Solar Panels

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Turquoise
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Post by Turquoise » Wed Mar 23, 2022 3:29 pm

With today's announcement that VAT will be dropped on energy efficiency purchases, I'm going to have a more serious look at solar panels a bit sooner that I'd originally planned. I think a few people around here already have systems in place, so are there any things that I should be aware of / pitfalls to avoid? All tips and tricks welcome! (Also any recommendations for installers if you happen to be in the Oxfordshire area!)
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Splitty
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Post by Splitty » Thu Mar 24, 2022 6:42 am

Get a battery as well. We have a 6.6Kwh East/west array and our daily grid use is currently zero, but only because we charge the battery using excess solar. In the afternoons I can also slow charge the car. I top up occasionally using go overnight and that pops my daily use up to about £1.

KeithR
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Post by KeithR » Thu Mar 24, 2022 8:17 am

Interesting - I just enquired about a battery to a very experienced and reputable source. Here’s his reply (and he could easily have taken my money!) -

“It depends what you are exporting to the grid really. Lets just say you are exporting 25% so around 800 units, so you are losing our on £200 of energy. The battery systems last for 10 years and would cost £4500 for a 5.2kw. Therefore it would take 22.5 years to get your money back. In this case its obviously not worth it.”

I have a maximum 16 panel south facing roof array, over 10 years old.

Indyfras
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Post by Indyfras » Thu Mar 24, 2022 8:41 am

A few thoughts:

We've had panels for nearly 10 years. Assumed that we were using all the electricity we were generating from them. BUT, since we got our Zappi we can get a better picture of our generation and usage. So, its March (not the middle of the summer) and we are nearly generating as much as we are taking in from the grid. So, we have now ordered a battery which will allow us to make much better use of the solar energy we are generating. We also decided on a battery that would allow us to island our house so that in a powercut we would still generate and be able to use the electricity in the battery. This may not be an issue for you depending on where you live.

Check the direction of your house - when we had the surveyor come out to discuss panels he told us that it was borderline as to whether we should be installing (we are WNW facing). We decided to go ahead and TBH they've probably about paid for themselves.

Check to see if you have anything which will affect the operation of the panels - eg we have large trees behind our house so they fitted the panels on the only area of the roof that got good daylight.

Only mentioning this next point as I came across it in a conversation elsewhere. Some people were offered solar panels but under the arrangement they didn't actually own them - which then caused problems when they tried to sell their property. I hadn't come across this but a few people seemed to have this problem.
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monkeyhanger
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Post by monkeyhanger » Thu Mar 24, 2022 9:23 am

One of my cousin's neighbours got "free" solar panels that he doesn't own on his house - just tried to sell recently and 3 estate agents agreed that he'd devalued his house in the process to the tune of £25k.

Solar panels are incredibly ugly unless you get those flush fit/integrated panels that replace some roof tiles - presumably those types are a lot more expensive, requiring a lot of Messi g around with the current roof tiling?

Our house is ideally placed for solar, facing due south, with nothing in front of us to cast a shadow on the front of the house, but in a conservation area so flush fit is probably the only way to go that would be aesthetically acceptable. Really not convinced such an install with battery array would pay for itself over its lifespan. I'm guessing g I'd be in the realms of £15k for a flush fit 5kW system and battery array to suit (10kWh?).
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sidehaas
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Post by sidehaas » Thu Mar 24, 2022 10:35 am

We have a detached double garage with a flat roof that gets sun almost all day and I've been wondering recently whether we should fit panels to it. I'm not sure whether it would mean digging a trench across the garden to lay more cables - the garage has power but it's just a double 13A socket and some lights. The problem is our electric usage in the day is fairly modest - we only use much in early morning, evening and then overnight when charging the car - so without a battery I think we would be wasting the large majority of what we generated. Adding a battery seems to add quite a bit of cost and complexity. I'm still to do a proper, thorough assessment of the cost balance. I'm not that keen on something that will take 15 years to pay for itself... although of course with these sorts of things if you are ever going to do it, it's usually best to do it early.
For similar reasons to Monkeyhangar describes (aesthetics) I would never consider putting panels on the main roof but I think the garage would probably work pretty well if we wanted them.
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SteveH
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Post by SteveH » Thu Mar 24, 2022 1:51 pm

I do wonder if solar panels + battery are financially beneficial really. Just a battery and Octopus Go would allow you to shift your usage to the cheap period, so to be cost effective the solar panels are having to compete with the 7.5p/KWh Go price...

van
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Post by van » Thu Mar 24, 2022 9:40 pm

I guess it boils down to priorities. Do you buy an ev to save money on fuel or to be emission free and do your bit? I suspect for most of us it's a combination but which weighs more heavily?
Same with PV/battery. Is payback in X years the principal concern? How do you even begin to work that out over a 10-20 year period with any accuracy? We bought a PV system plus Tesla powerwall last year and our priorities were keeping as far off grid for as much of the year as we can. ROI didn't really come into it. Every time the sun shines we get a warm glow and not just because it's a warm day 😉
The fact that electricity prices are going through the roof of a multi storey building is just a bonus.
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Splitty
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Post by Splitty » Fri Mar 25, 2022 6:57 am

Yes, it’s odd how people rush down the road of payback when that wasn’t one of my primary concerns. You can think about money invested going very little these day due to low interest rates, or you can look at the returns from your solar/battery system over 10 or 20 years and see you will have made a lot more and at the end you still have the hardware. Not sure about other makes but Tesla warrant the battery for 70% after 10 years, so it will be far from being dead after 10 years and the panels are warranted for 25. My daily bill is coming in at £0.26 right now. Yesterday was £0.29 and I charged the battery and trickle charged my car during the day. So right now I am saving about £2.80 a day.

AGree panels are ugly on a main roof unless you have in roof solar. Ours are East/West on an outbuilding. Look at the solar edge Inverter system. Otherwise a single shaded panel or faulty panel will impact the whole array. With SolarEdge Edge each panel runs independently. Rather than one with Pigeon shit dropping the whole output down to its level.

sidehaas
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Post by sidehaas » Fri Mar 25, 2022 8:20 am

van wrote:
Thu Mar 24, 2022 9:40 pm
I guess it boils down to priorities. Do you buy an ev to save money on fuel or to be emission free and do your bit? I suspect for most of us it's a combination but which weighs more heavily?
Same with PV/battery. Is payback in X years the principal concern? How do you even begin to work that out over a 10-20 year period with any accuracy?
This is a fair point. Our primary reason for getting an EV was environmental so I suppose we should see this in a similar way. It's just that I'm focusing on the long term, when we all need to be on electric as much as possible for our energy needs, and we need to generate all our electric without fossil fuels. While EVs are an essential part of that, home solar isn't. However we are obviously a long way from a CO2-free grid, so what you say makes a lot of sense.
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monkeyhanger
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Post by monkeyhanger » Fri Mar 25, 2022 9:22 am

Finances were my primary consideration for going EV. My ID3 cost me no more than I'm used to paying for the likes of a Golf GTD, with similar expected residuals. Similarly,if I'm going to burden myself with battery install (and possibly solar), I want it to be saving me money. If you're only going battery, your electricity is drawing from the grid when it's cheap, and is no cleaner than the electricity drawn at any other time. Its a money saving device, dependent on there being a cheap off peak rate to draw from. I seriously don't think we'll have an off peak period in 10 years time, or maybe even 5 years time when millions more EVs are drawing electricity in large quantities overnight - as large, if not larger than total house running requirements.

As such, without solar, a battery array is purely a money saving device, and if it doesnt save money, or even pay for itself over its life cycle, what's the point of having one?
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sidehaas
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Post by sidehaas » Fri Mar 25, 2022 9:29 am

Completely agree about the battery, it needs to pay it's way. From an environmental perspective, it's a cost.
Who knows what will happen with overnight rates. I think it's only Octopus who have a good rate available even now? However, there will always need to be a way of encouraging people to charge at the right times- otherwise most people's cars will be plugged in when they get home from work, just in time to coincide with the evening peak. Perhaps there will remain a night rate for the foreseeable, but it will be 50-75% of the day rate rather than 25%.
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Turquoise
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Post by Turquoise » Fri Mar 25, 2022 10:40 am

Thanks all for your input.

Definitely won't be going for the rented panel option, as although I don't plan on moving anytime soon, never say never and don't want to be de-valueing my house! Very interesting to see that a lot of people here consider panels to be an eye-sore. I can't say that I look at my roof much, but the panels here would be going on the roof at the rear of the house as that's the south facing side, so they wouldn't be visible unless you stood at the bottom of the garden and looked back. In the event that I did sell, hopefully that wouldn't put buyers off too much. I'm lucky that due to the layout of the house the south facing section of the roof is the largest area and also that being on a corner plot it isn't shaded at all.

I'm going to see about getting quotes for a battery as well as panels, but I'm not sure if the VAT has been removed on batteries too? Either way, I don't think I can afford to do both at once so it would likely be panels for now but with a view to getting a battery added on later, and eventually moving to a heat pump when my gas boiler expires. (That was why I went for a Zappi when I had the EV charger installed, even though I don't currently have panels. A bit of future-proofing.)
Family Pro Performance (Turquoise with East Derry alloys)
Ordered Oct 4th 21 (Tusker/Marshall Fleet Centre [Newbury])
Original date: Mar 22
Latest estimate: Nov 22

Zappi 7kW Black tethered

Octopus referral: https://share.octopus.energy/sunny-sun-45

Indyfras
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Post by Indyfras » Fri Mar 25, 2022 11:09 am

Please check what I'm about to say as it may have changed due to the spring statement. Up until the spring statement if you installed both panels and a battery at the same time VAT was 5% on both. However, if like us, if you retro fitted a battery then VAT was 20%.
ID.3 Max
Ordered: 20 October 2021
Ord No: 31509XXX
Delivery: Estimated 25 April 2022 (from order)
Zappi installed 8 December 2021 (Funding: OZEV & Energy Savings Trust (Scotland))

Location: Scottish Highlands

monkeyhanger
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Post by monkeyhanger » Fri Mar 25, 2022 11:37 am

sidehaas wrote:
Fri Mar 25, 2022 9:29 am
Completely agree about the battery, it needs to pay it's way. From an environmental perspective, it's a cost.
Who knows what will happen with overnight rates. I think it's only Octopus who have a good rate available even now? However, there will always need to be a way of encouraging people to charge at the right times- otherwise most people's cars will be plugged in when they get home from work, just in time to coincide with the evening peak. Perhaps there will remain a night rate for the foreseeable, but it will be 50-75% of the day rate rather than 25%.
If that off peak period goes up to 50-75% of the day rate in future, the battery savings will drop off even more and make it harder still for them to pay for themselves. Definitely something to take into consideration.
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Splitty
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Post by Splitty » Fri Mar 25, 2022 12:32 pm

Turquoise wrote:
Fri Mar 25, 2022 10:40 am
Thanks all for your input.

Definitely won't be going for the rented panel option, as although I don't plan on moving anytime soon, never say never and don't want to be de-valueing my house! Very interesting to see that a lot of people here consider panels to be an eye-sore. I can't say that I look at my roof much, but the panels here would be going on the roof at the rear of the house as that's the south facing side, so they wouldn't be visible unless you stood at the bottom of the garden and looked back. In the event that I did sell, hopefully that wouldn't put buyers off too much. I'm lucky that due to the layout of the house the south facing section of the roof is the largest area and also that being on a corner plot it isn't shaded at all.

I'm going to see about getting quotes for a battery as well as panels, but I'm not sure if the VAT has been removed on batteries too? Either way, I don't think I can afford to do both at once so it would likely be panels for now but with a view to getting a battery added on later, and eventually moving to a heat pump when my gas boiler expires. (That was why I went for a Zappi when I had the EV charger installed, even though I don't currently have panels. A bit of future-proofing.)
That would be a good solution. Our panels are on a outbuilding and can't be seen from the house or much of the garden. If you install a large array then you might not be able to use all the solar you generate. It's only March and our 6.6Kwh array is already making more than we can use while the sun is out. You have a couple of options, get a Feed in Tariff (FiT) sorted which will only pay a paltry £0.05 Kwh (or thereabouts) or get a battery. Our battery charges up during the day, gives us several hours operation when there is a powercut (regular occurrence around here, last was 6 hours) and has sufficient charge at the end of the day to run the house till the sun comes up in the morning. If it's cloudy I can charge up at off peak rates and run everything at a lower cost. So despite what some on here might say, our battery is paying for itself and will do so even more when rates go up. Who knows what's going to happen with off peak pricing, but there will be off peak and that means we can shift our cost base. Right now my costs are practically zero if the sun comes out for the day and £0.05 Kwh if it doesn't. INtelligent octopus is £0.075 for an extended period overnight and will switch to that in June when my Go plan expires.

Batteries and panels are now at 0% VAT

Turquoise
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Post by Turquoise » Fri Mar 25, 2022 12:41 pm

Indyfras wrote:
Fri Mar 25, 2022 11:09 am
Please check what I'm about to say as it may have changed due to the spring statement. Up until the spring statement if you installed both panels and a battery at the same time VAT was 5% on both. However, if like us, if you retro fitted a battery then VAT was 20%.
Thanks for the head's up! I will definitely check out what the current situation is with this.
Family Pro Performance (Turquoise with East Derry alloys)
Ordered Oct 4th 21 (Tusker/Marshall Fleet Centre [Newbury])
Original date: Mar 22
Latest estimate: Nov 22

Zappi 7kW Black tethered

Octopus referral: https://share.octopus.energy/sunny-sun-45

G43FAN
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Post by G43FAN » Fri Mar 25, 2022 12:52 pm

Splitty wrote:
Fri Mar 25, 2022 12:32 pm
Turquoise wrote:
Fri Mar 25, 2022 10:40 am
Thanks all for your input.

Definitely won't be going for the rented panel option, as although I don't plan on moving anytime soon, never say never and don't want to be de-valueing my house! Very interesting to see that a lot of people here consider panels to be an eye-sore. I can't say that I look at my roof much, but the panels here would be going on the roof at the rear of the house as that's the south facing side, so they wouldn't be visible unless you stood at the bottom of the garden and looked back. In the event that I did sell, hopefully that wouldn't put buyers off too much. I'm lucky that due to the layout of the house the south facing section of the roof is the largest area and also that being on a corner plot it isn't shaded at all.

I'm going to see about getting quotes for a battery as well as panels, but I'm not sure if the VAT has been removed on batteries too? Either way, I don't think I can afford to do both at once so it would likely be panels for now but with a view to getting a battery added on later, and eventually moving to a heat pump when my gas boiler expires. (That was why I went for a Zappi when I had the EV charger installed, even though I don't currently have panels. A bit of future-proofing.)
That would be a good solution. Our panels are on a outbuilding and can't be seen from the house or much of the garden. If you install a large array then you might not be able to use all the solar you generate. It's only March and our 6.6Kwh array is already making more than we can use while the sun is out. You have a couple of options, get a Feed in Tariff (FiT) sorted which will only pay a paltry £0.05 Kwh (or thereabouts) or get a battery. Our battery charges up during the day, gives us several hours operation when there is a powercut (regular occurrence around here, last was 6 hours) and has sufficient charge at the end of the day to run the house till the sun comes up in the morning. If it's cloudy I can charge up at off peak rates and run everything at a lower cost. So despite what some on here might say, our battery is paying for itself and will do so even more when rates go up. Who knows what's going to happen with off peak pricing, but there will be off peak and that means we can shift our cost base. Right now my costs are practically zero if the sun comes out for the day and £0.05 Kwh if it doesn't. INtelligent octopus is £0.075 for an extended period overnight and will switch to that in June when my Go plan expires.

Batteries and panels are now at 0% VAT
Almost identical system here.. 5.8kW of panels on a Solar Edge HD Wave set up, and a 10kW battery with a 3kW AC coupled charger.
This week I have been charging the battery to between 70-80% on the overnight 5p tariff (I still have until August) the battery then provides power from 4am until about 10am where by then the PV is generating enough to cover the house (Battery down to 10-20%. From about 10:30 there has been excess generation so the battery is charged up again. The last 3 days the battery has been back at 100% by 2pm ish so I have then connected the car via the Zappi until the sun drops away. (I've put about 8kWh into the car over 3 days.)
In the evening the battery is running household demand and has been down to about 20% by midnight when the cheap power kicks in again.

Demand for Grid power only comes with high draw items, we try and run the Dishwasher and Washer overnight (12 - 4) or during the day when sunny. I have limited the battery output to 2kW to be slightly kinder to it. Unfortunately we also have another high demand item attached to the house so I still consume a lot of grid energy but if that device is turned off I can see us being down to 25% from grid to run the house during the sunnier months, maybe less.

On the VAT front unfortunately I retrofitted the batteries in February and have paid 20% VAT :(
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MattgID3
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Post by MattgID3 » Fri Mar 25, 2022 3:14 pm

Im looking at fetting solar panels and planning to get quotes over next week. Batteries are too dear for me as im also planning to get an ev charger and have budget of £6000. I am currently on cheep octopus go until the end of next jan. I have looked at options and am thinking of getting a hot water solar timer as an alternative to a battery to get free hot water and use the cars where possible to also charge.
Am i correct in saying that i can also stay on go and sell vack any excess beyond this for 4 1p per KW?
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SteveH
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Post by SteveH » Fri Mar 25, 2022 3:26 pm

Splitty wrote:
Fri Mar 25, 2022 6:57 am
Yes, it’s odd how people rush down the road of payback when that wasn’t one of my primary concerns.
I've been pondering solar for a while, and the primary reason for installing would be environmental. But its a lot of money, so we can't just write it off - we need to be able to recoup much of the investment in the future.

The main thing that's putting me off is that we don't know how long we're going to be in this house - may be 20 years, but also it may be 2-3, and solar panels don't add to the value of your home so we wouldn't be able to recoup the investment if we moved house relatively soon. (TBH, I would've put solar panels on the roof when I moved in in 2008 if I knew then that I'd still be here now)... Also the roof is relatively small, which might make it not worthwhile from a financial point of view.

But the idea that people don't need any payback if they are installing for environmental reasons just isn't sound - most people can't afford to just write off that amount of money, even if their primary reason for doing it isn't as an investment.

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