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Alexis Conran on ‘Should You Buy Solar Panels?’

Opening of the Channel 5 programme Solar Panels Are They Really Worth It?

ALEXIS CONRAN: Do you like your house to be warm? Do you like your fridge to be cold? Do you like to have a light on in the night? And do you like to watch TV and use a computer? If so, there are challenging times on their way to you and your wallet. But is there something that you can do to help yourself? Because the cost of energy is going through the roof. Speaking of roofs, is there a way to use the top of your house to get free energy? You’re thinking, “Hello! Free power!” Is there a way you can take action and protect yourself from rising bills to drag clean energy out of the sky? Whatever you do, will it be worth the cost? And are your energy needs getting you into a spin? I’m Alexis Conran and I’m going to find out all you need to know about solar panels and other energy-saving gadgets to navigate your way through the solar-coaster ride that is the world of clean electricity. Now, this isn’t a documentary, this isn’t reality TV. This is “current” affairs. Because we’re asking the question… Should I buy Solar Panels?

The main story of the Channel 5 programme is that it follows the Manning family of 4 (2 adults and 2 children), living in 3-bedroom semi-detached house with a south-facing roof in Maidstone in Kent having 10 solar panels, battery storage and an EV charger installed from start to finish at a cost in the region of about £10,000. Here at NXTGEN Energy we can install 10 solar panels with battery storage from just £7,200. The Manning’s install with SESE takes less than a day and after 4-days since the solar panel installation the Manning family hasn’t used any energy from the National Grid.

The programme also touches on solar farms (Owls Hatch, Kent), a large scale ground-based solar panel install for a Tudor mansion, the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme, air source heat pumps with Octopus Energy, hydroelectric power and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) grant scheme amongst other things.

You can watch the full programme: “Solar Panels: Are They Really Worth It?” on Channel 5’s On demand service My5 on your TV, or via your computer/tablet or phone at: https://www.channel5.com/show/solar-panels-are-they-really-worth-it

Advice from Emily Seymour, Energy & Sustainability Editor of Which? Magazine

Alexis Conran interviewed Emily Seymour, Energy and Sustainability Editor of Which? Magazine, to get her top tips if you are thinking about buying solar panels.

Emily’s Top Tip Number 1 – Find out how much electricity you need

EMILY SEYMOUR: The first thing anybody should do before installing solar panels is have a good look at your own electricity usage and energy usage in your house, because it’s different for everybody, and, really, what sort of output you would need from solar panels to run your home in an efficient way. That’s the key piece of information. You don’t want to have too few solar panels so that you’re still relying on the {national] grid. You also don’t want to have way too many, because then you’re overpaying for what you’re installing. So, the Energy Savings Trust has a really helpful online calculator that you can use, where you can put in some of your details, and it will tell you exactly, based on your own energy usage, how many solar panels you would need on your home. And that’s a really good starting point.

Here at NXTGEN energy our solar energy experts can help you work out your energy requirements and give you a personalised quote for your property with all the energy figures of what your solar PV array / solar battery storage will produce. Call us today on 01268 928 690 with the figures from your latest bill for your free no-obligation quote.

Emily’s Top Tip Number 2 – Consider investing in batteries

EMILY SEYMOUR: Just having solar panels on your roof without any kind of battery storage means that all of that electricity that’s being generated needs to be used straight away. So, if you’re at home for a lot of the day, maybe you’re retired, or maybe you work from home, and you’re able to use all of your appliances during daylight hours – so put the dishwasher on, put the washing machine on, and really make the most of all that electricity that you’re generating – then you could be perfectly happy just with the solar panels on their own. If you spend a lot of time out of the house during the day, then you might be looking at getting solar panels plus some battery storage so that you can make the most of that electricity you’ve generated at night. But that does add on a significant extra cost, so that would be something to weigh in there.

Here at NXTGEN energy we are 1 of only 9 solar installers in Essex who are both MCS Certified Polar PV (Panel) Installers and also MCS Certified Battery Storage Installers. So NXTGEN Energy can install your complete Solar PV system with Battery Storage to MCS Standards. Call us today on 01268 928 690 for your free no-obligation quote.

Emily’s Top Tip Number 3 – Don’t get ripped off

EMILY SEYMOUR: I would treat it the same way that you would any other sort of home improvement project. So, just as you would with a kitchen or with a bathroom, if you’re going to have solar panels fitted, you need an installer. That installer’s probably going to be the one who helps to purchase the [solar] panels themselves. So have a look at reviews, get at least three quotes from different companies. There is an accreditation scheme that you need to make sure that any solar panel installer is assigned to, so that is the RECC (Renewable Energy Customer Code) and the MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme). They’re the two accreditation systems that you’d need to check. They’ll give you extra protections and legal rights if anything was to go wrong. Once you have all of your quotes, have a look around at some reviews, make sure that you’re working with a reputable company, that they’re got satisfied previous customers, and then you can make a choice as to who’s going to fit your solar panels.

Here at NXTGEN energy we are both HIES (The Home Insulation and Energy Systems Quality Assured Contractors Scheme) Accredited Members and MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) Certified for both Solar PV (Panels) and Battery Storage Installations. We are also NAPIT and UK Government TrustMark Accredited Members. Call us today on 01268 928 690 for your free no-obligation quote.

Emily’s Top Tip Number 4 – If you can, pay cash

EMILY SEYMOUR: If you possibly can, it’s really worth paying for the solar panels upfront yourself, because if you were to take up a loan or finance them in another way where you would be paying interest, then paying off that interest would actually kind of eat away at many of the savings that we’re talking about. At the moment, there’s actually 0% VAT on solar panels. That’s something the Government’s brought in until 2027, so that’s, you know, a benefit for anybody installing them. There is a scheme called ECO4. That is for people who are on low incomes, so if you receive certain benefits and also live in a home that’s very inefficient – so if your boiler’s very inefficient, for example – you might qualify for the ECO4, which is a grant from the Government. But for most people, paying for solar panels upfront yourself is the cheapest way to do it.

Here at NXTGEN energy we can help your with the Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) grant scheme application and also the Home Upgrade Grant (HUG2) Scheme application. Call us today on 01268 928 690 for your free no-obligation quote.

Watch the full episode on Channel 5 On Demand

You can watch the full episode: “Solar Panels: Are They Really Worth It?” on Channel 5’s On Demand service My5 on your TV or via your computer/tablet or phone at: https://www.channel5.com/show/solar-panels-are-they-really-worth-it

Channel 5 Solar Panels Are They Really Worth It?

Alexis Conran’s Conclusion

ALEXIS CONRAN: Don’t forget, solar isn’t right for everyone. It depends on so many variables such as location and orientation. Always get trustworthy advice. It’s really quite clear that we are well on the way to becoming less dependent on fossil fuels, and solar panels make so much sense for so many people. But the truth is that they are beyond the reach for most people because of that initial cost. Now, costs are going to continue to drop, so the longer you wait, the cheaper they’ll become, but if you are thinking of investing, then solar panels make so much sense for many, many reasons. They will take a while to pay for themselves, but in that meantime, you’re doing something great for the environment. And once you’ve paid them off, then you really are going to be getting something for nothing.

If you are interested in getting solar panels installed, you can contact NXTGEN Energy on 01268 928 690 or click on the ‘Enquire Now’ button below to get a free no-obligation quote and solar PV system design from a trusted 5-Star Google Review Rated & Trustpilot Rated ‘Excellent’ MCS Certified Solar Panel Installer who always puts our customers first.

Frequently Asked Questions about Solar Panels

Is it worth getting solar panels in the UK?

The short answer is yes! Solar panels can cut almost 70% off your energy bills, and that proportion is growing as energy bills rise. No wonder solar panel installations have risen by over 45% in the last three years, and shot up by over 80% in the last year alone.

How many solar panels are needed to power an average house in the UK?

1-2 bedroom property, 8 solar panels generating about 1,800 kWh a year.
3 bedroom property, 12 solar panels generating about 2,800 kWh kWh a year.
4-5 bedroom property, 16 solar panels generating about 3,700 kWh kWh a year.

How long does it take for solar panels to pay for themselves UK?

The answer depends on how much you pay for the solar panels, how much your electricity would otherwise cost, how much green energy the panels make from the sunshine you get, and whether you have solar batteries installed or not. The average payback period for solar PV systems is coming down and can now be under 10 years depending on your solar PV system and how many solar panels you have installed.

How long do solar panels last?

The solar industry standard for most solar panels’ lifespans is between 25 to 30 years, but with proper care and cleaning they can last much longer. Most reputable manufacturers offer production warranties for 25 years or more. The average break even point for solar panel energy savings occurs six to 10 years after installation.

Do solar panels increase home value in the UK?

Whilst there is no hard and fast rule as to how much value solar panels can add to the overall value of your property, suggestions range from 4.1% to 14% on average and they are certainly unlikely to detract from the value of your home, even if they aren’t the most attractive roof feature visually.

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