Friday 14 April 2023

Our new solar panels

At the beginning of the year we had solar panels installed on our roof. It was a big decision and we considered a number of things - we have a hybrid electric car and our next car will very likely be a fully electric car, electricity prices keep rising and it's a chance to be less reliant on a potentially unstable grid, and our house has a perfect roof for solar panels. The back is south facing, we have a large roof area, and we also live in (apparently!) one of the sunniest places in the UK, the south coast. We were also lucky enough to have some money set aside to cover the installation.

My husband did all the research and planning so this isn't going to be a very technical post I'm afraid! We have 24 panels on the roof and a large 17.55km battery in the garage. The battery takes up quite a bit of space so I'm very glad that we have the garage space to keep it. 

Solar panels on roof of new build house

It took about a week to install the panels, including the setup and removal of scaffolding. The installation coincided with me being away for a few days but apparently it was quite noisy, especially attaching the brackets for the panels to the tiles.

Our verdict a few months in? We are very pleased with them! The few weeks were really sunny, and we could see the benefits immediately. It was so exciting to be able to run the tumble dryer and feel that it was "free" (forgetting about out the cost of the panels of course!) We quickly changed our routines, we have switched to an electricity plan with very low cost electricity in the middle of the night which is when we charge our car and also charge up the battery to use from during the day.

Unfortunately March was very disappointing when it came to sunshine, and we hardly seemed to see the sun at all despite the longer days. But whenever the sun did come out we were desperately scrabbling around looking for washing to do and turning on the electric heaters if it was feeling a bit chilly in the house.

Our installation included bird proofing which was very important, as we get a lot of seagulls and pigeons on the roof. It seems to be working so far with regard to nesting but what we have noticed is that the birds on the roof make a lot more noise than they used to and it's quite noticeable from the rooms directly underneath especially on a sunny day. I think that it's the sound of their feet scrabbling about on the panels.

We have recently switched to a new electricity package which means that we can sell our excess electricity back to the grid. It's not going to make us a fortune, but it will mean that the panels start to pay for themselves sooner. 

Yesterday I was driving to school in the afternoon and I realised that I was driving an electric car which had been charged using that morning's sunshine - it felt really futuristic, my teenage self would have been very impressed!

1 comment:

  1. I keep saying we should get solar panels. The back of our house gets the sun from about 11am right through until it sets.
    It sounds like they are working really well for you. It does sound very futuristic but fantastic at the same time. x


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