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Does anyone have solar panels?

(14 Posts)
annh Thu 03-Sep-09 20:18:05

DH and I are considering having these installed on our house. Does anyone have any and care to share their views?

annh Fri 04-Sep-09 10:54:17

Sniff! Someone must have them? Pleeese! It is a lot of money to spend.

DebiTheScot Fri 04-Sep-09 11:53:00

My parents do and are very happy with them. The council gave them a grant to pay for half of them.
I think they are expecting it to take quite a few years (about 10 I htink but I could be wrong) for them to pay for themselves but they did it more for the environmental reasons than the money.
The live in Scotland and have been surprised how much hot water they get even od quite dull days. They only have to use the boiler for hot water for about 4 months a year I think.

GrendelsMum Fri 04-Sep-09 13:38:08

I know some people who had them in their holiday home in Scotland, and said the great advantage was that they could arrive off the overnight train and have a warm (not hot, but not cold) shower immediately, rather than having to put the heater on and wait for the water to warm up.

I'd probably go for them if we didn't live in a listed house.

1dilemma Fri 04-Sep-09 22:51:15

my in laws (at my suggestion) they are very pleased they got them but they were having a house built

(my personal opinion is that it should be illegal not to have them (unless sound no sun type reasons and that they should be on the roof of all hospitals/schools/gov offices etc-much better use of taxes than half the stuff they are spent on!)

annh Sat 05-Sep-09 09:47:11

Thanks everyone, I think we are going to go ahead. There is a 2,500 pound grant towards it at the moment and long term it is probably something that everyone will be encouraged to do anyway. Interesting re putting them on the rof of new buildings - I am a school governor and when we built a new school about 4 years ago we asked for all kinds of environmentally-friendly or cost-saving options like grey water and solar panels. All of them got dropped from the final plans because of budgetary reasons! Now we are left with much higher utility bills!

GrendelsMum Sat 05-Sep-09 14:18:45

Our local primary looked into them but decided that solar panels weren't cost effective for a school, as they were going to get most hot water over the summer holidays when the children weren't there. I believe they did decide to go for a wood-pellet burning stove, though.

gallery Mon 07-Sep-09 15:48:56

just read the chapter on solar power in David McKays book sustainable energy without the hot air- you can download on line not got a link as I bought book but just google it. He offers some suggestions to consider,like going for water heating versus electricity generation and perhaps you will be able to work out a payback calculation from his notes

ib Mon 07-Sep-09 15:51:14

I have them - both PV and thermal.

I would say that thermal are worth it, PV are a PITA and aren't if you can possibly get mains electricity (we can't).

Itsjustafleshwound Mon 07-Sep-09 15:53:56

My mum was keen on solar heating but my dad (who is in the know about building matters) wasn't so keen in that he was saying that it takes a long time to recoup the costs and if you live in a hard water area the chances are that the system will be choked up with limescale ... ??

snorkie Mon 07-Sep-09 18:37:46

what sort are you getting annh? DO you have to have the full recommended amount of loft insulation to get the grant? I'd love some solar thermal panels

Rhumba Mon 07-Sep-09 20:36:04

where are your parents debi? I'm in Glasgow and just can't believe that anywhere on the west coast is light enough?

DebiTheScot Mon 07-Sep-09 22:43:44

rhumba they are in Dundee- sunniest city in Sotland! They do say they get quite a lot of hot water even on dull days though.

dikkertjedap Tue 08-Sep-09 12:40:48

At the moment the payback time is still very long and moreover new solar panels are being developed using new South African technology which does not require silicon (which is increasingly scarce and hence more and more expensive), also these new tiles will be flexible, thinner and it is argued more efficient (and cheaper). The technology has been licensed to the leading solar panel producer in Germany (question what the incentive is on them to introduce this rival technology quickly???).

At present, best ways of reducing energy consumption and carbon footprint are still loft insulation, cavity wall insulation (houses with solid wall can be given a special type of coating using NASA technology), then a long way behind this in cost effectiveness terms double glazing, then heat pumps (air and/or ground, requires special radiators or preferably underfloor heating) and then solar panels. Solar panels for water heating are more cost efficient then solar panels for electricity, however, heat pumps would be more efficient as they lower heating costs during the winter by pre-warming the water.

I would like to install solar panels but have decided to first install a ground source heatpump and when the new tiles come on the market than have them installed to replace current slate tiles.

Good luck with your decision.

Good luck.

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