Would you like to have solar panels on your home?
But don’t know who to trust and how expensive they would be?
The Highgate boroughs of Camden, Haringey and Islington have all been included in the second phase of the Mayor of London’s Solar Together scheme. Residents are encouraged to express their interest in rooftop solar here, await the results of a ‘reverse auction’ on 22nd Aug and discover whether their roof is suitable before deciding whether to go ahead.
The first pilot phase of Solar Together was for four boroughs and, out of 4,000 registrations, more than 1,100 went ahead to accept. The winning company in the first phase of the scheme was SolarCentury (together with Ikea), which offered an average saving of 35 per cent on the cost of solar installations.
Every kWh of solar energy you would produce is calculated to use only 52gm/CO2 per kWh compared with 369gm/CO2 from natural gas and 837gm/CO2 from coal. If you are able to use your own electricity for charging an electric car, that would reduce the UK’s CO2 from the displaced petrol or diesel. (figures from Ricardo at Ecotricity)
The Governments Feed In Tariff scheme is closing for new installations in April 2019. For solar panels installed before it closes the owner will be paid 3.86p for every kWh generated (or 3.79p if after 1st Jan) plus 5.24p for half of the kWh (called ‘export’) – regardless of whether you can use the electricity yourself. See here. These will be for 20 years and increased every year for RPI. And are Tax free. You will also save apx 15p kWh on payments to your usual supplier when you use your own electricity. Before committing to this purchase you will be given the precise figures to work out your cost/savings. Note that you will need an up to date Energy Performance Certificate to prove that your house is reasonably energy efficient. See here to check.
- Registration opens – 23 June 2018. Click here. You will be asked questions about your roof, such as size and orientation, but also consider whether you have the legal rights to attach anything to the roof. If it is someone else you could approach them before applying or tell them about the opportunity later.
- Auction takes place – 22 August 2018
- Personalised offers sent out – 10 September 2018
- Acceptance ends – 19 October 2018
- Installations take place – October 2018 to end March 2019
The burning issue for Highgate is whether the relevant council will allow solar panels to be installed, depending on whether the property is in a conservation area, listed or not.
The national guidelines from the Planning Portal are:
“In many cases fixing solar panels to the roof of a single family dwelling is likely to be considered ‘permitted development’ with no need to apply for planning permission. There are however, important exceptions and conditions which must be observed. These permitted development rights apply to houses. If you live in a flat and are considering fitting solar panels please visit the Planning Portal for further updates.” And the general exceptions are:
- it would protrude more than 20cm from the wall or above the roof slope (when measured perpendicularly from the external surface of the wall or roof);
- the highest part of the solar panel or equipment will be higher than the highest part of the roof (excluding any chimney);
- the property is in a conservation area and/or covered by an Article 4 Direction and it would be located on a wall or roof slope visible from the road; or
- it would be installed on an outbuilding within the grounds of a listed building
- If your house or flat is a listed building (or part of a listed building), you will need to apply for listed building consent to install a solar .
If these apply – and the majority of homes in Highgate are in a conservation area – then you will need to apply for full planning permission (flats) or householder planning permission (houses) to proceed with Solar Together. The programme has a helpdesk opne Monday to Friday, 8am-5.30pm on 0800 060 8509, where this can be discussed.
CAMDEN HOME OWNERS
No specific web site for Solar Together has been found for Camden, but expressions of interest can be made here .
HARINGEY HOME OWNERS
Haringey’s Solar Together web site is here. and their leaflet is below:
Islington’s Solar Together web site is here:
Do I need Planning Permission to install solar panels? The rule of thumb for homes in the Islington conservation areas is that panels should not be visible from the street. See advice here. For listed buildings owners would need to go through the usual process for permission.
FAQs here and Twitter is at @solartogether
Solar Together London is being run in partnership with iChoosr – independent experts in group buying. Their dedicated helpdesk is available to answer your questions Monday to Friday, 8am-5.30pm on 0800 060 8509.
Note that Londoners outside of these boroughs may still participate in the scheme, but this will be subject to installers’ availability in your area.