In November 2011 we decided to have Solar panels installed. The ‘other half’ had been researching them for years, way before the Govt decided to encourage people to get them. Trying to be a bit more self sufficient he also wanted a generator and a woodturner, two out of three isn’t bad, but he’s still angling for a generator in the garage.
Although we live in the North West the back of the house is full south facing so we invested a bit of the pension money on having them installed, as it was fairly early days the panels were expensive but the government ‘feed in tariff’ (the subsidy you get for having them installed) was at its initial highest rate so we thought it would offset the cost.
Now it’s five years on what do we think, well, we love them.
Through the summer months when we have longer days our electricity is in credit which helps towards the cost of the dark winter months when bills are higher. We have a reader which shows how much electricity we are producing and how much has been earned that day. This shows we are using our own electricity to charge the kindle.
I know not everyone is in a position to invest in solar panels but I know you can have them installed for free by some energy companies, councils and housing associations. My friend did this so I asked what she thought of them.
She doesn’t earn any money as they belong to the energy company but the savings on her bills have been enormous. In fact she does all of the laundry belonging to her four grand-daughters to help her daughter save on electricity. She said (and I agree) the people who benefit most are those at home in the daytime. You can do laundry, cooking and use major appliances while the solar panels are producing electricity, they don’t store electricity so when the sun goes down you revert back to the national grid like everyone else.
I think if you can have them installed for free it’s worth it as they do help cut your bills. In our case we have probably recouped half of our initial outlay so far, but while doing this we have benefitted from producing our own electricity and saved on bills.
If you’re thinking of Solar panels do your research. Find a company with good references wether you’re paying or having a free installation. And if you can, visit someone who’s already had them installed by your chosen company.
So in answer to my own question, Are solar panels worth it? In my opinion, YES they are.