Are solar panels a good investment option?

If you look around the roof tops, solar and photovoltaic panels seem to be mushrooming, over the last couple of years.  The question is, if they are really a good investment opportunity for home owners and if you’re missing out a trick if you don’t put some up?

When you ask yourself the question if something is a good investment it is always necessary to look at the costs. In regards to solar panels there are two different installing methods available which make a big difference when it comes to costs.

You can either opt for the more expensive option and own the panels yourself. This means that you might have to spend between 10 to 12 000 pounds. The benefits are that you have free electricity guaranteed and you can also receive an additional income  from selling the surplus to the national grid under a system of Feed in Tarifs. In total you could receive an income of perhaps 1000 pounds per year.

A cheaper method, and therefore the most popular way of going forward, is the lease of solar panels. The providers install the panels for free and provide free energy for the home but will keep the income from the Feed in Tarifs Scheme. The lease duration is normally 25 years and this is where problems can occur and why it might not be such a good investment opportunity in the end.  During a 25 year lease period several questions might arise:

Who pays for the maintenance of the roof? What happens if you want to sell your property? Will the solar panels stay on the roof? Will buyers pay more for the property due to the savings on energy costs? What happens if the purchaser doesn’t want to continue the lease agreement?

In summary, it is definitely an interesting investment if you can afford to pay for the solar panels outright and if you live in the right area to catch enough light. But if you  consider to choose the lease option and are thinking of selling the house soon, it is advisable to do your homework before you rush into signing up for the 25-year-lease-arrangement.

Let us know what you think: Have you got any solar panels on your roof?