According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, more than half a million British homes have installed solar panels. It’s not surprising when you consider the fact that they can help you cut back on your electricity bills by producing your own energy and they can even earn you money by selling surplus electricity back to the grid.
However, there are a certain number of drawbacks that you might want to consider before making the considerable investment of often over £10k and installing solar panels.
1. As mentioned, one of the big attractions of solar panels is the fact that they can make you money by feeding energy back to the grid. However, the Government has recently announced that it will end these payments from the end of March 2019. This won’t affect homeowners that already have solar panels installed, but if you’re considering installing them, you have to get them installed and approved before the cut-off date.
2. Solar panels could negatively impact the marketability of your home. Some panels can negatively impact a property’s ‘kerb appeal’ and could even deter interested buyers from purchasing your home. Many valuers are concerned about the impact of solar panels on marketability as they could either bring the price up or down, depending on the visual, financial, and legal drawbacks or advantages. The National Association of Estate Agents says that new technology that shows significant savings and is not visually deterring can bring prices up, while old technology might very well do the opposite.
3. Some homeowners choose to purchase the panels outright. Many homeowners, however, have chosen to lease their roof to the panels’ provider, often for around 25 years. This saves them the initial investment costs, as the panels’ provider will install them for free, but can, again, negatively impact the marketability of the house. This is because leasing comes with the same legal obligations as leasing any other part of the property and might be yet another drawback when potential buyers do not want to take over the lease. Breaking the lease can come with high costs that neither vendor nor purchases will want to bear.
4. Even without looking at the legal difficulties of installing solar panels, there are plenty of issues surrounding the installation of the panels. For example, the total weight of the panels can be significant and Building Regulations approval is needed if the panels add more than a third of the weight of the existing roof. Additionally, the roof covering will almost inevitably get damaged during the installation of the panels. This means that repairs need to be carried out effectively to ensure, among other things, that the roof is still watertight.
So, while solar panels at first glance seem like a sound investment, there are some issues that need to be considered before making the choice to invest in them or lease a property’s roof. It is understandable that legal advisers, valuers, and surveyors are cautious when it comes to the panels, as their long-term effects on marketability aren’t clear yet.
Capstick, Andrew. Solar Panels – Are They Worth it? Available at: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/free-solar-panels/
Santo, Phillip. The Pitfalls of Solar Panels. Available at: https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support-services/advice/articles/the-pitfalls-of-solar-panels/