Gransnet forums


solar panels

(23 Posts)
carboncareful Fri 24-Jun-11 16:10:45

Has anyone noticed: practically every shopping centre now has a couple of solar panel salesmen approaching shoppers?

baggythecrust! Fri 24-Jun-11 16:14:19

Could they be doing it for profit like double-glazing salepersons whom we all love to hate? wink

Notsogrand Fri 24-Jun-11 16:31:31

Good job I haven't been relying on solar power for my energy this summer!

sylvia2036 Fri 24-Jun-11 21:46:34

When we were selling our house last year our next-door neighbours decided to have huge panels installed in their roof. What monstrosities!

Funnily enough my OH was at a construction show in Harrogate yesterday and he said there were dozens of solar panel salesmen there - not really doing any business (it was pouring).

harrigran Fri 24-Jun-11 23:19:54

There is a new housing estate being built near us and every house has solar panels on the roof, I have never seen so many, is this a new building regulation ?

Faye Sat 25-Jun-11 02:31:58

I love solar panels, I am really interested in renewable energy and believe we should have them on every roof. Until late last year I worked as an energy auditor, advising people on how to reduce their energy costs and I also gave advice on how to make houses more eco friendly. Solar panels also save the government the huge expense of expanding and upgrading our electricity infrastructure, besides saving the huge amount of pollution that power generated by coal produces.
An elderly man in one house I audited proudly told me that he had his solar hot water system installed thirty years ago and he was told then that he was wasting his money. Imagine how much energy and expense he has saved over the years. I also lived in a house in the late seventies in Darwin that had a solar hot water system. We also installed 1.5kw solar panel system on our last house and because of the government rebate the cost was less than $3000 aud (about 750 pounds). I know my daughter pays about $1500 aud a year on electricity. which is high against a lot of houses I audited, but they tend to leave lights and power running unnecessarily.

baggythecrust! Sat 25-Jun-11 06:59:13

We investigated having solar panels installed on our roof five years ago when we moved to the house we're now in. Energy efficiency is obviously a good thing whether climate change frightens you or not. We couldn't afford it even with "government subsidies" (aka taxpayers' money) and we were advised that where we live (north of the 56° parallel) it would not work cost effectively until there had been a lot more research. Sad but true.

JessM Sat 25-Jun-11 12:16:57

There are schemes where you can rent your roof to photovoltaic panel companies. They get the new feed in tariff. You get free electricity when the sun is shining. Might be worth investigating.
For people who have capital panels are currently a much better investment than building society accounts etc etc Worth looking into if you have had a "lump sum" on retirement or something. Do it now because the feed-in tariff rates are decreasing next year. Currently it is a great deal. You get about 30p a unit for what you generate. At the same time you have free use of the electricity.
Email me and I can make a recommendation for a good company who can advise.

baggythecrust! Sat 25-Jun-11 12:54:50

Where is this company based?

carboncareful Sun 26-Jun-11 10:41:00

I thought it sounded a good idea but I have a firend who was very enthusiastic and was all set to go ahead and sign and agreement to rent her roof - and then they changed their minds at the last minute as they discovered lots of snags. So I think it needs looking into. I will ask her to list the snags or better still try and get her to join gransnet .

jackyann Sun 26-Jun-11 11:01:07

Have researched this carefully as we are doing a new build (which means a different formula for cost etc) - and to answer a previous q. new developments are obliged to have some form of energy saving / micro-generation depending on the situation.

For those new to this: "solar panel" can mean solar hot water heater or photo-voltaic cells. They are very different both in technology and pay-back time.

Suggest the following sources of advice: Centre for Alternative Technology (the best, as they are very honest!); the Carbon Trust & Energy Saving Trust are a bit bland but can tell you useful things to watch out for.
However, none will recommend a company.
The Green Building Bible is very useful - it comes in 2 parts - the basic, and a technical supplement. I got copies from the library.

JessM Sun 26-Jun-11 12:38:49

Good luck with your newbuild. We live in an energy efficient newish house. I could never happily face an old house now, however pretty they look on the outside. It is so cozy being in a new house.
I spent 6 months in NZ looking after ailing son and the housing regs there are driven by earthquake concerns and not by energy efficiency. Plus they think they live in much nicer climate than they do... You know you have been in NZ for a while when you refer to a house with a corrugated iron roof as "cute".
The houses are mostly less energy efficient than our garages. I used to get up in the winter and put on outdoor clothing. I remember standing in that kitchen with 2 pairs of trousers, 3 warm tops, a fleece, zipped up and a big woolly scarf and seeing my breath in front of me. It was about 3 deg outside and about the same inside. The only forms of heating were electric or calor gas, neither of which actually warmed up the house. It was a case of huddling into the smallest room and taking the plug in radiator with you. Really make me appreciate my own house.
(I am now waiting for a shower of Kiwi abuse to come my way... come on you Kiwi grans... defend your housing if you dare...)

baggythecrust! Sun 26-Jun-11 12:58:10

There is at least one nice thing about living in an old house — you get to share it with two species of bat in the loft and several bird species on the outside walls under the eaves. smile

carboncareful Mon 27-Jun-11 16:35:39

Well, baggy, that is really nice to know. At least that's two things we actually agree on now: liking bats and birds.

elenalee Wed 21-Sep-11 07:53:21

Message deleted by Gransnet.

grannyactivist Wed 21-Sep-11 08:00:34

Our house is Edwardian, but with superb insulation and double glazing it's very energy efficient. We did look into solar panels about ten years ago, but discovered that the existing ones weren't practical for this house - though I'm sure with new technology coming through this may change in the future.

susiecb Wed 21-Sep-11 08:00:35

We are about to investigate solar panels as we have alarge south facing roof. Its a new energy efficient house but if i can get someone else to pay for my electriciy so much the better - let you know how it goes.

Annobel Wed 21-Sep-11 08:59:05

Double glazing and solar panels do exist in NZ, at least in my sister's house in Cristchurch, also a heat exchange system. however, for a country that has such geothermal activity, you'd expect it to be leading the exploitation of this but apparently it isn't.

Baggy Wed 21-Sep-11 09:50:43

It does seem a shame not to use geothermals, doesn't it? I wonder if the cost of research in that field is just too high at present and that's what's holding them back in NZ?

gracesmum Tue 10-Jul-12 20:16:25

I feel sorry for those who were considering solar panels last year and missed the 43p feed-in tariff deal. At 21p it's not nearly as good value, but of course as fuel proces will continue to go up the "free" electricity you get while you are generating will be worth more. We had our PV panels installed last September and so far have had (tax free) cheques for over £1100 over 3 quarters. The best was the last one (March/April/May) and it was for £582. I am sorry some people find them unsightly, but honestly how much time do you spend looking at a neighbour's roof?
The down side is that it was obviously such a good deal that "too many" people took it up- how short-sighted of the government - again.

jeni Tue 10-Jul-12 20:54:11

There is no way I would put solar panels on my roof! Too practically difficult in this old propery, too unsightly,also not economic !

Mishap Tue 10-Jul-12 21:13:23

The older you get, I guess the less economic it becomes as you will not recoup your outlay.
We live in a south facing house and on the surface the idea looks ideal, but the flat sections of the roof face east and west and it would be very technically difficult and extremely unsightly to put them on the south facing house wall, as it is mainly french doors leading onto a balcony.

FlicketyB Wed 11-Jul-12 23:36:55

I live in a listed house in a conservation area so solar is a no no. However in the Observer this weekend there was an article to say that a company had developed an affordable domestic combined heat and power boiler. When your central heating is on it uses the exhaust heat to generate power. This struck me as very practical (a bit like the wave and tide power mentioned in another thread). It would generate power all year round, independent of wind or sun and would be producing most power in the cold dark days of winter when most power is needed.