Case study: Rogers Wells, Hay-on-Wye, Wales

Roger has a 300 watt solar panel and two 1,080 watt solar batteries

He’s already broken even on the system

The single-panel setup saves him at least £100 per year

We spoke with Roger Wells from Hay-on-Wye about his solar panel system.

Five years ago, Roger installed a solar panel and battery at his home near the Wales-England border, to take his shed and caravan off grid. Here’s what he told us about his experience.

Q: How long have you had your solar panel?

A: “Approximately five years.”

Q: Why did you decide to get a solar panel?

A: “I have an off-grid setup with a shed and a caravan, so I needed power for lights and the caravan’s water pump.”

Q: Are you pleased you bought solar panels?

A: “Yes.”

Q: How big is your solar panel system, and how much did it cost?

A: “I have one solar panel – it’s 1,200mm x 800mm, with a maximum power of 300 watts. It cost £150.”

Q: What was your experience like buying the panels?

A: “Easy – I bought it online, and it came with the complete kit: the panel, mountings, fixings, wiring, and a solar charge controller.”

Q: Do you have a solar battery?

A: “I have two 90 amp hour, 12 volt batteries.”

Learn more: A Beginner's Guide to Solar Batteries

Q: Do your solar panels generate enough power to cover all your electricity needs?

A: “Yes for most days – I have a small portable 240 volt generator if I need it.”

Q: How much money do your solar panels save you on your electricity bills?

A: “It’s difficult to estimate, as I’m not at the site all year. It uses very little energy and I’m not connected to the grid, but it probably saves me about £100 per year on actual kilowatts of energy. I also save on the standing charge*.”

* The average household’s standing charge comes to £165 per year

Q: Have you managed to break even on your solar panels?

A: “Yes.”

Learn more: Are Solar Panels Worth It?

Q: What’s your opinion of solar panels now?

A: “I have been very pleased with the solar panel, and would like to install more at some point.”

Q: Please can you describe your experience maintaining your solar panels?

A: “I clean it off a couple of times a year – otherwise, there’s no real maintenance.”

Learn more: Solar Panel Cleaning

Q: Do you feel likely to buy other types of renewable technology?

A: “Yes – I would consider getting an electric car, but feel that the infrastructure would need to be better before investing.”

Q: Would you recommend solar panels to other homeowners in the UK?

A: “Yes – with careful costing, consideration, and self-installation, it can pay back and be a great investment.

“It’s a sustainable green energy source, and it’s great being independent from the grid.”

Q: Is there anything you wish you'd known before you bought solar panels?

A: “I would have liked more information on how to calculate the energy requirements of my home, so I could’ve better selected a solar system that I’d be sure would provide for all my needs.

“I would also have liked a comparison figure of solar panels and solar thermal panels in terms of energy produced per square metre.”

Check out some of our other interviews with UK homeowners about their solar panel systems:

josh jackman
Josh Jackman Senior Writer

Josh has written about eco-friendly home improvements and climate change for the past three years. His work has featured on the front page of the Financial Times; he’s been interviewed by BBC One; and he was the resident expert in BT’s smart home tech initiative.

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