Solar panels, are they worth it?

solar panels

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.

appliance charging by solar energy

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.


A Green and Rosie Life

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  • This is great, solar panels definitely are worth it financially and environmentally. I was curious about the environmental costs of the solar panel manufacturing process compared to the positive effects of producing clean energy, and I wrote a blog post about it that you can read here. Just like solar panels will eventually pay back for your initial investment, they also “pay back” the energy used to produce them, generally within two years. Hopefully in the future the energy used to produce the panels will itself be generated from a sustainable source as well!

  • I think solar is a wonderful idea. We have thought of using solar but at this point in our lives and being on a limited budget the cost couldn’t justify the cause, but if I was younger and was in a better financial place I would definitely do it. I didn’t realize that there were utility companies that would pay for them to be installed – I wish our utility company would do that. I see more and more solar panels being used all the time in our travels. Congratulations on being featured on #GoingGreenLinky ! Have a healthy, happy & blessed day. Pinned & tweeted!

    • Thank you Marla. Yes, you do need to weigh it all up, we’ve been wondering about downsizing but it wouldn’t make sense for at least another five years.

  • Interesting, O hadn’t heard about the free panels option before. We’re waiting till we get to our ‘forever home’ to install some. Even with the outlay, at least it’s something we can do to help the planet. #GoingGreen

  • We wanted to install solar panels when we renovated the gite but the price then was simply out of our reach and we felt bankrupting ourselves to go green was in fact not sustainable! The French Government did supply some money back but only over 20 years and it was too little too late for us. However we are doing a small extension soon and we will include solar panels to heat the water and these are cheaper to build. Our greatest electricity expenditure is spent on water heating (we have wood burners for heating the house/gite and I also cook on this in the winter so we feel water heating panels are the way to go for us … and we will be able to link the panels to the water tank in the gite so our guests will get the benefit too!

    Thank you for adding this post to #GoingGreenLinky and the next one opens on June 5th if you want to pop by then too.

  • I wish my husband was more interested. I’d love them, but we’ve had so much trouble with the roof, he’s worried about it caving in I think!

    • They do check your roof strength first, but it does make you anxious in the beginning. We had loads of questions answered first. If you have them put on for free they will to maintain them & make sure your roof is ok as it’s their investment.Maybe one day : )

  • We were thinking of solar panels, but it didn’t make sense when we looked into it. We had to wait for ~10 years to get our investment back, so it didn’t worth the hassle. I hope the things will get better. If it reaches 5 years, we would install them without a second thought. Reading your post made me want to have a chat with some solar panels providers, to see the new options we might get.

    • Yes Anca check out all the options, It was worth it when we did it although the panels were more expensive than now. My friend owns her home but has free solar panels and she’s very happy.