Energy from the sun – is it worth it?
- 21st April 2023
- Property Tips
Are solar panels as likely to sell a house as a new bathroom or extension?
Yes…and no. There are many factors to take into account, so read on to find out about the pros and cons of going greener using photovoltaic (PV) roof panels.
Getting free energy from the sun (after the initial cost outlay, of course) sounds like a great idea, and around 1.2 million homes have now had solar panels fitted.
Free energy tempts homeowners
The figure for 2020 was 970,000, so installations have risen around 24% in two years and are still rising.
So it seems solar is really taking off as the cost of living bites and householders look to cut their energy costs.
They can work even under Britain’s grey skies – after all, the sun is still up there behind the clouds, and sunlight filters through.
Market experts believe their presence can add several thousand pounds to the value of a home. Lower energy bills and less impact on the environment are very sought-after attributes for homeowners today.
It can also make a big impact on the EPC score, easily raising an older property to Band C, which future-proofs it for rental and can attract better mortgage deals.
However, there will always be some potential buyers who simply don’t like the look of them. And what’s more, in some circumstances, lenders will be wary about granting a mortgage, although this is changing.
Buying or leasing?
A lot depends on whether you buy or lease the solar panels. In many leasing agreements, the panels are installed for free, then they are leased back to the installer for a contracted number of years, often 25 years.
The feed-in tariff (FIT) payments for any surplus electricity generated then go to the installer, but the homeowner still benefits from smaller energy bills.
However, problems have arisen when some mortgage companies do not like to lend on this type of deal. Some leases even state that the homeowner cannot extend or even sell the property without the consent of the installer and power company.
With older panels, it is sometimes hard to find out who the installer was, or they may have gone out of business.
Use proper contractors
To guard against this, energy experts advise that homeowners should use a properly accredited contractor, under the MSC scheme (Microgeneration Certification Scheme).
Make sure you have all the documentation when it comes to selling your home, including planning and building consent.
If the panels were put up by a previous owner and there is no information, a good starting point is Ofgem which will have details of everything registered and accredited through the FIT payment scheme.
However, if you decide to buy the panels yourself, matters are a lot more straightforward.
In the past 12 years, prices have fallen by 88%. What’s more, last year the Government got rid of VAT on energy-saving equipment, cutting installation costs by around £1,000.
An average house requires around 12 panels, costing between £5,000 and £6,500. With the energy created, they pay for themselves in around 9 years in the sunnier south.
Saving and making money
Owning your own panels means you can earn money by selling surplus power back to the National Grid, under the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).
Estimates from the Energy Saving Trust say that a typical household, updated to reflect the high cost of bills using a smaller solar panel array, can see bills reduce by between £170 and £440 per year.
So, while you can’t expect to ask a great deal more for your house, your estate agent can stress to buyers the money saved on bills, extra money that could be made, and high EPC ratings.
With the increasing desire to combat climate change, this just may be the extra incentive that makes buyers choose a property with solar panels.
Here at ludlowthompson, we know that energy costs and viable green alternatives are certainly on the home buying agenda and any initiative that can be viable and realistically delivered is worth considering.
If you would like more advice on adding value to your property or what buyers are looking for, we would be more than happy to chat with you, just get in touch with your local ludlowthompson office.
your estate agent can stress to buyers the money saved on bills, extra money that could be made, and high EPC ratings
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