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Moving into a house with solar panels - do I need to worry?


Hi everyone, hope you're all doing well! I'm looking to move, and most of the houses in the area I'm looking to move to have solar panels preinstalled. Do I need to know about anything before I move into one? Another quick question that has always intrigued me - if you profit from solar panels by feeding back into the grid, will that count as income the same as a job, or will it just reduce energy bills and that's all. I've looked at sites like this tax calculator but really can't find much about it. It's not a hugely important question, just me being curious :8

Thanks in advance to any replies 🙂
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Best answer by Transparent 10 April 2018, 15:29

Hi @SamuelJennings,

There are loads of different questions embedded in what you've posted! :)

Firstly, you should be delighted... and definitely not worried!

There are different types of contract used when solar-panels are installed and Grid-connected. Hopefully others with solar panels will comment more on this as mine are off-grid. But your solicitor should be handling this as part of the house sale. It's important that you are informed about the Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) for that particular installation.

Do you know if the house already has a Smart Meter installed, and which Energy Company currently supplies the house?

Next year you will start to see a number of alternative strategies emerge whereby Energy Supply Companies will start to offer electricity tariffs which vary throughout the day. These also allow more flexibility in how and when you sell your solar-generated power to the Grid, if you choose to do so.

For example, owners with electric vehicles, or homes that get fitted with Grid-connected battery-storage, can elect to use the solar-energy to charge these devices. You can then instruct your Energy Supplier to resell your stored electricity for a profit at a level predefined by you.

These emerging technologies operate on top of the forthcoming SMETS2 software for Smart Meters, which isn't yet available. No one yet knows whether it will be more financially viable to retain the income from your own FIT, or whether Energy Suppliers will pay a better rate if you instruct them to resell your energy in order to meet peak demand.

These topics will progressively be discussed further on this Forum once details of the technology and matching tariff structures become available.
 

Updated 25/02/2020

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Hi @SamuelJennings,

There are loads of different questions embedded in what you've posted! :)

Firstly, you should be delighted... and definitely not worried!

There are different types of contract used when solar-panels are installed and Grid-connected. Hopefully others with solar panels will comment more on this as mine are off-grid. But your solicitor should be handling this as part of the house sale. It's important that you are informed about the Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) for that particular installation.

Do you know if the house already has a Smart Meter installed, and which Energy Company currently supplies the house?

Next year you will start to see a number of alternative strategies emerge whereby Energy Supply Companies will start to offer electricity tariffs which vary throughout the day. These also allow more flexibility in how and when you sell your solar-generated power to the Grid, if you choose to do so.

For example, owners with electric vehicles, or homes that get fitted with Grid-connected battery-storage, can elect to use the solar-energy to charge these devices. You can then instruct your Energy Supplier to resell your stored electricity for a profit at a level predefined by you.

These emerging technologies operate on top of the forthcoming SMETS2 software for Smart Meters, which isn't yet available. No one yet knows whether it will be more financially viable to retain the income from your own FIT, or whether Energy Suppliers will pay a better rate if you instruct them to resell your energy in order to meet peak demand.

These topics will progressively be discussed further on this Forum once details of the technology and matching tariff structures become available.
 

Updated 25/02/2020

Personally I don't think you'll profit from having solar panels installed, so income tax shouldn't come into it. However if you do I can imagine it will be taxable, and if so you will add it on top of your current salary (see here).

Transparent has a great answer there - and indeed, you should be delighted! :)

Any updates on the move? Hope it's all going great 😉
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Thanks for the update on this Topic @thadmories,

I'd forgotten that I did subsequently do a bit more research into the question of paying income tax on grid-connected micro-generation. There's a HMRC Guidance Note here which describes a 20% excess generation as non-taxable.

I think even that is arguable. After all, if your household were operating as a business, then you'd also be claiming the original capital cost of the solar-installation against tax.

I'd be interested to know what an Accountant thinks of this.
Thank You
Hi Steve,
just one thing to be wary of when you move into a property with pre existing panels...make sure that somewhere you have it in writing that you have bought the solar panels with the house, if that is the case. We didn't and are having to go through a lot of red tape to show that we own them. You will definitely benefit from them, and if you have an immersion heater and a hot water tank, have a SOLIC200 fitted. Free hot water everyday 🙂
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Good point @Hadstontyke. I hadn't heard of the SOLIC200 before but there's a good review here. Note that the reviewer is a qualified electrician and is therefore permitted to make the required connections inside the consumer unit. Buying in an electrician could double the cost of this strategy.

These solutions to maximising the use of solar energy will change over the next 5 years or so. Electrical energy is the highest grade we have because it can readily be changed into other types. I would expect to see a gradual shift towards it being more financially viable to store the output of solar PV panels using an electric vehicle (EV) or something like the OVO Home Storage Battery. This electricity can then be resold at a profit according to peak demand on the grid.

PV panels are actually only 16% efficient (max) due to the chemical properties of the silicon from which they're made. If you want to maximise sunlight energy to be used as heat for domestic water use, then you're better off installing solar thermal panels which are up to 90% efficient.

Unfortunately, government initiatives and subsidies have clouded the issue, leaving most consumers unaware of the differences between the financial viability of a strategy as opposed to its energy efficiency. As the payback time on installation of renewable energy systems is typically in excess of 10-years, we need to be making better-informed decisions on which strategies to adopt.

I have no doubt that this Forum will continue to generate much debate over the next few years as we start to see innovative new technologies hanging off the new generation of SMETS2 Smart Meters.
I can see that things have moved since we had our solar panels installed in 2014.. Thank you so much for the feedback. I think some reading will have to be done.
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If you'd like to start with some very informative reading, @Hadstontyke, you could do a lot worse than this page from Ofgem's site which outlines their forthcoming strategy.

The Government and Ofgem refer to the next stage of National Energy Management as Demand Side Response, but that term hasn't yet translated into common usage. It takes about 5 years to go through public consultations, build regulation structures and have them passed into law by Parliament. So if you want to see where Ofgem are basing the strategy, download this PDF of a PowerPoint presentation to Ofgem in 2014 by Tim Bailey and Peter Morgan of DECC.
The growing popularity of solar systems has seen an increase in suppliers over recent times. While some of these providers offer cheaper solutions, they might end up costing you more in the long run. Solar systems can last up to 25 years, so you’ll want a quality product from a supplier that will be around for the long-term. This is why it’s important to invest in a supplier with the right systems, processes and tools to help you understand your energy use long-term, as well as the impacts of changes to regulation, tariffs and technology. The right supplier will also help with ongoing maintenance and support during the system’s life.
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Thanks @AlbertRodriguez.

The best renewable-energy installations I've seen have been those by small local companies. They have a reputation to lose!

The worst have definitely been the larger national companies. When they specify incorrectly or install something badly, there is little chance of this being discovered by other prospective customers.

My nearest market-town has just one installer of solar/wind/hydro generation. The MD comes from a physics background and has a clear understanding of the underlying principles. He doesn't need to advertise because his satisfied customers tell all their friends, neighbours and work colleagues.

That's how it should be 🙂
Buying a house with solar rooftop systems: you just need to know Solar energy has financial benefits that will save almost all. There are a few factors to consider before entering an agreement to buy a house with solar panels, and they owner installed solar panels through a loan, you don't need to worry.

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