Solar panels.

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Gibbo2286
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Solar panels.

Post by Gibbo2286 »

Contemplating buying a solar panel set up for my house, anyone with direct experience?

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CitroJim
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Re: Solar panels.

Post by CitroJim »

They are a magnet for flying rats (urban pigeons). The roost around them, make a frightful mess and become an utter pest...

The few houses in my road that has them are nothing but pigeon roosts...

I'm not sure what attracts them... They seem to roost and nest underneath them but even when the undersides are closed with mesh they still flock around them...

Do they run warm perhaps?

Horrible...

I think, if you can crack the pigeon problem, they might be worth it but check the cost/return equation very carefully... I know of one person who has them and they give very little back but then again the panels are knee-deep in pigeon poo and covered in the despicable creatures for the biggest part of the day :evil:

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Re: Solar panels.

Post by Peter.N. »

We had some free ones installed about 6 years ago on the 'rent a roof' scheme, you get free electricity (when the sun shines) from them but no payment for power you put into the grid.

If you are careful, and can educate your wife to use the power when its there it can make quite a saving, mine are rated at 4kw but I have never seen more than 2.75kw but even that amounts to a saving of about 40p per hour if you can make use of all of it.

You do need bright sunshine to get any amount of power from them, they give very little on a dull day, a bright cloudy day might give you 1 kw but on a day like today about 50-60 watts.

There are things you can do to make the most of it such as using your tumble drier on low heat, this can mean that its running solely from the panels and not drawing any power from the mains supply.

Peter

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Re: Solar panels.

Post by Gibbo2286 »

Thanks Jim, Peter, I don't have a wife to educate :) and pigeons don't seem to be much of a presence around here so maybe not to worry about that.
I've got two reps coming to quote on Friday and next Monday so we'll see what they have to say.

The house directly in front of mine is having them fitted this week, scaffolding is going up now so that should be interesting to watch...........the scaffolders were supposed to arrive Friday and didn't turn up, had to be chased up by the irate householder who had taken a day off work, not a good start, they came on Sunday after a good bollocking from the guy. :) and are still at it.

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demag
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Re: Solar panels.

Post by demag »

A friend had some fitted a few years ago on one of the schemes but said he hasn't noticed any difference in bills.

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Re: Solar panels.

Post by MikeT »

Solar panels do get quite warm, hence the need for an air gap. I guess the pigoens are attracted to that. A cut-out bird of prey might keep them away. Failing that, you are allowed to shoot them so not only can you get free energy, free food too! Win, win.

The scheme is a rip-off imo. Last time I checked the fine-print, they charge you full price for what you use and give a pittance for what you put into the grid. Not to mention all the other captcha's you're tied into in their greedy lengthy contract. Any electric my small system produces, I keep. Either using it directly or storing it in batteries (old car batteries that are free) and no contract.

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Re: Solar panels.

Post by Gibbo2286 »

I've no intention of renting my roof out MikeT, outright buy or nothing.

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Re: Solar panels.

Post by Richard_C »

I'v been thinking about this on and off for a few years, still not done it an may never do it despite having an ideal large south facing roof.

I read something a while ago about the no cost/rent a roof schemes and difficulties if you want to move or re-mortgage. Different mortgage lenders may take a different view. If I were buying I would be reluctant to make an offer on a house with a "sitting tenant" (some panels) on the roof. So that leaves the cash option.

The economics of buying them with your own money is hard to work out. Lots of variables. On the cost side there is the £££ to buy. Then you add the opportunity cost - what that money would earn if it wasn't on the roof - so if you have the money and its earning 0.5% in the bank the opportunity cost is minimal for now, may change as interest rates rise. If you don't have the money to hand you have to add the interest cost. Not sure about maintenance and servicing, I guess if they are up there for 25 years they might need the odd wash and brackets/connections servicing and if I had them now I would be thinking "I'll be 90 by then so no chance of getting on the roof to do it myself". The biggest variable is service life - they haven't been around long enough and in high enough numbers for anyone to really know - so maybe you need to work out total cost over 15, 20, 25 years. One thing is almost certain, the company that fits then won't be around for as long as the panels - they seem to be like double glazing firms of the 80's - whoosh they've gone.* I wonder if some of them make more money out of selling finance packages than panels.

So - with a few sums you can come up with the best/worst case scenario on total cost .... then you have to work out the savings which of course will depend on how much energy you don't buy, how much you sell, and the price of that energy. Electricity prices correlate pretty strongly with long term oil prices so you need to estimate that, and as its all priced in dollars you need to adjust for any GBP/USD changes. But, keep going and you can come up with a best and worst case on savings. Then you can do a best worst case sum.

I did all this when oil prices shot up a few years back, and found the 'advertised savings' all based on best case costs and savings, my real world sums were different, any advantage was marginal so I didn't go ahead.
Panels are cheaper now so it might work, but I was a little sceptical about the whole industry when feed in tariffs dropped and panel prices dropped almost overnight - struck me that panel suppliers were marking up to the max they could get and still be able to sell some.

Cost aside, I might be persuaded by environmental benefits but wonder if (on a domestic scale) the total impact of sourcing the esoteric materials, fitting and ultimately disposing of panels makes much sense end to end. A bit more low tech insulation and energy saving might be more effective.

*if you are looking at installers, look them up on companies house website then click on any directors to see where else they have been. A friend had panels installed, had a rainwater leak, found installer had gone into administration. I looked them up and saw one Director had a history of setting up/closing 'energy consultancies' at the rate of one every 2 years or so, presumably leaving unpaid suppliers, landlords and abandoned customers each time. Take care.

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CitroJim
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Re: Solar panels.

Post by CitroJim »

MikeT wrote:
08 Jan 2018, 15:33
A cut-out bird of prey might keep them away. Failing that, you are allowed to shoot them so not only can you get free energy, free food too! Win, win.


Except I'm a vegetarian :lol:

A friend who has a massive pigeon problem with hers has considered having them shot. Shows what a problem they are; the lady in question is utterly soppy about animals and abhors cruelty in any form but is happy to shoot the pests...

Me, I'd get a raptor in to do the job... Supposedly the most effective method of control... A nice Harris Hawk would be perfect...
Richard_C wrote:
08 Jan 2018, 16:54
The economics of buying them with your own money is hard to work out.
Yes, quite... You make some very valid points Richard... Your advice to proceed with great caution and much research is absolutely spot-on...

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Re: Solar panels.

Post by MikeT »

CitroJim wrote:
08 Jan 2018, 17:53
MikeT wrote:
08 Jan 2018, 15:33
A cut-out bird of prey might keep them away. Failing that, you are allowed to shoot them so not only can you get free energy, free food too! Win, win.


Except I'm a vegetarian :lol:

A friend who has a massive pigeon problem with hers has considered having them shot. Shows what a problem they are; the lady in question is utterly soppy about animals and abhors cruelty in any form but is happy to shoot the pests...

Me, I'd get a raptor in to do the job... Supposedly the most effective method of control... A nice Harris Hawk would be perfect...


Being a veggie Jim, you could trade them with an allotment keeper who can't grow pigeon? :lol:

I too am against animal cruelty but if we create a problem, we should take some responsibility for it. Shooting them isn't ideal though it's law to ensure they are culled as humanely as possible so a marksman should be sought or get a decent air rifle and hone your skills at a local club for less.

Having flown many BoP's and even gone rabbit hunting with a pair of Harris Hawks, I know where you're coming from but like my desire to get another dog, I just can't reliably provide for their needs.

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CitroJim
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Re: Solar panels.

Post by CitroJim »

MikeT wrote:
08 Jan 2018, 18:27
Being a veggie Jim, you could trade them with an allotment keeper who can't grow pigeon? :lol:



Good thinking Mike :D

I couldn't provide what a Harris Hawk needs either but I love them... Went on a raptor handling experience a few years ago and fell in love with them then...

Image

Aren't they beautiful :-D

I had a raptor take a very great interest in me when out on my bike last summer... It flew alongside me for miles... I wonder if it was sizing me up for a meal and then decided I was all skin and bones and not really a good prospect for a nourishing meal :lol:

I'm wondering what the rules governing a marksman picking pigeons off a house roof with an air rifle in a densely populated area are?

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Re: Solar panels.

Post by myglaren »

I had some fitted a couple of years ago and can't say I have noticed much difference. I do try and use them as much as possible but my son seems to always use the washe and tumble dryer when it is dusk :(

There are lots of pigeons around here, along with squads of magpies but they seem to steer well clear of the solar panels.
Bloke next door has just built an aviary with a buzzard in it, which should keep them away.

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Re: Solar panels.

Post by MikeT »

CitroJim wrote:
08 Jan 2018, 18:43

I had a raptor take a very great interest in me when out on my bike last summer... It flew alongside me for miles... I wonder if it was sizing me up for a meal and then decided I was all skin and bones and not really a good prospect for a nourishing meal :lol:

I'm wondering what the rules governing a marksman picking pigeons off a house roof with an air rifle in a densely populated area are?


I've seen juvenile's try and tackle a too big meal so maybe it was eyeing you up or perhaps you had the effect of flushing out potential meals from the verges you pass?

Re air rifles, that's a good point. You must not allow the pellets to travel outside the area of your control nor shoot within 50yds of a road IIRC.
Maybe a cat ladder to encourage local moggies to patrol our roofs? It's not like they have much else to do :-D

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Re: Solar panels.

Post by Peter.N. »

We have had ours for about 6 years and I keep a pad in the loo (we have a very old house and that's where the fuseboxes are and yes I mean fuseboxes!) and note how much electricity we use each week. We are now in the darkest/coldest period and now using around 200kw per week including the off peak. As soon as the days start getting longer and warmer of course I see the figures dropping until in the summer we are only using 100kw per week.

The off peak drops because we use some for heating but the expensive daytime power goes down by about 50%, I can give you some figures if you like. We have never had a problem with ours in the six years we have had it except the trip dropped out once, when I noticed there was no power from the panels I reset it and its been fine ever since, that was several years ago.

Our bill drops by about £40 per month in the summer. I have a clip on AC ammeter in the loo so I can check the power output at any time, its giving a maximum of about 2kw at present and not for very long but as the days lengthen the output goes up to about 2.5 Kw but for much longer of course.

You do have to change your habits to make the best use of the daylight hours, if you can use the washing machine, tumble drier and dishwasher when the sun is shining it can make quite a difference. If the sun doesn't shine use them at night on the off peak, that saves quite a bit as the electricity is only about a third of the price. We are prepared to do that because we are on a state pension, if you are earning you may not think it worth the bother.

Peter

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Re: Solar panels.

Post by Gibbo2286 »

I don't have a day/night rate meter Peter, I had economy 7 until a couple of years ago then had a smart meter fitted so it's all one rate now.
I'm pretty economical (miserly) :) with my energy use anyway.

I won't be signing up for anything until I've worked out all the ins and outs.