Homeowner Blog

Buying or Selling a House with Solar Panels

George Riley 30 Apr 2020

Whether you’re looking to buy a house with solar panels or it’s come time to sell your property and its PV system, you may have some questions. We’ve gathered the common queries to answer based on our years of experience supporting solar PV owners.

Selling a house with solar panels

Do solar panels add to or reduce the value of your home?

Solar panels should add value and they can make your property more marketable for a faster sale, especially as more people become environmentally aware.

Benefits for new homeowners

It’s worth speaking with your estate agent to ensure they are marketing the benefits of solar PV to potential buyers:

  • reduced electricity running costs (if possible have some before and after bills to show buyers);
  • improved energy efficiency rating (EPC);
  • potential FiT payments;
  • environmental appeal;
  • insulation from rising energy prices.

What happens to FiT payments?

Any remaining Feed-in Tariff (FiT) payments can potentially be transferred to your buyer (the new owner of the system). You should tell them for how much longer the system qualifies for payments.

What documentation do you need to provide your buyer?

  • Any planning permission / building regulation consent.
  • MCS certificate.
  • Details on who installed the panels (it helps if it’s a reputable company!).
  • Permission to install the panels from the freeholder if the property is leasehold.
  • Structural roof survey.
  • Electrical installation certificate.
  • Warranties for the system components.

What happens if your panels were installed for free?

In the early days of solar, some companies offered to install panels for free in exchange for taking the FiT payments. As they may have leased your roof space and own the PV system, selling can be tricky. Your solicitor will need to check the details of the lease, especially if the original company has gone bust and transferred ownership to someone else.

What if you want to move your panels with you?

Solar panels count as a fixture/fitting, so you are at liberty to take them with you. But it can be costly to have them removed and reinstalled, especially as you’ll need to leave the roof in good condition. You’re almost certainly better off negotiating a price for them with the new owners.

Getting your panels cleaned/serviced

It can help your sale to make sure your panels are in peak condition. A spring clean will get them looking their best and an electrical service could help ease any potential concerns from the buyer.

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Buying a house with solar panels

Are the solar panels owned by the seller?

Back in the early 2010s solar boom, some installers fitted solar panels for free on the condition that they received all the Feed-in Tariff payments. This can be tricky when it comes to buying a property, as the installation company may own the solar system and lease the roof space. On top of that, many of these kinds of installers have gone bust and transferred ownership to another company.

So check that the seller owns the solar panels outright. Otherwise, it will be a mess for the solicitors to untangle!

When were they installed?

The expected lifespan of solar panels is a minimum of 25 years (at which point they should be generating at least 80% of their original level, but they may still work for many years after this). Finding out the installation date will give you an idea of how long you can expect to generate free, clean energy.

Will you get Feed-in Tariff payments?

Ask your seller if they receive Feed-in Tariff (FiT) payments, and for how much longer the system is eligible.

You should contact the energy supplier that pays the FiT payments to find out what they require to transfer payments. If Spirit installed the system, we can provide a proof of ownership letter which shows the ownership has passed over to you. You can then provide this as proof to the supplier.

What documents do you need to get?

  • Any planning permission / building regulation consent.
  • MCS certificate.
  • Details on who installed the panels.
  • Permission to install the panels from the freeholder if the property is leasehold.
  • Structural roof survey.
  • Electrical installation certificate.
  • Warranties for the system components.

Will the panels need cleaning/servicing when you move in?

As the new owner, you will be responsible for maintenance costs. The inverter usually needs replacing after 10-15 years at the cost of around £1,000 (it’s worth finding out when the panels were installed, so you can factor this in). Panels on a sloping roof are usually cleaned enough by rain, but if they look dirty then a spring clean will help them generate more power.

Find out more

Feel free to to get in touch to learn more about solar power, or download our free guide:

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Topics: Solar PV

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