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Solar Panels

Community Veteran
Posts: 10,880
Thanks: 2,360
Fixes: 16
Registered: ‎02-08-2007

Solar Panels

I notice a number of new house builds in this area include solar panels on the roof. No doubt these will save the owners some money and help the environment but how cost effective are solar panels if you had them fitted today ? How long would it take before you got the cost of your investment back ? Keeping in mind maintenance costs such as cleaning etc need to be added.

Those who fitted them in the early days got a good subsidy from the government for a set number of years but in recent times this has been reduced so do they still remain a good purchase or are they being pushed simply because they are good for the enviroment but of little or no financial benefit to users ?

Personally I would not be getting them simply because I will not be around long enough to get any possible gains on such an investment.

I ask the question as there seems mixed opinions on those who have these systems.

We are born into history and history is born into us.
Not applicable

Re: Solar Panels

@gleneagles as you are well aware there are many variables in this so knowing how long it will take to get a RoI is not always easy, but you may want to have a look here, for curiosity if nothing else.

Seasoned Pro
Posts: 1,042
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Registered: ‎22-11-2014

Re: Solar Panels

Best investment I ever made. Bought mine 5 years ago and they have paid for themselves already, plus more (in generation payments and less electricity use)! The subsidies were good in the beginning, but panel prices were high. When the subsidy dropped, so did the cost of the panels. We paid £4500 for a 3kw system 5 years ago, 17p per unit generated and 5p per unit export (+ inflation). Not so sure I would buy them now just for the subsidy.


Posts: 1,115
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Registered: ‎30-10-2011

Re: Solar Panels

A friend of mine had panels installed when the FIT payments were at their highest - he reckons his installation paid for itself in 6 years, giving him 19 years of pure profit given the expected life expectancy of the panels of 25 years.

Very different now - I've read that the payback time is as much as 99 years for the average installation - 4 times the life expectancy of the panels! Crazy2

Seasoned Hero
Posts: 6,778
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Registered: ‎30-06-2016

Re: Solar Panels

Today's payment tariff is pathetic compared with the past. If you have a new build and have the panels installed at the same time as you have roofers and electricians on site then the installation cost will be minimal. In this case it is probably worth the investment. The cost of the extra material and labour will be lost in the total building cost.

However, the cost of retrospective installation these days is dominated by the the cost of scaffolding, professional roofers who know what they are doing to install the panels, professional electricians to run cables from the roof through the house to the inverter location plus cabling, switchgear etc. from the inverter back to the consumer unit. They will also need to inspect your house wiring, I needed additional bonding to meet the latest standards before the electrical safety certificate was provided, needed to get tarrif payments You also need to provide an EPC certificate, which may entail the cost of a survey plus the need to upgrade roof insulation. In my opinion it is no longer worth the cost and hassle.

In my experience maintenance cost is dominated by inverter reliability. Mine came with a five year warranty and failed after five years six months! The replacement now has a 10 year warranty. The panels are self cleaning.