Case Study: Melissa, East Midlands Written by Tatiana Lebreton Published on 4 October 2023 ✔ 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 systemWe 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. Where do you want to install solar panels? Roof Ground Both Other / not sure Get started 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.” Where do you want to install solar panels? Roof Ground Both Other / not sure Get started 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: Case study: Tilly Casson, Farnham, Surrey Case study: Sarah, UK Case study: Roger Wells, Hay-on-Wye, Wales Written by: Tatiana Lebreton 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.