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Solar quote

8892 Views 72 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  Zarni
I got a quote through SolarTogether and sort of assumed it is a good quote. It is part of a group buying scheme by the council, I thought it is probably as good a value I am going to get - plus a vetted supplier. But I have had some great responses to my other question and somebody pointed me to a Youtube channel "The EV Puzzle", where Nigel talks about a 14 panels system costing only £4K in the video from earlier this month. The quote now doesn't seem good at all, so I thought what people think.

The installer has quoted nearly £3.7k for 8 panels (includes everything incl. installation over slate tiles) and jumps to £4.3k for 10 panels. There is a quote for battery too but I am not keen on getting that just now.
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I've been looking at near-500W panels...

And wondering if it's sensible to replace my 16x250W panels installed five years ago, when 4kWp was all you could install to keep within the highest paying FIT band.

Although the 500W panels are physically bigger, I've worked out I can squeeze in 24 panels on both aspects (east/west).

That would give me 12kWp to replace 4kWp!

Assuming the DNO and FIT supplier agree...
Wouldn’t you lose the FIT if you replaced the panels for higher yield ones. Not only as over 4kW but they might consider it a big enough component to no longer be considered the original installation.
It's a good question! I was hoping it could all go through the same generation meter and the FIT provider would just divide it by three to get the measured amount.

Has anyone done something similar?
The bottom line is you can't change your setup and still claim FIT. However, there's no problem with adding more panels, so long as they have their own inverter and meter.
Thanks for the clarification Trevor. That's a shame. I've still got 15 years of FIT to claim so that's a non-starter.
Thanks for the clarification Trevor. That's a shame. I've still got 15 years of FIT to claim so that's a non-starter.
I've had a further dig into this, and it does seem possible to keep your FIT while extending a PV installation, you just get the FIT pro-rated...

I've emailed my FIT provider to see what they say.
I'd be interested in hearing the outcome of that. Presumably you'd like to do it because your inverter is rated pretty high compared to the power of the existing panels? Otherwise you run the risk of losing out on FIT payments (your payments get reduced by the amount of extra panels, but you don't generate more because the inverter was the limit).

I'm also skeptical of advice in that thread, for example:

Seems to me to be illegal.
Hi Trevor.

I'd agree some of the advice is a bit off. My current system (standard 4kWp E/W split with 3.68kW dual string inverter) fills the central part of the roof, so not much room for a parallel install (that doesn't look weird, disturb the existing system, or go through the generation meter).

My hope is that I can simply replace the entire installation (panels and inverter) with a setup double the kWp size, then halve the generation meter readings for FIT purposes. The FIT guide does mention pro-rated payments. I'd also then have a 'spare' 4kWp system that I could sell to recoup some cost.

I'm probably being optimistic that both the DNO and FIT provider would agree to this, but it's worth asking. I suspect there are quite a few PV owners who were 'early to the game' who would like to upgrade their systems to newer specs.

I'll update this thread when I get a reply from our FIT provider.
I'd be surprised if they agreed - that could kickstart a whole upgrade industry! - but if you don't ask you don't get.
Quick update. I've had my first reply from my FIT provider. They say it's reasonably common to have requests for pro-rating a generation meter reading, due to additional (post-FIT) panels being added to an existing FIT system. They can accommodate these, and also like for like replacements, due to failure etc.

But they (the guy checked with the rest of his team too) have never had a request to replace an FIT system with an entirely new system of larger capacity, then pro-rating the generation meter.

He agreed that the guidance isn't clear on this idea, so he has raised a clarification request from Ofgem. I'll let you all know what the outcome is.
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Ok, so I finally got a reply from Ofgem (via my FIT provider)...

"Thank you for your email.
Please note that within Ofgem’s role as administrators of the FIT scheme we must class any works that have not yet been completed as hypothetical situations and as such we are prohibited from passing any comment on this situation at this time. As such I can neither verify if this proposal will have any impact on this installations continued eligibility for the FIT scheme or offer support to any other proposal, until such a time as the works have been completed. Please note, as per section 8.16 of Feed-in Tariffs: Guidance for licensed electricity suppliers (version 13), below, Ofgem would also not expect a FIT licensee to offer a formal view on a hypothetical situation:
“8.16. We would not expect FIT licensees to provide a formal view to the FIT generator in respect of how proposed works will affect the participation of an accredited FIT installation in the scheme until full details of the works have been made available to the FIT licensee and/or the works have been fully completed. The effect of changes made to a FIT accredited installation should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.”
Regarding extensions, the relevant parts of the guidance would be 6.75. – 6.78, of which I would bring to your attention 6.77:
“6.77. If an accredited installation and an ineligible installation share the same meter then it is possible to pro-rate the meter readings taken from this meter.”
We would expect to be notified of any ineligible extensions for our internal records. The change in capacity would not be marked on the CFR however an installers letter or MCS confirming the additional capacity should be uploaded to the documents tab of the installation on the CFR.
In order for an installation to not be considered decommissioned, at least one part of the original generating equipment must remain part of the installation. For PV installations, the generating equipment is considered to be the panels and the inverter(s).

email ends"

So it seems that upgrading the panels and getting pro-rated FIT payments is allowed, but only if the original inverter stays. I wonder what happens when the inverter goes bang, as they are known to do. Trigger's broom?
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