Solar panels: what happens to Feed-in Tariff payments when you move?

UPDATE: The Feed-In Tariff is now closed for new applications. To find out about the new scheme designed to replace it, click here.

Solar panels are a great way to create free electricity in your own home. Aside from the savings you can make from being less reliant on importing energy from the National Grid, they also mean you can get monthly payments from the Government via the Feed-in Tariff.

The Feed-in Tariff is designed to incentivise people to install home renewables, and therefore ease pressure on national energy infrastructure. Although payment rates have been cut drastically in the past year, it is still nice to get something for nothing! Over a number of years, these payments can help to pay back for the initial outlay on installing solar panels.

Can I still claim Feed-in Tariff payments if I move solar panels to my new home?

You can’t always be sure you’re going to be in the same place in a few years’ time – so do you need to take this into account when having solar panels installed?

The quick answer is yes – if you’ve had solar panels installed and are now planning to move house, you won’t get the payments any more. FIT payments are generally paid to the owner of the property where the solar PV system is installed – so (normally) if you move house, the new homeowner will now receive the payments.It is not possible to move panels to a new property without affecting FIT payments; they would then be considered ‘second hand’ and therefore not eligible for the scheme.

The performance of your solar PV system would also be lessened, because it would originally have been tailored specifically to fit your roof and be optimised for the direction the property faced, to maximise solar gain. If you then move it, it is unlikely to work at the same efficiency.

Taking into account all the above, the answer we would give to this question is simple. Yes, it is theoretically possible to move your solar panels, but it probably wouldn’t be worth your while. You’ll no longer be eligible for Feed in Tariff payments, and your solar PV system probably won’t work as efficiently.

Solar panels are normally considered a ‘fixture’ of the house. Just as you (probably!) wouldn’t take your boiler with you when moving house, most people wouldn’t take solar panels with them either. You’d be better off starting from scratch with a whole new system optimised for its new location. The existing solar panels will be considered an attractive add-on to many potential buyers, as the energy-conscious will realise it could benefit them financially in the long run.

What should I bear in mind when installing a solar PV system?

When you install your solar PV system, make sure to do some quick calculations to estimate the payback period. Will the Feed-in Tariff payments cover the initial installation costs after the number of years you expect to stay in the property?

Obviously, you can never be sure where life will take you, but with Feed-in Tariff rates as they are now, there is no point installing an expensive solar PV system if you’re not planning to stay in your current home for long.

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