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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

Case Study: Melissa, East Midlands

Melissa has a 5.76 kW solar panel system, and two electric cars

The panels cover around half of her electricity needs

She paid around £5,000 for the entire system

We spoke to Melissa, who had solar panels installed on her four-bedroom detached home in the East Midlands, which she shares with her husband and children.

Melissa had her solar panels installed in July 2022. Here’s what she had to say.

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red brick detached house with scaffolding around it and solar panels on roof, dark clouds in background

Melissa has a 16 panel, 5.76 kW system, and two electric vehicles.  

Q: How long have you had your solar panels?

A: “We got the solar panels in July 2022.”

Q: Why did you decide to get solar panels, and are you pleased with your purchase?

A: “My husband had us on a fixed term electricity contract until August 2023, but he knew that we needed something else.

“His family’s farm has a bunch of solar panels and his brother works in renewable energy. So, we already had an understanding of solar panels.”

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

A: “We have a 5.76 kilowatt (kW) system, comprising of 16 360 watt (W) fully black Canadian solar panels. They’re connected to a Solis 5G 5.0 kW dual tracker inverter, with direct current (DC) isolation […].

“We paid just under £5,000 for the whole system, and £750 for an electric car charging port.”

Want to know more about the cost of solar panels? Head to our page.

Q: What was the experience like buying the panels?

A: “I searched for quotes online, and three [installers] got back to me.

“We had two of the three come out and see the house, and we went with the cheapest option […].

“The scaffolders came one Friday afternoon. The equipment was dropped off that day, and kept in our garage. […] The panels were up by Sunday morning, and the scaffolding was down Monday.”

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Q: Do you have a solar battery?

A: “We do not because it costs as much as the panels. Plus, we have two electric cars, and we use our white goods – washing machine and dryer – during the day to offset what we are producing.”

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

A: “I would say that they cover half of our electricity needs, or up to two thirds. Obviously when there is more sun, we are better off.

“We have a smart meter, and I see it set to zero a lot of the time.”

Find out more about using smart meters with solar panels in our guide.

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

A: “I know that the first month after we installed the panels, we went from £90 [a month] to £45-50.”

Q: Are you receiving money via the Smart Export Guarantee?

A: “We are with Octopus Energy, and I think we get 9p per kilowatt hour. We signed up for the Smart Export Guarantee when we signed up with Octopus.”

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

A: “No, it will be a couple of years yet. But we have added a couple of thousand pounds to the value of the house.”

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

A: “We have had no issues so far with maintaining them.”

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

A: “Which electricity suppliers are best for homes with solar panels and electric cars.”

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

Written by:
Tatiana has written about multiple environmental topics, including heat pumps, energy-efficient household products, and solar panels. She is dedicated to demystifying green tech to make eco-friendly living more accessible.
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