..with a combi . Which is even cheaper than gas at the moment. But hedging my bets neither of those things are long term. Seeing as how UK electricity generation planning is shit the green are blocking the things that need to happen to make it sustainable based on hopes and dreams of technology that is not yet able on a large scale. Microgeneration is a fall back.
Young child , wfh for the foreseeable.
Lekky bill tripled during lockdown.
Solar panels would cover 2/3rds of our bill right now and offer between a 6-10 year payback (based on the quotes) most of my bill appears to be …..dual monitors two laptops , radio all day every day kettle many times a day , cooking lunch all at home
Since the FIT stopped being so lucrative and more people are thinking along the lines of the numbers don’t add up….prices seem to have just about halved or more.Posted 9 months ago
prices seem to have just about halved or more.
interesting… will wait to see what comes in from this council thing and then maybe get some quotes from some local installers.
If we had an EV I think it would be a lot easier to justify but I cycle to work and like you the GF is WFH for the foreseeable!Posted 9 months ago
I see an ev in our life sooner than later and we have an e bike to charge. Electric heating will also likely be a thing when the boiler expires .Posted 9 months ago
what sort of prices are we talking about? i was looking at 5-6k previously. but the payback was like 20 years! i just cant see how it pays to have it? (unless your off grid etc)Posted 9 months ago
Between 3.5-4800 is the current spread of quotes I’ve had.
I’ve asked for more details so I can look at the kit they are using and how they plan to install……couple of lads on ladders on my roof doesn’t appeal.
Payback works out at about 20 years if I’m working in the office but we are all pushing for a 2 day office going forward as wfh is working. Wfh it is about 10 years pay backPosted 9 months ago
One thing to consider also is how easy it will be for you to clean or have then cleaned yearly. The drop in efficiency for a panel that has accumulated surface dirt is astonishing! If you dont clean them it’s not like theyll stop working but if your payback period is 20 years and a dirty panel loses say 10 percent of its efficient then that’s an extra two years on your payback.Posted 9 months ago
Make sure you specify pigeon netting. Pigeons love nesting under them and they are noisy buggers!!Posted 9 months ago
One thing to consider also is how easy it will be for you to clean or have then cleaned yearly. The drop in efficiency for a panel that has accumulated surface dirt is astonishing! If you dont clean them it’s not like theyll stop working but if your payback period is 20 years and a dirty panel loses say 10 percent of its efficient then that’s an extra two years on your payback.
Incredibly easy….the only thing stopping me fitting my own is the fact that i can’t wire them in….. But I have not ruled it out as I do have a tame spark who can do the wiring but is not genned up to supply or willing to do the fit up on the roof.
I already have self fitted solar on my van . It provides all our power when away we dont bother with hookup. But I’m aware that the house is a much bigger asset to lose should it go Pete tong.Posted 9 months ago
A colleague did a new build several years ago, admittedly in the days of decent FITs. He ran a spreadsheet (he’s a bit like that!) and reckoned that a roof of pure solar PV panels feeding into a massive triple insulated immersion heater water tank was a better bet than solar thermal.
There’s a couple of installer cos near us, seem to get a good rep.Posted 9 months ago
If nothing else. Solar PV feeding surplus into an immersion means zero risk of flooding from a burst in the fluid side of the solar thermal.Posted 9 months ago
Good point as well.Posted 9 months ago
Having stayed last week in holiday accommodation which was new (recent) build with superb insulation and performance, we’re now looking hard at how to improve performance of our current house. The current conclusion/ solution would seem to be a building plot and a new build.
Ill never update the eaves here I’m resigned to that.
But we stuck a new extension on the windward side which exceeds modern insulation standards with modern insulated uPVC windows and what a difference it’s made throughout the whole house.
Really it’s just the front of the house that standard and even in winter it gets the sunPosted 9 months ago
If nothing else. Solar PV feeding surplus into an immersion means zero risk of flooding from a burst in the fluid side of the solar thermal.
I ride with two insurance bods. When I told them I’d got PV they related a long series of stories about paying out on houses burnt down by their solar panels. The panels that caused most fires are no longer on the market but you need to know that if your house is on fire on a sunny day the firebrigade will take one look at the panels and decide to let it burn. Mine run at 700V DC on a sunny day if I turn off the leccy – which you would in the event of a house fire.
On the other hand when the primary circuit on my solar thermal boiled it spat out no more than a litre into a bucket placed in anticipation of such an event. I now remove lagging from a pipe run before going away in Summer. It takes a couple of minutes.
The PV still produces 25-30% of May/August production in December. The solar thermal however is super efficient in Summer but poor in Winter. The solar thermal tank reaches about 20°C in December compared with 60°C in Summer. So six months hot water and six months pre-heating before a normal electric tank.
Edit: The insurance company weren’t interested when In told them about the solar thermal, they upped the premium 60e for the PV and 20e for the wood burner. That gives you an idea of respective risks.Posted 9 months ago
The problem for small operator in the fit days has always been the mgcs (micro generation certification scheme). Very paper work heavy, hence why many smaller guys are sub contractors. I don’t know if this is still the case now the government scheme isn’t as good but is shaped the industry from birth.Posted 9 months ago
The solar thermal however is super efficient in Summer but poor in Winter. The solar thermal tank reaches about 20°C in December compared with 60°C in Summer. So six months hot water and six months pre-heating before a normal electric tank.
How does that scale to being much further north.
Not sure where you are in France but my parents near limoge at 45deg north and could heat buckets of water just by leaving them on the lawn…..
Here at 57 even in peak summer they would be lucky to raise from tap temp.
Anyway all academic as we don’t have a tank nor plans to fit one as that would be an entire new heating system.Posted 9 months ago
Make sure you specify pigeon netting. Pigeons love nesting under them and they are noisy buggers!!
thought of this comment when I just spotted this article in the local online rag!Posted 9 months ago
got a lad coming round to do a site survey from a local MCS approved company .
financially makes little sense from what i can gather
but its seems a better use of money than in the bank these days – but also based on my current usage level which has gone through the roof ill probably do better out of it than the online calculators suggest. and we are in good situation for the next car being electric.
Does mean ill need a smart meter to get the SEG tarriff- oh joy
Calcs are a little screwed due to energy being up and cost of install being down quite a bit.Posted 9 months ago
Once you get solar panels you will want batteries.🤣
This popped up in my YouTube channel yesterday and looked really good. Not sure if there’s a UK equivalent?
Best thing I bought was a solar I boost for heating my hot water tank. That’s brought me the best savings. Works 9 months of the year.Posted 9 months ago
@damascus you can get the Tesla Powerwall in the UK which sounds awesome, especially if you have an EV (looks a bit more professional than that set up too 🤣) cost is £8k+ though 😭Posted 9 months ago
@zilog6128 yes, I’ve looked at them all but they are too expensive for a good payback. Batteries also reduce in performance over the 10 years.
Unless the price of batteries comes down or the price of electric goes up then its just not worth it at the moment.Posted 9 months ago
I had a load of quotes a few years ago, range of prices was massive, the most expensive was a company based in Burton upon Trent that claim to be “The UK’s leading solar energy provider”, not only were they expensive they added every extra on they could and their payback numbers were way optimistic. A smaller company in Nottingham were a good 40%+ cheaper with a choice of German or Austrian made invertor.
Also any company that tries to sell you a “voltage optimiser” should be instantly dropped off your list, these do nothing to save energy usage in a domestic setting.Posted 9 months ago
Batteries make no sense at all right now financially. Not even close.
I would like to fit a hybrid inverter as future proofing but I don’t think I can without at least one battery on the system.
I do see electricity going up medium term due to the lack of preparation our nation is doing and we will be reliant on imports going forward.
I have purposefully avoided those types of hard sell suppliers Matt. They just scream gonna rip the arse out of it and probably go bust soon after and rise from the flames to avoid any warranty they may give.Posted 9 months ago
Solar thermal doesn’t mean a whole new heating system!Posted 9 months ago
We just have our downstairs HW fed from the solar tank, with the CH feed going through it for heating the HW during the winter months.
i have a Kerosene combi boiler.
as i understand it i cannot have a hot feed to it – it specifys a pretty low feed temp.
My uncle (heating engineer) did mention that as i have a grant combi (vortex 26e )there was a kit in development although we had been drinking so i may be remembering wrong to allow me to run it in conjunction with a solar thermal tank…. but i did not see anything to back this up online when i lookedPosted 9 months ago
You could have the combi running into a thermal store coil or a plate heat exchanger to couple multiple systems.Posted 9 months ago
Just had an email in with the results of the solar PV group buying scheme organised by the council. Didn’t bother submitting any specifics regarding exact roof size so they’ve averaged it to 12 panels, total cost approx £3650 + £2250 if we also want a 3.1 kWh battery. Also a few optional extra costs such as bird netting or a UPS. Actually sounds pretty reasonable compared to what I was expecting so will definitely look into it further!Posted 9 months ago
They are estimating the savings + earnings (with the battery option) at just under £500/year which gives a ROI of about 13-14 years (assuming status quo with respect to energy prices, etc)
You could have the combi running into a thermal store coil or a plate heat exchanger to couple multiple systems.
That’s very over simplified . How would you control it efficiently for example. I have had a rake around grants site. It seems I can preheat my feed to the boiler from the tank to a specific temperature blending it with the cold feed. And it seems they have a manually(electrically) switchable valve system to allow the boiler to heat a tank. Doesn’t sound great to me
That dies sound good zilog. What system of battery’s they using sounds suspiciously cheap on the batteries ….. The panels seem to be par for course or slightly below normal install value c-5-1000 quid savedPosted 9 months ago
@trail_rat the battery is a Growatt ML33RTA. Yeah it does sounds cheap, but I know nothing about these systems really except for the Tesla one which is obviously going to be top end. Will do some research… looks like they’re 3kWh but modular so you can just add more if necessary.Posted 9 months ago
Once you get solar panels you will want batteries.🤣
This popped up in my YouTube channel yesterday and looked really good. Not sure if there’s a UK equivalent?
Best thing I bought was a solar I boost for heating my hot water tank. That’s brought me the best savings. Works 9 months of the year.
**** hell him poking around in the live system with bare fingers and exposed terminals was giving me anxiety, not to mention the sparks falling towards his face when he connects the positive wire! 😲Posted 9 months ago
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