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Photovoltaic / solar panels

Posted: Sun 12 Aug 2018 09:59
by Mimmi
We are considering putting up 50 sqm of solar panels on our pitch roof. Has anyone any experience with it (product, cost, where to buy,... )? Any information welcome.

Posted: Wed 15 Aug 2018 22:50
by martyn94
None whatsoever. But get at least three quotes. It seems like scam central,, pretty much anywhere. I assume your orientation is right: it seems like a big roof.

solar panels

Posted: Thu 16 Aug 2018 08:41
by Mimmi
Thanks Martyn, refering to possible scams: this is why we are trying to collect as much information as possible.

Posted: Thu 16 Aug 2018 12:32
by Pighunter
I can enlighten you with my experiences but this will take some time to put together.

I have some other things that need to be addressed first and of course the hunting season has now started, so please bear with me and I will let you have chapter and verse shortly.

Posted: Sun 19 Aug 2018 10:37
by Pighunter
OK here is my experience of solar panels. I wouldn’t say that I was scammed but there are many elements that were unsatisfactory, so I would urge extreme caution to anyone embarking on this. Most importantly don’t rely on what the salesman tells you, get written replies to your questions as M.Commercial will tell you what you want to hear, as you will see………
I am not technically competent in this area and have had to rely on others for the advice stated below.
I had money in the bank earning next to nothing, live in an area where it is more often sunny than not and am always happy to do my bit for the environment and my wallet. My neighbour has had a revente (resale) system for some time and had decided to install own use solar panels in addition, mainly so that the power supply would continue in the event of a power cut (wrong - see later!) He had recommended me to the installers, which would earn him a couple of hundred euros, fair enough.
Cue M.Commercial who breezed in for the kill. My neighbour is a shrewd builder, has done a lot of work for me and the previous owners of my house and I have 100% confidence in him, so I was not as cautious as I would have been otherwise. We went through the various options, own use and revente. For a system of own use without batteries the excess electricity produced goes back to EDF for free – lucky them! It is my opinion that battery technology is not yet good enough to warrant their expense, ongoing maintenance and eventual replacement (confirmed by a friend who previously worked in solar panels who said he only recommended batteries for fully off the grid people.)
I asked M.Commercial whether if I had both own use and revente fitted, the excess produced by the own use could be used to augment the revente. ‘Of course’ he said which turned out to be completely false, once I asked the same question of the fitters, who said the technology didn’t yet exist (but I believe now does – see later.) As mentioned above he also told my neighbour that the system would continue to operate in the event of a power cut (his main reason for fitting them,) which it doesn’t due to the need to protect the workers repairing the line. I didn’t notice his nose growing but it must have been doing so rapidly.
All sorts of promises were made, I was baffled by technology and the idea of earning 11% on my capital rather than .5% made ultimate sense, so I agreed to proceed for a considerable sum. That was at the end of September and by the beginning of December the work was done and the hardware was in place. The own use panels were working fine and I was delighted to see that when I was producing excess electricity the old mechanical meter turned backwards, but of course this was later replaced by a new digital meter which doesn’t. The revente system would have to wait for EDF to do the necessary which was not completed until the end of March, due to the failure of the installers to complete the job properly, which necessitated various revisits.
Some months later I noticed whilst doing my annual sweep of debris on the roof that many of the tiles had not been stuck back down but just placed in situ, causing them to crack when stepped on and possibly blow away in high winds. The roof also leaked quite badly during very heavy rain only, but fortunately this is not critical as it is the workshop and not the house roof. I called them back to rectify which they did rather reluctantly, fortunately before they went into liquidation.
I was recommended to a partner firm of accountants specialising in this area who managed to reclaim a substantial sum of VAT from the revente system and I got a meaningful reclamation from elements of the own use system, but I am not sure that this tax break still exists.
You should note that for revente, EDF are reluctant purchasers in what is a Government imposed scheme. They are a shambles, never respond to emails and the only way to contact them is via a premium rate phone line and they will make it as difficult as possible for you to get paid what you are due. At the end of year one I went online to input my readings and get my return on investment. There then began what ended up being 6 months of toing and froing and contractual and other unnecessary nonsense before I finally got paid. Nobody mentioned that at the point of sale. Year 2 I hoped would be better as all was in place from the year before, but it still took 2 months to get paid due to their hopeless online system which doesn’t work, meaning I had to manually fill out an invoice which arrived by post, following a call to the premium rate line.
Following the liquidation of the installers I was contacted by another firm (probably the same people in a different guise) offering to take over the guarantee. They came and quoted me a lot of money to install batteries and a system to divert any excess production from the own use system back to EDF for purchase. What they didn’t say is that as I am already producing the maximum permissible as an individual under revente, this would apparently reduce the rates payable and make me a commercial rather than an individual producer.
I questioned the battery technology issue and was told that this was no problem as they were guaranteed for 20 years – on reading the small print this was actually 5 years. Needless to say I didn’t go ahead.
In conclusion I don’t regret having the panels installed and have made a much better return on my investment than I would have done leaving it in the bank. Just be warned that it is not the golden egg that it is claimed to be, treat any claims made by salesmen with a sack of salt and verify in writing, and if you are considering revente be prepared for a bumpy ride with EDF.

Solar Penals

Posted: Sun 19 Aug 2018 17:01
by Mimmi
Thank you very much for this enlightening explanation. We didn't even know that there are two different systems. We just assumed EDF takes the excess and pays for it. False assumption obviously :shock:Seems that EDF is not too keen on taking excess electricity. What appliances do you run off the own use sytem? Probably it is not worth going through the trouble with EDF for the revente.

Posted: Mon 20 Aug 2018 09:46
by Pighunter
The own use system just feeds into the general supply and is used by whatever is running at the time, with any excess going back to EDF. At this time of year I have the pool pump running from 8am to 9pm, this pumps 25 cubic metres per hour and so uses quite a lot of electricity and obviously it pays to run washing machines, dishwashers etc when the sun is shining.

At least you are now a bit wiser!

Posted: Mon 20 Aug 2018 14:29
by martyn94
Pighunter wrote:I can enlighten you with my experiences but this will take some time to put together.

I have some other things that need to be addressed first and of course the hunting season has now started, so please bear with me and I will let you have chapter and verse shortly.
Surely that should have been “please boar with meâ€￾?

Posted: Tue 21 Aug 2018 10:29
by Pighunter
Tusk tusk tusk