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Renewable energy

(11 Posts)
Mishap Mon 02-Sep-13 18:59:54

As I am about to receive a legacy - not huge - I am considering pholtovoltaic panels as a means of generating electricity, on the grounds that we would gain more by reducing our electricity bills than we would by investing it at the current measly interest rates.

I have looked up lots about it, but would be interested in the experiences of others.

Our house faces due south, but the roof pitch is east/west.

j08 Mon 02-Sep-13 19:11:40

I just hate the look of them. And I think it would take many years to recoup the initial outlay.

But I've no actual experience of them.

janeainsworth Mon 02-Sep-13 19:43:53

www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/free-solar-panels#buy

Have a look at this Mishap

Mishap Mon 02-Sep-13 19:51:52

I don't think it is about recouping the initial outlay any more but about putting the money into something that will make some money rather than trying to get a return from investing it.

Thanks jane - I'll take a close look at that link.

JessM Mon 02-Sep-13 19:55:36

When the feed in tariff first came out we went for lots of 'em. The rates are not as good now as then. Now that the house is rented out we will be happy to have the income - specially after the summer we just had.

This is what to consider:
All the ks you generate will pay you a feed-in tariff.
You can also use the electricity for free (the stuff that is also being counted for feed in payments) so the savings you make will vary according to the way you use appliances. I quickly got in the habit of thinking "sun's out, is there any washing to do" or "sunny afternoon - let's use the electric oven now, rather than wait until evening". This is the way you save more money on your bills.
South facing roofs are by far the most effective. And the amount you earn depends on whether you get sun in the summer months as winter sun is too low and short to do much.
There is a long pay-back period. (compared to the very fast pay back you would get if you spent money on loft insulation) And you can never get that money out of the bank of course.
I guess I would say review the energy efficiency of your house first - it would make no sense to invest in photo voltaics if you did not have the recommended loft insulation, if you had a cavity wall that had not been filled or if you had an inefficient boiler that could be replaced with a condensing boiler. You could even think about whether your windows are keeping the heat in. Despite the fact that our house is newish there were not very good french windows (wooden frame) as dictated by building regs. We upgraded them to high energy efficient plastic ones during cold weather last march and you could feel the difference.
If you can get a free "green deal assessment" then you will get a free assessment of energy efficiency and also a free EPC.

Just asked the expert in the room (15 yrs in the energy efficiency industry) and he added:
You can't get the feed in tariff unless the existing house has a minimum EPC (energy performance certificate rating) - and if it does reach this standard, then PV might well be a better investment than additional energy efficiency measures (because the most effective things have probably been done).
He also said don't go for the cheapest. You want them to last 25 yrs and don't want the company to go out of business should you ever need to contact them re warranty.
Phew.

Jendurham Mon 02-Sep-13 20:28:34

You can also look at solar rooftiles which replace your existing ones. www.solarcentury.co uk is the company to look at.
Another thing we were wondering about was to buy them for one of our sons as they are likely to get more use out of them than I am.

Charleygirl Mon 02-Sep-13 22:25:29

I have solar panels but they are not photovoltaic. I do like my free hot water which so far I have been lucky to have most of the year. I rarely have to switch on the immersion for longer than 15 minutes and I do not do that daily in winter as there is usually sufficient light. I have had them for 4 years now.

The jury is apparently out if they are an asset when house selling. I think that they are.

petra Thu 05-Sep-13 21:01:35

I'm such a fan that I believe it should be law that every new house that is built should have them. I lived off grid for 20 years with solar panels and two wind generators.

Jendurham Thu 05-Sep-13 23:30:08

Solar panels will be an asset for selling your house once the lights go out, Charleygirl, because no power stations are being built, so hang on to them.
I cannot understand why some of those that are being decommissioned cannot be used for burning rubbish. They did that in Peterborough decades ago. And emissions can be controlled much better now.
Ferrybridge is soon going to close, I believe. I don't see why willow can't be grown for fuel in the area, where they are removing the slag heaps.

J52 Fri 06-Sep-13 10:29:24

Check your house insurance, you are responsible for them, as part of your house! Also make sure your roof is in tip top condition. If you need roof repairs you bear the cost of their removal etc. happened to our neighbours within 6 months of having roof panels. X

Charleygirl Fri 06-Sep-13 10:39:55

Jendurham I just have ordinary solar panels, not photovoltaic and I would not part with them because they save me so much money re hot water. I have had them for 4 years now. My council was offering to pay the bulk of the money and my house ticked every box so my contribution was minimal.

I cannot understand why new houses are not being fitted with PV panels automatically as it is obviously cheaper to fit from scratch.

Every time I change house insurers I make sure that they are aware I have solar panels and to date there have been no problems.