December 12

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Solar Panels with Your Loft Conversion: Should You Do It?

Solar panels make your loft conversion eco friendly and save you money on your monthly bills.

They are no longer a radical alternative reserved for eco warriors. Solar panels have become a popular trend in sustainable home solutions. 

Why? 

They solve two problems at once. They are good for the environment AND good for your bottom line.

But there is another reason...

More...

You can now take advantage of new advanced technology and innovative designs. Which means you can pick from a growing list of options to fit in with the style of your home!

Put simply, you don’t have to compromise on looks anymore.

Solar panels are a great idea for your loft conversion. No longer a radical alternative reserved for eco warriors, solar panels have become a popular trend in sustainable home solutions. Why? Because they solve two problems at once...

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Why is a loft conversion with solar panels eco friendly?

Solar panels will reduce your household carbon footprint.

Traditional fossil fuels (petrol, coal or natural gas) are expensive and in very limited supply…

Oh, and they’re pretty bad for the environment. They release harmful pollutants (carbon dioxide) into the Earth’s atmosphere. 

That’s why we keep hearing people talk about clean renewable energy. It’s natural, replenishable and less harmful to the environment. 

Sustainable energy, like solar power, paves the way for cleaner air and water. 

Hence, eco friendly.

A great way to tap into this cleaner path is to install solar panels.

How do solar panels work? 

Solar panels are an array of photovoltaic (PV) cells, which are made of semiconducting materials, commonly silicon. 

Those PV cells, or solar cells, harness the sun’s energy, and convert it into electricity.

When installed on a roof or dormer, the electricity captured by solar panels can be used to power household appliances and light up homes. 

Not all PV solar systems are created equal. They come in different sizes, measured in kilowatt peak (kWp), which indicates how much energy they can produce for your home.

What is a kWp?

PV systems are measured by kWp (kilowatt peak), which tells you the maximum amount of electricity they will produce per hour, when the sun is at its strongest. 


Most PV systems are around 3kWp, but can range from 1kWp to 4kWp.


If your home has a 3kWp system, it should produce roughly 3,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of power each year. 


The size of your home and the number of people living there, will determine what size PV system you need. 

Do solar panels work when it's cloudy?

The more sunlight, the better, but even on a cloudy day solar panels will still provide electricity for your home. 

And the technology is improving all the time, which means you generate more power than before, even in low light conditions.

Solar panels with your loft conversion will actually save you money

Solar is great for the environment. Most people love that. 

But the thing everyone loves about solar?

It saves you money on your energy bills. 

In January of 2018, The Eco Experts surveyed UK homeowners with installed solar panels. Of the 390 they surveyed, 84% reported that with solar panels they saved up to 50% on their energy bills each month.

While those numbers are enticing, it’s not just about saving money.

This is all part of your larger project, right?

Whatever it is - a loft conversion, renovation or an extension project - you want to ensure that every aspect of your project is a good investment. 

Can going solar add value to your home? 

Short answer: 

Not directly, but it’s trending that way.

However, solar can increase the marketability of your home in more ways than one. In any event, it’s unlikely to decrease overall value. 

Far more research has been done in other countries to show a direct link between solar panels and an increase in property value.

There just isn’t enough research to say that definitively for the UK… yet. 

What we can say, is that installing solar panels can indirectly add value to your property.

How? 

By making it more marketable. 

Just like converting an attic or renovating a room can increase the market appeal of your house, installing solar panels can do the same.

Solar adds real value in US

California is a good case study to look at. America’s largest US state has embraced solar as a way to power homes and as a result, solar panels actually increase property values. 


Zillow has done some research on this link between property value and solar panels recently. They found that in America, homes with solar panels sold for 4.1% more than those without solar panels.

Future energy cost savings

Energy ratings are increasingly important when considering the value of a home. 

In the UK, any property for sale must have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The EPC indicates how efficient the home is. 

Why do people care about the EPC grade?

It tells you how much you can expect to save or spend on your energy costs. 

A low EPC grade could give buyers the upper hand when negotiating price. When they see the money they’ll need to put into a home to improve efficiency efficient, they’ll be keen to knock that price down or look elsewhere.

A higher EPC grade can assure buyers of the quality of a home. They’ll be willing to pay a bit more now, when they know they’ll save in the future. 

Installing solar panels on your roof can improve that EPC grade significantly, increasing the potential value at which you can market your property.  

If you’re finding it hard to believe the impact solar can have on property value, just look at that US statistic again.

US houses with solar panels sold for 4.1% more. 

If your home is valued at £500,000 and it sold for 4.1% more, it would go for £520,500. 

When you’re selling your property, every last pound counts. £20,500 of them is nothing to sniff at.

Solar Panels Fit the Sustainable Lifestyle

Sustainability is not a fringe interest anymore. More and more people are incorporating it into their lives. 

They want their living spaces to suit that sustainable lifestyle. 

A study by ING Direct found that people in the UK consider solar panels to be the most desirable extra when buying a home.

They found that solar panels could sway people to go through with a purchase more than satellite TV, a walk-in wardrobe and even a good cell signal!

Needless to say (but I’ll say it)...

An eco friendly converted loft space with solar panels, is very desirable to UK buyers. 

So, will adding a solar system to your loft conversion increase your property value? 

Maybe not directly (yet), but it can certainly make it more marketable and appealing. 

As part of an overall sustainable loft conversion, it definitely won’t damage your home’s value.

People in the UK consider solar panels to be the most desirable extra when buying a home. An eco friendly converted loft with solar panels sounds like a pretty good investment.  

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Should I install solar panels before or after loft conversion? 

For some people, getting solar panels installed during their loft conversion seems counterintuitive. 

With all the moving parts of a remodel project, why add another? 

The truth is, doing them together is ideal.

Why? 

For one, you can save money on labour costs. You’ll most likely already have scaffolding up for your loft conversion work. So your PV solar panel installers won’t need to do that. 

It can also be a good idea because you can coordinate any roof or dormer loft work being done. Most loft conversions or renovations involve windows or roof modifications. Having your solar panels put in with your skylights, can ensure the tradesmen are working together to deliver exactly what you have in mind. 

And if for some reason you can’t do them together? 

No problem. 

Some of these solar companies will uninstall and reinstall them if you plan to have work done later on. 

If you have any special circumstances with your project, and you’re not sure which order of works is best? 

You can always give us a call and we can help you coordinate your loft conversion and PV panel installation.

Will PV solar panels make my house look ugly?

Not everyone minds the aesthetic look of PV panels.

To solar enthusiasts, the beauty is in the purpose they serve. To others, the associated positive benefits of solar serves as a badge of honour, proudly displayed on their rooftops. 

But for some of you who are looking into solar panels, looks are one of your first concerns. 

I can’t blame you. 

When solar panels first started popping up on UK houses over a decade ago, they were…

Unsightly. Not everyone was a fan.

Luckily, 10 years of innovation have given solar panels a much needed face lift. 

The standard PV panel is sleeker and mounting mechanisms are improved so panels can be fitted flush with the rooftop.

This has helped countless UK homeowners overcome their fears of sullying their beautiful traditional English homes.

Much less of an eyesore. 

The introduction of coloured panels has created a wider range of options for homes with unique roof colours. 

These coloured pv panels would blend in nicely with a brown or red hued roof. 

If you’re really looking for low profile, there are solar tiles available now that match the tiles on your roof.

Look closely at the slate roof of this stunning 19th century Anglican church. 

The solar tiles are just slightly lighter in colour than the slate tiles. 

Tech companies like Panasonic and LG have developed solar tiles that are indistinguishable from ordinary roof tiles. 

Even Tesla has dipped their toes in the solar powered water, with their very attractive line of Tesla Tiles. They can match just about any kind of roof, from Tuscan to slate to textured or smooth tiles. 

Today, there are plenty of different panel options to choose from to suit your style. So that brand new loft conversion you've been planning can be beautiful, inside and out.

The ugly stigma of the early days of solar powered homes has given way to innovation and a more universal eco friendly perspective.

Suddenly, it’s cool to go solar.

Thinking of going solar with your loft conversion? Great news! The ugly stigma of the early days of solar powered homes has given way to innovation and a more universal eco friendly perspective. With so many sleek panel options to choose from - Suddenly, it's cool to go solar.

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How long will your PV system last? 

Most solar systems last for 20 to 25 years and require almost no maintenance.

Nearly any company that installs solar panels will provide a 25 year warranty. If something goes wrong, they’ll repair it for you at no extra cost.

But it's unlikely you'll need their help.

Solar panels are built to last, which is great, because so are loft conversions.

They’re incredibly resilient through all kinds of weather and are very difficult to damage. 

That means once you pay for installation, sit back and let them do their job giving you power and saving you money. 

Government tariffs as of March 2019

In 2010, the UK government passed the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) incentive scheme to encourage people to go solar by letting them sell unused energy back to the grid. 

This was a nice perk, because PV systems were expensive for a homeowner. 

Unfortunately, FIT officially ended in March 2019. 

So, if you’re looking into solar panels, this incentive won't be an option for you.

However, there are still rebates available for older people and those with special circumstances. Check with your local council to see if you're eligible for any discount. 

But, if you don't qualify, it doesn't matter too much. 

Why? 

Because the whole point of FIT was to get people to go solar at a time when the price was prohibitive and the trend still fairly new to UK homeowners. 

The good news is, the cost of solar PV panels has gone down since then... a lot.

How much will a solar panel installation cost me?

Unlike most things, solar panels have actually become cheaper over time. 

The price of solar PV systems has gone down nearly 70% in the last decade. This is why the loss of the tariff isn’t a problem. It simply isn’t needed anymore. 

On average, solar panels could costa UK family of 3 anywhere from £4,000 to £6,000 in 2019.

The exact price you'll pay will depend on your household size, which will determine how much power you use annually. Based on that information, you will know the total capacity your system should supply. 

The number of panels you'll want to have will vary depending on their capacity and efficiency.

When you consider that just 10 years ago, these numbers would be up to 70% higher, the prospect of a solar PV installation on your roof seems pretty affordable.  

Unlike most things, solar panels have actually become cheaper over time... nearly 70% cheaper. Solar panels on your new loft conversion seems like a pretty good idea right now. 

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This graph means that going solar is the way of the future… the near future

No one is likely to bet against electricity bills going up.

In fact, statistics show that UK electricity bills are increasing by 3.73% every year.

Meanwhile, the cost of solar keeps getting cheaper. 

So what's the big deal with this graph? 

It projects that over the next 15 years, solar will be cheaper than the grid.

Meaning, if you pay to go solar now, by 2035 you'll have spent less on electricity than if you bought it from the grid. 

Then there’s that ‘age old’ question…

And what about Brexit? 

Well, that will likely jack up electricity costs even more, speeding up this timeline.

Regardless of your politics, it's not a bad idea to store up your own source in a reliable, clean and cost effective way. 

With the geopolitical future up in the air and the cost of electricity soaring, solar is a good way to take control back in your own hands.

It's not just solar... this trend is rapidly growing in the UK

Eco friendly building.

It’s here to stay. 

People are going eco friendly in nearly every aspect of their lives. They're changing their daily consumption habits and making sustainable improvements wherever they can.

“Going green” has evolved beyond a fad movement and has merged with mainstream designs, trends and technology. 

That merger means that going green actually makes your life easier. It’s not so much of a pain anymore. 

There are so many ways, both big and small, to build loft conversions (or any project) more sustainably. 

But you have to have the right people for this. 

Not all contractors or tradesmen will be knowledgeable enough to help you build or renovate sustainably. 

There are excellent green builders, suppliers, materials and tradesmen out there with the experience to create a sustainable and beautiful loft conversion.

Green ideas for your project

  • Install LED light bulbs for all lighting fixtures
  • Maximise natural light with skylight windows
  • Choose natural, non-toxic paints
  • Use sustainable insulation materials (wood wool, cork, hemp, etc.)
  • Build with responsibly sourced wood certified by the  Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

Want to incorporate solar into your loft conversion or remodel? 

Whether you’re thinking about going solar for your project, or want to learn more about green building ideas…

We'll be happy to guide you through it all.

We can figure out which eco friendly solutions are suitable for you and find the best specialists to get it done.

Whatever the case, give us a call. We'll sort through your questions and brainstorm ideas for your project.

I really hope you found this useful. If you did, don’t forget to share it!

Eco friendly building. It's here to stay. Going green has evolved beyond just a fad movement. There are so many ways to build your loft conversion (or any project) more sustainably. But you have to have the right people for this... 

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