The information on this page about the generation we have achieved from our 22 panel SolarPv array on our East facing roof is purely personal and unbiased. The figures below show how variable the sunshine (and actual Solar Generation that has been achieved) in South East Northumberland, season to season, year by year since May 2010 when we paid £15,000 to have it installed (installation costs have reduced significantly since then though)
Over the 72 months that the system had been installed from May 2010, working and owned by us, we had received a total of £9,189.62 in Fits Payments, which equates to 59.3% of the installation costs tax free, plus we had savings on our monthly Electricity bills so yes, it had been a very worthwhile investment.
However, as of July 25th 2016 we sold the system to a 3rd party, Solar Equity Release, for a cash lump sum plus a 4.8kw battery backup pack.
Why sell? Well we have recouped more than our initial outlay when you add in the Fits payments paid to the cash sum we received on sale. Plus there was the value of the 4kw battery storage pack and we still retain the reduction in electricity bills the Solar PV system gives. We will reduce our future bills by still using generation from the SolarPv system on our roof, plus the power supplied via the battery storage system which is setup to charge the batteries 1st, then power the house, then export to the grid any unused energy.
It’s a ‘win win’ situation as far as we are concerned as we have no ongoing maintenance or repair costs, no administration work supplying output figures or claiming FITS payments as generation readings are all sent via a new ‘smart meter’ which was installed when the battery storage system went live.
Looking at the graph above it does show clearly that the amount of electricity generated varies considerably over the seasons but what does that actually mean for us?
Whilst the 1st chart shows the monthly seasonal variations in generation achieved, it is useful to look at what that actually means in practice. The 2nd chart above covering 2018 shows how much generation we recorded versus the electricity we have had to buy.
In the Winter Months Solar Power alone is simply not enough for our household needs and we still have to pay for electricity (and that is likely to apply to most private installations in the UK). In the summer there is still a small amount of electricity to pay for, though the figures do include a ‘standing charge’ to the suppliers, in this case OVO Energy, but overall our electricity bill is lower than it would be without the Free Solar Electricity produced.
Would things be better if we had a South facing roof installation or we had split the panels on the East and West sides? that we do not know but when the system was installed having maximum generation in the morning was most beneficial to us.
The first graph does show that from July 2016 when the battery storage system was installed, overall generation output to the system meter fell. Now was that because the systems charges the battery packs 1st before sending the power out to the Home and Grid, or was it simply down to a reduced amount of generation because of a lack of sunshine? For us it doesn’t matter as we are no longer claiming the FITS payments.
We will have to monitor things a while longer before we can draw any firm conclusions on that point.
So should you install SolarPv on your roof?
There are numerous factors involved in deciding whether to proceed including installation costs, roof direction and location, but please do your own research and don’t rely on some smooth talking ‘salesman’s’ advice and beware of people advising you to take out a loan to cover the cost which is rarely good advice.
Please Note: Subsequent system installations qualified for a smaller FIT payment, but cost less to install as prices reduced considerably and from 2016, incentives for new Domestic Installations ceased to be paid.
From 2020 New SolarPv Installations that meet certain requirements may qualify for a Smart Income Guarantee