Free solar.

#1
WE had a chap knock on our door today promoting FREE solar power which got both myself and Mrs WF interested as we had been looking into the possibility of buying panels this year anyway. Last year we were quoted 13,000 for a 4 KwH system however we narrowly missed out on the 43p FIT so put it on the back burner so to speak.

Anyway, this chap explained to us that we could have the panels fitted absolutely free of charge, utterly no cost to outselves and all maintence would be undertaken by the company. We get the free electricity, the company in question gets the FIT and the export tarriff. As we are south facing and can get a 4kWH system up on roof we qualify and we are not tied with the mortgage provider as we own outright.

To myself, it seems pretty much win/win however is there anyone out there with expeiorence of these schemes and are there any major pitfalls we should be aware of. If we ever come to sell, I can't see having panels on the roof would put off any potential buyers and I'd like to think the free electricity THEy would get would not only act as an incentive but also help to keep the price up.

I appreciate one of the major benefits of solar is the long term gains, 27k profit over 25 years being a figure that I have seen quoted often however the initial outlay is hefty and if we can get some of the benefits without spending any money, would that be a viable trade-off?

All comments appreciated gentlemen. I'm keen, Mrs WF a bit less so however would like to hear from anyone who has experienced this before.
 
#2
Cant you just harvest the heat generated by your furious masturbation?
 

jarrod248

LE
Gallery Guru
#5
The opinion was it may be harder to sell and even paying for them made no economic sense as the govt subsidy is now less. Check moneysavingexpert for the facts and also the search on here.
 
#8
A friend in Germany was offered a similar set up. He did not go with it has he had to export to the grid a specific volume of power over a 10 year period. Any deficit would be settled in cash at the end of the 'contract' period. This could be monitored by having a gauge fitted. His neighbour went with it and nearly drove himself into an early grave with stress over whether he was hitting his monthly target.
 

jarrod248

LE
Gallery Guru
#10
That WOULD be a worry even though the upkeep and maintence is their responsibility. Just looking at MoneySaving Expert now, I didn't relaise he discussed these sort of things so cheers for the steer. We just missed out on the 43p FIT, its now 16 and looks set to go to 8 before being completely phased out over the next year or so. Electicity bills are set to double over next 5 years so that is my motivation however the issues with selling the property do concern me. We won't jump into this however i would like to make a decision over the next week.

Any other issues apart from saleability and maintenance? Any guys out there part of this scheme? I understand it is governement backed however can't find much online to support this.
They'll only take you on if your roof is directly south facing.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#11
The was loads on this a couple of years back, these only work if you are in during the day as the free electricity is what you produce during the day so anything you use at night for example you pay for. plus they quote you 15k worth of panels and fit 4k of kit. china expanded too fast and cant sell what they make now so bargains can be had.

that's why the best way is to pay for it yourself and you get the payments plus the electricity. the buyback tarrif was allways questionable and cant be sustained (not counting the fact that they just dont work in the UK) but the microgenerator payments are what make it worthwhile for them to offer it when they are due 25 years worth or a 500% markup. as far as I am aware no-one has worked out what happens if they go bust. wind power is the same the money isn't in the power made but the generator subsidy payments and maintenance contracts.

alternatively you could work out a battery bank, use the free power to charge it during the day then use it at night. some folks buy old night storage heaters and charge them that way. I know a few boaty people and they cant get enough power out of solar for their minimal needs but it does cut down on the generator useage. mainly though they don't have enough storage capacity.

you could look at home made water panels ala dick strawbridge which would cut on the immerser bills and lpg hobs work out better than electric ones or there are a few wood burners with little ovens hobs built in.

for the most part the free solar schemes were regarded like the toyota pruis as only being good for their smug value. they did a test on an average family and worked out that just turning the lights off when not it use and the heating down a bit they saved more. newer solar tech will slash prices and increase efficiencies within the next few years, china will flood africa with solar tech as economic aid I reckon.

some good debates on the calorific value of a pack of cheapo nightlite candles vs the cost of running a 60w light.
 
#13
As a rough guide, a 2.75 Kw system, since May last year, earlier figures not reliable due to buggered meter.

Produced 1531 units, exported 745 units, imported 2049. Trying to use the max and not over using and end up importing when a cloud goes over is a pain in the arse so just run the washer/heavy draw items during the day and not worry too much about it.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#14
the upkeep they don't bother with from what I've heard as its just washing the panels, the tech side has little to break. current panels are less than 10% efficient, if they combined solar and water they could quadruple the productivity from the same roof space. not cheap but a solar water panel with peltiers on the back is more efficient.

most of the tech is outdated and badly designed like the windmills some are so besotted with.

the tech is currently here where you can printout your own solar panels on plain paper with special ink which is rated better than current ones.

to run a laptop you need a dining table sized panel for 32w so if you work out your roof space you don't produce that much unless we have a very good summer.
 
#15
Had the people round for a survey. I'm not due south facing but there's something like a 45* arc they'll accept. Yes the keep the money. Yes you can use all the power you generate for free. You're tied into a 25 yr contract unless you do something bad ( like filling your basement with battery banks) or someone builds a block of flats in the way. They'll remove and refit the system twice during the contract if you need roof mods. It's not something for nothing as they get the FIT, you get the benefit in return for renting them your roof. I don't work for them- I use solar on my van so I've done some reading...


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jarrod248

LE
Gallery Guru
#16
I'd personally only consider it if I owned them but my electricity bill is only about £20 a month.
Loads of questions get flagged up when you dig around.
 
#17
WE had a chap knock on our door today promoting FREE solar power which got both myself and Mrs WF interested as we had been looking into the possibility of buying panels this year anyway. Last year we were quoted 13,000 for a 4 KwH system however we narrowly missed out on the 43p FIT so put it on the back burner so to speak.

Anyway, this chap explained to us that we could have the panels fitted absolutely free of charge, utterly no cost to outselves and all maintence would be undertaken by the company. We get the free electricity, the company in question gets the FIT and the export tarriff. As we are south facing and can get a 4kWH system up on roof we qualify and we are not tied with the mortgage provider as we own outright.

To myself, it seems pretty much win/win however is there anyone out there with expeiorence of these schemes and are there any major pitfalls we should be aware of. If we ever come to sell, I can't see having panels on the roof would put off any potential buyers and I'd like to think the free electricity THEy would get would not only act as an incentive but also help to keep the price up.

I appreciate one of the major benefits of solar is the long term gains, 27k profit over 25 years being a figure that I have seen quoted often however the initial outlay is hefty and if we can get some of the benefits without spending any money, would that be a viable trade-off?

All comments appreciated gentlemen. I'm keen, Mrs WF a bit less so however would like to hear from anyone who has experienced this before.
Go outside and stand in a sunny spot and you can get as much free solar as you want.
 
#18
Perhaps I am a total pessimist but I think we may be in the same situation with Solar Panels that we were in with double glazing many years ago . I can remember double glazing companies being created at a phenomenal rate promising all sorts of guarantees with their installation and going into receivership a few years later with the customers having worthless guarantees . In this world you get nothing for nothing ... if the solar panels start to fail in 10 years time I bet there will not be very many of the current installation companies around then to replace them foc ... I could of course be totally wrong ... but I have declined installation and not one house in the village in which I live has them fitted .

Edited to add ...

I also have significant reservations about being involved with what is essentially first generation design / installation .
 
#19
I looked into this a little while back. One of the things the company kept saying was that it would put value onto your house, (this was according to a large National daily newspaper). When I asked two local estate agents if having solar panels on my house would add value to it they both said no. Just another thing to think about.
 
#20
Perhaps I am a total pessimist but I think we may be in the same situation with Solar Panels that we were in with double glazing many years ago . I can remember double glazing companies being created at a phenomenal rate promising all sorts of guarantees with their installation and going into receivership a few years later with the customers having worthless guarantees . In this world you get nothing for nothing ... if the solar panels start to fail in 10 years time I bet there will not be very many of the current installation companies around then to replace them foc ... I could of course be totally wrong ... but I have declined installation and not one house in the village in which I live has them fitted .

Edited to add ...

I also have significant reservations about being involved with what is essentially first generation design / installation .
Difference being that you don't own the panels. If they fail the fitting company stand to lose. You only lose what you were getting for 'free'. PV arrays have been in use for decades now - just look around Europe and you'll see them everywhere.


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