7 Reasons NOT to Get Solar PV

Last week I made the case for Solar PV. However like everything else in life there are reasons why you should do nothing. Here are 7 reasons why you should not deploy Solar PV.


1) Solar PV Technology Will Improve – Don’t Do It Now

Typical solar panels have a typical efficiency of about 12% with the best available at around 20%. This means that a typical panel will produce about 1Killowatt hour a day. 40% efficiency panels are promised shortly. This means that currently quoted rates of return will more than treble. If you look at it that it will take 10 years to pay back the cost of the installation the new more efficient panels will pay back in 3 years. So if the wait is less than 7 years for the new efficient panels you should wait.

Typical lifetimes are quoted as being 30 years and over this lifetime you will earn  a lot more with the newer efficient panels than the current ones. So if you look to return £30,000 over the the lifetime with the current panels then the new panels will return £120,000.

2) Prices Will Improve - Don't Do It Now

Recent figures from market analysts Bloomberg New Energy Finance show that the price of solar panels fell by 50% in 2011. They are 25% of what they were in 2008. If this rate of reduction in price continues then by 2016, without any increase in efficiency, a ten year payback will become a two and half year payback. That is if you buy solar PV today then you will be getting free electricity in 2022 but if you wait until 2016 you will get free electricity in 2019 - 3 years earlier and with 75% less cost.

3) They Look Awful and If They Don’t They Will

The Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales reports:-

“Panels do experience a significant amount of physical decay (yellowing, laminate peeling off) if they are exposed to the elements for 10 or 20 years, but the effect on their performance is limited.”

4) They Are Not Trouble Free

You need to make sure things are clean and fixings remain secure. Anything can fail and may do so and then has to be replaced. Checking your paperwork and ensuring the commercial aspects will take time. Although compared to running say a car the systems are low maintenance but don’t fool yourself you are buying yet another thing to go wrong.

5) You Aren’t Saving The Planet

The difference that Solar PV will make to C02 production is always bound to be small at best. If you want to save C02 production stop catching aeroplanes, support nuclear power or talk to your American cousins.

6) Do solar panels affect the value of the property?

Which? – the website says –“don't necessarily consider that solar PV installation will guarantee a comparable increase in the value of your property”

Certainly some of the installations we have seen are so awful visually that they must detract from the value of the property.

7) The Chinese Are Dumping Panels

The majority of panels are made in China. There are complaints that the Chinese are selling panels at a loss simply to gain market share. If you buy them you burn C02 in their manufacture, their shipment and their installation and worsen our trade balance in the process. 


If you really feel you must act then do so before March 3 when the tarrifs drop – but otherwise wait around a while and get the new more efficient panels with far better prices - which may actually be European.