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Thousands complain about solar panels

September 9, 2019

By Paul Homewood


h/t John Hultquist


Solar panel chickens are coming home to roost!



Thousands of people who bought solar panels have complained to a financial watchdog that they are not bringing them the returns they were promised.

Many people took out loans to pay for panels on the promise they would save thousands of pounds in electricity costs and make money generating power.

They say they have not had the expected savings, and the Financial Services Ombudsman has had 2,000 complaints.

Barclays Bank has put aside £38m to deal with potential claims.

Brian Thompson from Rowlands Gill, Gateshead, told BBC Inside Out he was contacted by a salesman for PV Solar UK but told him he did not want to take a loan on as he was preparing for retirement.

He said he was told the move would provide money towards his pension, which persuaded him, and he took out a loan with Barclays of more than £10,000 over 10 years.

Mr Thompson said the payments he was getting back from the power his solar panels sent to the National Grid did not correspond with what he was told.

"I had to dip into my savings which I was putting away for retirement to pay the loan off. To me it was lies," he said.

An independent survey of Mr Thompson’s system showed even after 20 years the income from the panels would not cover the cost of the loan.

Barclays offered him some compensation but Mr Thompson said it was not enough.

PV Solar UK went into liquidation in 2017.

Robert Skillen, who was the director of the firm when Mr Thompson bought his system, said Mr Thompson’s panels would make him money.

Mr Skillen is now in business claiming to help people who have been missold solar panels. He did not want to be interviewed.

Tony Walch, from Bolton, was told he would be better off by £30,000 over 20 years when he bought solar panels from MyPlanet.

He said: "They were very, very persuasive. Everything they said was plausible. It was a no-brainer."

He took out a loan of £15,000 but he said the panels did not generate the amount of electricity he was promised. They also overheated, damaging the equipment, and he believed they had cost him more than £500 a year.

It is sad that these people have been taken advantage of, but as I have been pointing out for ages, the economics for solar panels simply don’t stack up. Bear in mind as well that these people presumably are benefitting from the generous feed in tariff subsidies, recently withdrawn by the government.

To  expect a payback when average electricity bills are only about £500 a year, and potential savings only a small fraction of that, while the cost of installing panels is £10000 to £15000 is plainly ridiculous.

And that’s before factoring in the cost of interest, which at Barclays is currently 5.5% APR. The cost of interest alone dwarfs any savings to be made from electricity produced.

While the BBC implies that this is all the fault of cowboy solar panel installers and wicked bankers, the real responsibility lies with government and the climate industry generally. It is they who have been promoting solar and other renewable technology, for instance via the Green Deal, and encouraging people to believe how cheap it is.

  1. September 9, 2019 10:46 am

    Reblogged this on Climate-

  2. Paul Reynolds permalink
    September 9, 2019 10:49 am

    The fault does not lie with those attempting to sell their product. Everyone has the right and ability to examine the evidence and decline a sale. But when people have been falsely deceived into the merits of the product by mendacious and irresponsible government policy then the guilty should be brought to account.

    • September 9, 2019 1:50 pm

      “mendacious and irresponsible government policy ” ? Is there any other type ?

      • Michael Adams permalink
        September 10, 2019 11:27 am

        Have you noticed the subtle change of tack? They now realising that all the renewables are not as good at producing energy as they thought so, to achieve their target for carbon reduction, they are now saying it is our lifestyle that much change. It’s similar to the alarmists who first said it was global warming which went to climate change when the world didn’t warm and now we have extreme weather now the climate didn’t change like they said. It’s already changing to climate emergency. How much more dramatic can they get.

    • Joe Public permalink
      September 9, 2019 2:03 pm

      PR: “The fault does not lie with those attempting to sell their product.”

      The sellers probably/possibly misled by overestimating the potential ‘savings’. Some unscrupulous sellers may have even lied.

      However, the buyers also have a responsibility – caveat emptor. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

      • Paul Reynolds permalink
        September 9, 2019 4:21 pm

        “Probably, possibly……..may even have lied”. That speculation gets us no nearer the truth. So caveat emptor every time. Check and double check before rushing to a decision.

  3. Tim Spence permalink
    September 9, 2019 11:02 am

    “average electricity bills are only about £500 a year”

    Surely they are more for the average household

    • roger permalink
      September 9, 2019 11:27 am

      little boxes, little boxes,
      made out of ticky tacky
      little boxes little boxes
      And they all look just the same!
      Can’t remember who penned this sharply observed ditty many years ago.
      I wish my bill was £500pa but then I live in a house that accommodates
      normal sized furniture and cats could if one so wished, be swung.

      • September 9, 2019 11:40 am

        Malvina Reynolds, US singer-songwriter, wrote Little Boxes

      • Gamecock permalink
        September 9, 2019 11:52 am

        Made famous by Pete Seeger.

      • Tim Spence permalink
        September 9, 2019 6:03 pm

        I pay close to £1000 (€1200) each year in Spain, but the heating and air conditioning are electric, and a third of the bill is just environmental costs.

        As for gas, that is real cheap and I pay about £25 per month, but that’s just for cooking and shower.

      • September 9, 2019 6:35 pm

        Yes, Tim. Obviously a lot of your leccy goes on air con.

        Our energy bills are split about 50/50 for elec and gas (which we use for heating and hot water)

    • GeoffB permalink
      September 9, 2019 11:52 am

      Ofcom work on 3,500 kWh per annum as an average, it works out as £500 to £600

      • Gerry, England permalink
        September 9, 2019 1:51 pm

        Seems to be close for me in a 3 bed chalet bungalow living alone but only since the fishpond filtration had to be switched off due to a fault. A friend said it didn’t use much but I was shocked at how the weekly use dropped.

    • September 9, 2019 12:08 pm

      That’s about what I pay

      • Bloke down the pub permalink
        September 9, 2019 12:32 pm

        ‘To expect a payback when average electricity bills are only about £500 a year, and potential savings only a small fraction of that, while the cost of installing panels is £10000 to £15000 is plainly ridiculous.’

        The saving from a reduction in electricity bills is small compared to the FIT payments, at least for those who got the FIT at the original rate, before the government started paring it back.

    • John189 permalink
      September 9, 2019 12:49 pm

      Admittedly away for some 10 weeks each year, but….largish, old house, gas central heating, electric appliances – shopped around and Avro Energy gave me a tariff costing £25 per month/£300 p.a. which exactly covers consumption. £500 sounds reasonable if not rather high!

    • September 9, 2019 9:42 pm

      500 is about what we pay in a three bedroomed house. Cooking is done on gas.

  4. Athelstan. permalink
    September 9, 2019 11:12 am

    Alas, buy into the green deal and get dirt returns and a leaky roof.

    The people sold sly, and another HMG pup, what a surprise.

  5. Saighdear permalink
    September 9, 2019 11:17 am

    Huh, SERVES THEM RIGHT ! – maybe they should have listened to / read what , I had to say!. When I went through he motions many years ago, and considered a Bank loan , MY BANK would not even consider it !!!. A distant neighbour used to have their PV production on line to show how (little) ws being produced during the Long summer days…. was a joke then – is off-line SCRAPPED now. says it all. Where was the true sunshine this year? we are burning more Power this year for lighting due to the heavily overcast days in a house where the developers / Planning authorities, deem we should have SMALLER windows – to keep the heat IN.( & light out) talk about towneez and their UHI etc – having no connection WITH the REAL WORLD ( nonurban). …..
    just like Brexit & remoaners – WE DO KNOW what we vote for … just saying

    So Let those Complainants SUFFER it at there OWN EXPENSE – they went in with there eyes OPEN , looking through ROSE tinted glasses. Let the Buyer Beware.

  6. A C Osborn permalink
    September 9, 2019 11:25 am

    Scammers succeed by appealing to people’s inherent greed, as that guy said it was a “no brainer”, ie his brain was switched off.
    Add in the moral side of the issue that they are quite happy for the rest of the tax payers to subsidise them, it serves them right.

    • A C Osborn permalink
      September 9, 2019 11:34 am

      As they say a fool and their money are soon parted.

      • Joe Public permalink
        September 9, 2019 2:18 pm

        Unless the ‘fool’ can persuade others that ‘the fool’ is the victim.

      • bobn permalink
        September 9, 2019 4:23 pm

        Yes, PPI comes to mind. All those people compensated for being too stupid to read the small print – precedent set.

  7. GeoffB permalink
    September 9, 2019 11:47 am

    The situation is a worse than it appears. The return on investment had the feed in tariff factored into the payback period. The feed in tariff is then recovered as a levy on everyone’s electricity bill, including the solar panel owner.
    My roof is perfect for solar panels, south facing, large single pitch, the right angle…during the early sales push I had cold callers enticing me to put up panels with calculations of mammoth savings and 6 year paybacks. When I worked the figures from basic equations and facts. I came up with 15 year plus payback. I live near Newcastle… 55 degrees north!

    Some neighbours were enticed to put them up about 10 years ago (one is East/West and another is a vertical south facing, others are south facing on an angle) None have met the payback promised, the East/West overlooked by a large tree in the West may meet payback in 16 years!!!

    Industry generally looks at a maximum of 3 years for payback on capital investment.

    • Dave Ward permalink
      September 9, 2019 1:32 pm

      “Overlooked by a large tree”

      Which seems to apply to a lot of the ones I see on my travels. And if not that, badly placed panels which get partially obscured by chimneys or roof ridges are commonplace. Considering the installations shown in the above article don’t appear to suffer from these drawbacks, the mind boggles at how little power numerous poorly sited ones produce…

  8. rah permalink
    September 9, 2019 11:53 am

    This truck driver has gotten a chuckle when he see’s all the solar panels up in Ontario Canada.

    • Athelstan. permalink
      September 9, 2019 4:20 pm


      unbounded optimism over reality, suckers there are aplenty.

      bleeding hell, bleeding money.

  9. Gamecock permalink
    September 9, 2019 11:54 am

    “Thousands of chumps who bought solar panels have complained to a financial watchdog that they are not bringing them the returns they were promised.”


    Note also that chumps look to government to save them from themselves. Government as enablers.

  10. john cooknell permalink
    September 9, 2019 12:04 pm

    This is not the only “snake oil” being sold, in my professional life I looked at all the “energy saving” cost saving options available and found nearly all were next to useless.

    Even the award winning major build projects i looked at never achieved the design savings and most had to be abandoned in favour of a more conventional approach.

    The fashion in domestic housing is for log burning stoves and small commercial its air source heat pumps, these are very problematic from an environmental and energy efficient perspective but that is what is encouraged by the Gov planning system.

    I do not know whether the numerous wind turbines will be viewed by my grandchildren as the things that saved us or rusting monuments to a failed belief, and nobody else does either.

  11. September 9, 2019 12:11 pm

    I refer to solar panels as Avian Air Fryers.

  12. Pancho Plail permalink
    September 9, 2019 12:19 pm

    The only way I could make it work was self-installing a couple of panels on my shed using half-price cosmetically imperfect panels. They run my fridge and freezers during daylight hours and the calculated payback was 18 months. During the last couple of years I have donated just 18kwh in feed-in to the grid (self-installers don’t get paid for the leccy they produce) so I seem to have got the balance about right.

  13. George Lawson permalink
    September 9, 2019 12:30 pm

    It is a disgrace that the government effectively tricked the public into believing that going solar would make them a profit. The government are the people who, with the manufacturers should be compensating those who have been tricked into spending their lifetimes savings on these wasteful projects in order to support their own ridiculous dash to support the global warming hoax at all costs.

  14. Gamecock permalink
    September 9, 2019 12:55 pm

    “Solar energy is free!”

    But the equipment to capture and use it is not.

    Variable cost: very low.

    Fixed cost: extremely high.

    Same deal with wind generation.

  15. George L permalink
    September 9, 2019 1:49 pm

    Poor Suckers
    I know of one case where someone was pleased with solar panels. An engineer who lives in the Southern U.S. and with his own work put them on his barn. He made no mention of his house. I believe this the exception that proves the rule.

  16. September 9, 2019 1:54 pm

    Solar panels in the north of England ? HA HA HA.

  17. Broadlands permalink
    September 9, 2019 2:14 pm

    Solar panels do not lower atmospheric CO2. When they wear out or become outmoded they are renewables turning into replaceables. Where do you put them? Next to those fossil fuel-powered vehicles? Or, next to the worn-out wind turbines? This is crazy!

  18. Joe Public permalink
    September 9, 2019 2:16 pm

    Hi Paul

    “Bear in mind as well that these people presumably are benefitting from the generous feed in tariff subsidies, recently withdrawn by the government.”

    Retrofit solar pv Feed-In Tariff was originally paid at approx 5x the then buying rate for grid-supplied electricity. FiT was 54.17p/kWh in 2010/11, and provides index-linked and tax free income for 20 years, paid for by all other electricity users.

    The generosity of those historic feed-in tariffs is detailed here:

    Why should Barclays’ (and other banks’) customers pay out when those who attempted to massively profit from a purchase, haven’t?

    • bobn permalink
      September 9, 2019 4:34 pm

      Yes, the original FIT payments were very generous and I know people who installed 10yrs ago under that deal and have now covered the cost of their installations – the PR was 7yr payback but achieved in 9. After the Fit payments were slashed the economics dont work at all 30yr payback maybe. However alot of the salesmen are promoting solar on the figures of the early but unavailable FITS scheme. These people need to have the sales paperwork promises to hand,; they may well have a mis-selling false advertising claim bu8t of course the cowboys have all gone bust. We were sold a fridge expecting it to last 5yrs plus. Broke and unrepairable after 15months – will i get compensation? The more modern the technology the less reliable it is, is the rule.

  19. David Kendrick permalink
    September 9, 2019 2:22 pm

    PPI has come to an end so this is the next frontier for the ambulance chaser.

  20. Skyman permalink
    September 9, 2019 2:59 pm

    Is the Beeb actually coming round to seeing the reality of the climate scam? I doubt it but it would be interesting if true!

  21. Bruce of Newcastle permalink
    September 9, 2019 11:46 pm

    Just wait. When insurance companies start charging premium increases for houses with solar panels, due to the fire hazard, the howling will become ear splitting.

    Walmart and other companies are already suing Tesla for causing many fires because of solar panels Tesla sold them. Fire fighters already avoid roof fires where solar panels are installed because of the electrical hazard. It can’t be long before insurance companies feel safe enough to charge extra for solar panel risks.

    • Michael Adams permalink
      September 10, 2019 11:12 am

      Can you imagine the political pressure to stop this!

  22. September 11, 2019 9:25 am

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

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