Did you know that there are more than 1.5 million UK houses with solar panels and London currently generates more solar power than Madrid?
If you’re fortunate enough to own your home, you should definitely look into cutting your energy bills by installing solar panels.
If you own your panels outright, you can benefit from Government payments and even from selling electricity back to the generating companies. Payments can exceed 4p per kilowatt hour for the former and 5p per kilowatt hour for the latter!
If you can’t afford to do this – and most people cannot as yet– you lease out your roof space to solar panel companies and get free or subsidised electricity in return.
Tell your lender
If you are considering leasing your roof space to solar panel companies, you’ll need to inform your mortgage lender because you’ll effectively be granting a lease to a third party over your property.
What about planning permission?
You don’t generally need planning permission for installing solar panels unless your roof is flat, your property is listed or in a conservation area or you’re looking at a very large system.
Solar panel installation generally falls within what is termed ‘permitted developments’.
What about buying a house with solar panels?
If you’re looking at buying a house where the previous owner has bought solar panels outright, as long as they pass on all warranties and guarantees and you can get insurance for the panels, you should be able to get a mortgage and your conveyancing process should be relatively normal.
If, however, you’re looking to buy a house where a solar panel company has a continuing lease on the roof space, any mortgage lender will need to be satisfied with the solar panel lease agreement before going ahead. They will want to know, for example, who is responsible for removing panels if the roof needs repairing.
If you are unsure about lender preferences regarding solar panels, it’s worth consulting an independent mortgage broker who can guide you towards a lender appropriate for your needs.
How long do solar panels last?
Solar panels generally come with a 25 – 30 year warranty and are generally regarded as low maintenance.
What effect do solar panels have on property prices?
The effect isn’t clear overall because some buyers see solar panels as an asset whereas others don’t like the look of them; this is perhaps comparable to how people see pebble dashing or whitewashing of bricks.
Are solar panels portable?
No as a rule – hypothetically, ripping them out when you move might be like ripping the central heating system out! That said, there’s an increasing number of UK properties with them so you may well be in a position to opt for a future property with panels already installed.
By Marcus Simpson, Digital Marketing Manager at SAM Conveyancing