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Why get solar panels?

  • Generate free, green electricity
  • Reduce your electricity bill by up to 64%
  • Get paid for what you don't use

The complete guide to buying or selling a house with solar panels

A 3.5 kW solar panel system could save the average household £482 per year

Homes with panels typically sell for 2% more than those without

Solar energy can cut your annual CO2 footprint by around one tonne

This is your lucky day. Whether you’re purchasing or parting with a solar-powered house, you’re set to make a sizable profit on your solar panel costs.

Solar panels increase your property’s value with their impressive money-saving and eco-friendly capabilities – and as a buyer, panels are a golden goose that you didn’t have to raise.

Installation costs are by far the worst part of getting solar panels. Aside from that expense, they’re purely profitable.

Here are the best tips for buying and selling a property with solar panels, and how to deal with any problems you encounter along the way.

And if you find yourself wanting to buy solar panels at any point, you can find the best deal for your home by using our free comparison tool.

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solar panels on a home with a for sale sign

Should you buy a house with solar panels?

You absolutely should – in almost all cases, it makes total financial and environmental sense – especially since the cost of solar panels has decreased by over 80% in the past decade.

Worried that solar panels will be too ugly for your new home? You can push that worry to the sider, since 69% of people are likely or very likely to buy or rent a property with solar panels, according to our latest National Home Energy Survey.

Let’s dive into why.

You’ll save and make money

Solar panels provide free energy all year round, saving the average household £6,405 over the course of their lifetime.

Usually, it takes an average of 14.55 years to break even on solar panels – but if they’ve already been installed before you move in, you won’t have to pay the £7,026 upfront cost.

Instead, you’ll start making and saving money immediately.

You’ll only need about half of the electricity you’d otherwise use from the National Grid, and you’ll regularly receive money from the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).

That means that at the end of every year, you’ll have an average of £160 extra in your bank account.

Your new home may have had its solar panels installed while the government’s Feed-in Tariff was active, in which case you’ll work out whether you’d be better off continuing to receive those payments, or switching to the SEG.

Want to learn more? Find out more about costs and savings on our page Is Now A Good Time To Get Solar Panels? 

They fight climate change

Solar panels will save the average home around one tonne of CO2 per year.

That’s 15% of your annual carbon footprint, wiped away just like that – and without having to do anything except keep an eye on them.

They need very little maintenance

Whatever the weather or time of year, your solar panels will produce electricity which you can use to power your life.

All you’ll need to do is make sure nearby trees don’t start covering them, and get a list of maintenance checks from the installer.

You’ll only have to carry out these tasks every so often. The main thing to do is to check the inverter is working and not indicating a fault. Bear in mind that inverters can fail eventually and will need replacing.

You can even clean them yourself – and once per year should be enough.

Buying a house with fully owned solar panels

This is the best scenario for all concerned.

In almost all cases, any Feed-in Tariff agreements should transfer to the new owner, and likewise, it should be simple to take on a Smart Export Guarantee contract signed by the previous owner.

After the house sale is completed, all maintenance costs will also transfer to the new owner – but that’s the same with any part of your new home.

Buying a house with leased solar panels

During the heady days of the Feed-in Tariff, many companies would install solar panels for free.

In exchange, they’d lease that roof space from you, so they could receive the government payments themselves.

But buying a house like this can be trickier, as some mortgage lenders will reject your application if part of the property is owned by a company – and you can’t buy the house without the panels.

A relatively untroubled purchase is certainly still feasible, though.

You shouldn’t have any problems if:

  • The installation company is accredited by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme
  • The installation itself was approved and is insured
  • You can remove the panels without incurring penalties for missed Feed-in Tariff payments

Your solicitor will go through the lease details and contact the installation company to see whether they’ve signed the panels over to an agent.

If they have, the agent may charge a fee when the property is sold. Who pays that fee is up to you to decide with the seller.

Your solicitor will also check whether the house’s owner needs permission from the installation company to extend the property, or even to sell it.

There’s no reason why the installation company wouldn’t agree to a request to sell the house – but if the company has ceased to exist, it can be difficult to find the current owner.

In all cases, listen to your solicitor’s legal advice.

You won’t have to worry if the solar panels have been purchased through the Solar Together initiative — this is just a group-buying scheme and the house will fully own the solar panel system.

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Questions to ask when buying a house with solar panels

Get some answers to the following questions before you commit to your new home’s solar array. You should have all the information about any potential inconveniences before you start using the panels.

But to be clear, there are no disadvantages of acquiring a house with properly fitted solar panels – which leads us to the first question.

Are the solar panels securely fitted and effectively connected?

If you have to pay someone to ensure your panels won’t crash through the roof or slide off into the street, it’ll eat into your solar profits.

Likewise, if the panels aren’t connected properly, you won’t receive as much electricity as you should – and neither will the company you’re selling your extra power to for SEG payments.

Get your surveyor to make sure the solar panels have been flawlessly installed.

What are the installation details?

Ask when the panels were installed, because this will give you an idea of how effective they’ll be at providing you with clean, free energy, and how much longer they’ll be able to do it for.

Also ask which company carried out the installation, as that team will be your first port of call for maintenance and troubleshooting.

Lastly, ask for the contract, to see if there are any extra services included.

When does the warranty run out?

Generally, a solar panel warranty will last for 25 years. If that end point is coming up soon, you’ll still receive free, money-making energy until then – but it’s worth keeping in mind.

Don’t worry about the cost of getting rid of your old panels, either.

European Union regulations still legally compel manufacturers and importers to take your panel for disposal.

Manufacturers and importers are obliged to join a Producer Compliance Scheme, such as the government-approved PV CYCLE, to ensure all panels are properly recycled.

Does the house come with a solar battery?

Solar batteries can store the electricity your panels produce, meaning you won’t have to let any go to waste.

You could therefore save even more money by potentially not using any energy from the National Grid, and getting it all from your solar array instead.

Solar batteries can set you back between £2,000 and £8,000, but a house that already has one will save you that initial cost while giving you even more profit.

The average three-bedroom household that’s using a 4kw solar battery will save an additional £132 per year, on top of the £482 that having solar panels will save you.

If the house doesn’t come with a solar battery, we’d still recommend considering them. Take a look at the best solar batteries available here.

Selling a house with solar panels: should you take them with you?

You can take solar panels with you, but you probably shouldn’t.

It’s completely viable for a company to remove and reinstall the system on your new house. Preferably, this would be your original installer, as that’ll be less likely to void your warranty.

But the process will be expensive due to the need for safe roof access (which will need scaffolding), the panels won’t be the newest most efficient technology, and if you were receiving Feed-in Tariff payments, they’ll stop.

You should think of your solar panels like a boiler – and you wouldn’t take a boiler with you when you move.

Homes with solar panels sell for more

It’s also worth considering that properties with solar panels typically sell for 2% more than they would otherwise, according to a study by Solar Energy UK.

The average property in the UK costs £254,624, according to government data, meaning solar panels could make the average homeowner an extra £5,000.

And that makes sense – after all, solar panels provide free energy to new owners, with none of the expensive, inconvenient setup.

It only makes sense that someone would pay a bit more for that kind of extra profit.

Solar panels also raise a house’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating, which usually increases your home’s value by at least 6%.

Again, this is logical – people know that a more energy-efficient home will save them thousands of pounds in the long term.

How to promote your solar panels to buyers

To prove to buyers how much money they’ll make and save, use documents that outline your Feed-in Tariff or SEG payments, and bills that contrast how much you paid for energy before and after you went solar.

Also make sure to show them proof that the panels were installed by a professional who was accredited by a Microgeneration Certification Scheme, and provide them with all the documentation they’ll need to show to mortgage lenders.

Outline how many more years the solar panels will be in warranty for, and if you want to go the extra mile, do some mental arithmetic to work out how much they’ll save in that time.

And lastly, assure them that the panels require a negligible amount of maintenance. If you can, show them how everything works, to fully set their mind at ease.

Broadcast these advantages as much as possible, and you can get a quicker sale at a higher price.

Next steps

When a house with solar panels is sold, the buyer and the seller both profit financially from the existence of this green source of energy.

As long as the seller is able to make this clear, the transaction should only be helped by the fact that the home’s next owner will have an easy source of free, renewable energy.

When solar’s involved, the future for both parties is very bright.

Written by:
josh jackman
Josh has written about eco-friendly home improvements and climate change for the past four years. His work has been displayed on the front page of the Financial Times, he's been interviewed by BBC One's Rip-Off Britain, and he regularly features in The Telegraph and on BBC Radio.
Reviewed by:
Charlie has been researching and writing about the home energy market for over five years, and he has been the editor of The Eco Experts since 2021. Charlie's thoughts on solar panels have seen him featured in various publications, including The Times, Ideal Home, and Grand Designs Magazine. Ever since he can remember, Charlie has worried about the planet, and he one day dreams of owning a solar power farm.
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