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 Post subject: Solar panels
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 5:24 pm 
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Can anybody give me any input as to what sort of money I should be paying for a solar panel system for a 4 bedroom house and what system I would need?


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 Post subject: Re: Solar panels
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 5:27 pm 
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More than you'll ever get back from them........

yeah, I know, not very helpful but you really need to look at ALL the costs involved and over a decent period of time. Subsidies are being reduced all the time and no matter what promises are made by Government I'm sure they'll renege on them as finances become increasingly tight.

The practical aspects are probably more important - will you be keeping the property? what about upkeep and repairs? what about damage to your roof? etc etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Solar panels
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 5:55 pm 
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We will be keeping it for a long time.

What sort of repairs would you be looking at?


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 Post subject: Re: Solar panels
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 5:56 pm 
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You'd be better investing in some decent insulation for your home and an efficient boiler. Some energy rated windows as well. If you live until your 100 you might see a return on your investment with solar panels :lol: the thing is I continuously get bombarded with phone calls telling me how great solar panels are and they will pay for themselves in a few years in sunny fife :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: Solar panels
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 6:16 pm 
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Solar panel longevity is yet to be established and there are questions to be answered over their efficiency losses over time. NO suppliers (that I've ever heard of) will give you the full and honest truth on their ability to produce power. They will quote you the manufacturers figures which are very much 'theory' (full sunlight, midday on the equator kind of thing) and no-one - especially the Met Office - can tell you what weather you'll be operating them in.

The inverters that put the power back into the system (or into your own home) are also quite highly stressed unless the product is top-of-the-range therefore could be prone to failure. Obviously guarantees are important and will protect you for three years or so but you WON'T get a guarantee for power produced!

The installation WILL compromise your roof and repairs to any roof aren't cheap.

If you're looking to tap the subsidy market then weigh up the pro's and con's ESPECIALLY time-to-break-even which, I think you'll find, that even WITHOUT interim problems/faults it'll be 15 years+ before you see any profits.

Then again, if you're doing it as a magnanimous gesture in support of our 'doomed' planet :roll: then what's money got to do with it?

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 Post subject: Re: Solar panels
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 6:29 pm 
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Has anybody on here installed them and regrets doing so or would recommend installing them?

Thanks for the comments they have swayed me towards not bothering.


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 Post subject: Re: Solar panels
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 7:10 pm 
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It would be nice to hear something positive (truthful) about such installations - first-hand experience would serve the general public as a whole very well indeed.

My closest experience of it is from my brother-in-law who has a 4kW system fitted. He has provided me with a years worth of data (energy output) and the average was 3kW PER DAY over a year. This equates to an average 125 watt-hours - enough to light two converntional 60W light bulbs - or boil two kettles of water ..... and nothing else.........

Mind you, he lives in central Scotland :roll: so I'd increase those figures by 20-30% for somewhere doon sooth :lol:

You could always do it the "Spanish Way" (i.e. diesel genny feeding the board :lol: )

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 Post subject: Re: Solar panels
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 7:30 pm 
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I've just reviewed his figures.

maximum (ever) output was week 35 (end of May) where he got 95kW.

based on (say) an 10 hour day (end of May, early June???), 7 day week (duh...) that's 70 hours @, theoretically 4kW/hr (the rating of his panels) so he COULD achieve a maximum output 280kW.

The 90kW max gives him a MAXIMUM operating efficiency of 32% - somehow I don't think the suppliers would have mentioned THAT little fact????

Worst case was 27 weeks (over the year) where power output was under 10kW per WEEK (an efficiency of 3.5%) and many of those weeks were actually around 1 to 2kW....... go figure. Bad weather? Bad luck? Bad decision?

Based on an 8 hour day (over the full year) the efficiency works out at (output/(365*8*4))*100% = 10.5% (where output for the year in his case was 1226kW).

There's the figures.

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 Post subject: Re: Solar panels
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 7:43 pm 
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Oh...and My sister had them installed...

Apparently after they'd had the leaks fixed (Which were not covered by either the warranty OR their houshold insurance)

They then found that the AAV for their vent pipe had been blocked :scratch: :scratch:

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 Post subject: Re: Solar panels
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 9:01 pm 
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My opinion on solar panels.
In order to be of any use you need BRIGHT SUNSHINE Now let me ask you this when do we get that?
Or try it this way.
12 months in a year.
1/2 of everyday its dark so that leaves 6 months
Of the 6 months left its going to snow rain and or hail lets say for 3 months in every 12
That means that IF the sunshine is bright the best you can get is 3 months of sunshine, even if you said 4 months, are you going to pay a lot of money for 4 months worth of electricity.

Solar is just not worth it for the UK

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 Post subject: Re: Solar panels
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 9:13 pm 
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They make your house look Fugly too, if you wanna be good to the environment, insulated, then insulate some more, always replace everything as it breaks/wears out with the most energy efficent replacement items & if its a new build, fit a geo-thermal heat pump via under floor heating.

Solar panels only payback in the Tropics, the only thing they are good for is showing your trying otherwise they're are useless in the UK.

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 Post subject: Re: Solar panels
PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 12:03 pm 
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Hi new here, My partner & I had panels fitted on the same size of property in 2011 before they changed the tariff, so we paid a lot, double figures. I think its a 4kw system theirs 20 panels on the roof. We have not had to pay an electric bill since we got them & we get a good return on them, they'll have paid for their self in 6 year. Oh & we live in central scotland, been getting very high wind, trees down, roofs off, but we've not had a problem. I think the type of panel is important ours are high efficiency, and even if its a very dull day they still work well. I don't know if they'd be worth is now but i'm glad we got them.
Does any1 know if i'll lose the FIT if something happens to my partner, as my names not on the electric bills or FIT returns letter or cheque, or if we sell the house will the new owners get the same FIT. :?


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 Post subject: Re: Solar panels
PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 1:44 pm 
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heeelllooo and welcome jolo :welcome: :welcome: :welcome:

i would assume its the installation that attracts the money otherwise you could never sell your house :?

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 Post subject: Re: Solar panels
PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 2:45 pm 
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I hope to never sell my house, I just wish to know if the FIT would be altered. Also I have a 2yr old & a baby who will be 14wks old on xmas day, so there are days i'm doing up to 6 washes and drying of small messy ones washing. baby monitors, sterilisers, the constant recharging of batteries for the multitude of toys, granny keeps buying, plus the tv constantly on cbeebies aaargh! sorry was having a melt down :binky: we use a really lot of electricity. My partner has informed me that our panels will actually pay for themselves in 3-4yrs, I did not take into account the fact that we don't pay for our electricity. :huray:


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 Post subject: Re: Solar panels
PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 3:27 pm 
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Jolo - your base electricity consumption is (mainly) calculated on the large energy-consumption devices, the washing machine and heating - both home and hot water - are the main culprits. Items such as battery chargers and baby monitors consume so little they aren't worthy of consideration i.e. forgetting to turn the heating off one day would equal ALL the electricity the chargers/baby monitor use in a year.....

It's wise to keep a sense of proportion when discussing eenrgy needs and savings to be made. There comes a point where the savings aren't worth the effort/inconvenience.

Either way, you are one of the lucky ones who got in while the going was good. The FiTs were (are) overly-generous and, some would say, only serve to increase the bills for those unable to take advantage of FiTs in the first place.

Enjoy the benefits while you can as the first time there is a problem with the system it will wipe out a good percentage of any savings you ever make. You might be lucky to have a system that NEVER goes wrong and you might also be lucky to keep the FiTs at the level you started but there are no guarantees in life.

I know I sound pessimistic about your system and confess to being totally against subsidising power generation in this way but for those who took advantage whilst the going was good then count yourself lucky and 'make hay whilst the sun shines'.

If you don't have insurance to cover the cost of repairs/damage that could 'potentially' arise then it might be worth checking out any that's going around. Don't forget, your household insurance may not cover for any damage caused by the solar panels (for example) ripping your roof off in a storm!

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