Moving house - can you take your panels?

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Moving house - can you take your panels?

Postby Sparrowgal » Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:40 pm

Not that I'm planning on moving house any time soon but I'm wondering if you install a nice system and then you decide to move house is it best to leave the system behind or is it possible to take the system with you and reinstall on your new home?

Would probably boost your house price if the new owners make money out of your system with feed-in tariffs.
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Re: Moving house - can you take your panels?

Postby SR76 » Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:08 pm

You could move them - but I'd think long and hard before doing so.

Issues that spring to mind (both pro and con, and may be different for different circumstances):

1) Will removing the inverter leave a gaping hole in the wall?
2) Will removing the panels leave a mess on the roof (leak points, silicone patches, unevenly faded tiles etc.)
3) Removal / installation costs - vs. purchasing new system from scratch
4) Rebate issues (depending on the scheme you might find the panels are considered as effectively property of the house rather than the owner - you may even have to repay the rebate)
5) How much value do they actually add to sales price? Most of the time we don't get the full value of any renovation back in the sales price...? At least if you take them with you, you retain the investment.

At the moment, the number of PV systems installed in Australia is small and I suspect very few houses have yet to be sold with an existing system so there may not be a lot of info on resale value.

Has anyone here bought or sold a house with a PV system already installed?
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Re: Moving house - can you take your panels?

Postby Tracker » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:39 am

RG pointed to the most important point - Rebates...

If you got a rebate, then the system is LOCKED to the house, and you are not supposed to touch it.
In fact, technically, I think you are responsible to keep it running for the 15 years of its life.

If there is no rebate issues, then you can obviously remove and re-install as you see fit. BUT --
There is a lot of work to install, and only slightly less to remove, and technology is changing, improving and generally prices are reducing. I think that I would leave the tile-brackets there.

I would be confident that removal would have to be of economic value, but at what trouble
..
.
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Re: Moving house - can you take your panels?

Postby Sparrowgal » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:33 pm

Thanks all for the comments and feedback, I guess that means I'd better live in this house for at least another 10 years! I didn't realise the rebate was tied to the house, that's important to know!
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Re: Moving house - can you take your panels?

Postby solar4phil » Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:19 pm

According to a recent article, solar could add 3% to the value of the house. In most cases this means you should leave there and buy another for the new property
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Re: Moving house - can you take your panels?

Postby rg767 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:25 pm

If you have a system rebated from SHCP or the old PVRP you are obliged to leave it where it is for 5 years only.

I believe that you can move systems that were rebated by RECs or solar credits also, although I suspect that if you were audited then you would have to prove that they were reinstalled somewhere else.

The 15 year period is just for deeming purposes.
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Re: Moving house - can you take your panels?

Postby green-change » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:22 pm

If you received a rebate when you installed your solar electricity panels, you can still move the system when you move house. You just have to get permission from the AGO first. They'll need proof of ownership of the new property (e.g. council rates notice), and proof that it's your primary residence (e.g. updated drivers license).

If you're selling the old property, make sure it's clearly spelt out in the contract of sale that you'll be taking the panels with you. Also make it clear that you may not be able to take the panels immediately because you will need to wait on the AGO permission and the tradesperson's availability.

I've found it is hard to find someone who can move the panels for you. Your best bet is to start with your original installer - this makes things like warranty etc simpler as well. If they can't/won't do it, then start looking for local electricians with solar experience.

Moving costs should start at around $1000 or so, but expect to pay more if the roof types are different (you may need new mounting brackets), if access is difficult (e.g. multi-storey building), wiring is complex (e.g. poor access to roof cavity, long cable runs), etc. You will probably need to pay the costs for the grid-connect hookup again, too - check with your local utility company.

I'm going through this process at the moment, and it does take some time. Not many people have done it, so it's all a bit of a learning curve for everyone.

Is it worth it? In my experience of trying to sell our old house, almost nobody understands grid-connected solar power (especially the real estate agents!). They eye it suspiciously, thinking they're going to be up for additional maintenance and repair costs down the track (they've all heard that batteries for solar systems are expensive - they never quite get it that there are no batteries in grid-connect!). Even when it's all explained, I don't think it adds any value to the house - nice to have, but not worth paying extra for. It wasn't going to get us a higher price, anyway, and this was a house in a fairly affluent area.

The cost of moving your system is certainly going to be less than the cost to purchase a new system for the new house. If your system is still relatively young, then you'll get a good long service life out of it almost comparable to a new system.

In summary, unless you have a buyer that understands grid-connected solar and is willing to pay extra to keep it, it's certainly worthwhile to move your system to your new home.
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Re: Moving house - can you take your panels?

Postby green-change » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:24 pm

Oh, and the person above was correct. The SHCP and PVRS rebate schemes only specified that the system would remain at the installed address for 5 years. If that time period has elapsed, you can do what you like with the system!
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Re: Moving house - can you take your panels?

Postby Brisbane-psych » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:36 am

In Queensland from 1st January 2010 we have a compulsory sustainability check list to be filled in by the seller of any house. This allows the buyer to make an informed decision about the home they are buying. The checklist looks at the property's environmental and social sustainability features in four key areas: energy, water, safety, and access. If your house is high in all four areas, this clearly increases its value over a house that scores poorly, so leaving the roof insulation, the solar hot water system, and the PV panels is good for the sale price. Not only that, but in our home our new solar package is paying us money. We are feeding into the grid during the day at 50cents killowatt, and taking out at 17.13 cents kW. During summer we produce between 4 and 7.5 kW a day (on a 1.44 kW system). On average we feed in about 3.5 kW of this, and we take out about 4.5 kW. If you do the math on this, we pay ~77cents per day for what we take out, and get back ~$1.75, which means we are up by nealy $1 per day, or ~$355 annually. Any home buyer should be happy with that. Even if they used more power than us, they could still break even. In other states the feed in tariff is higher still, so leaving the system seems a sensible sales decision. Also, many new homes in QLD come with solar hot water and PV panels. You would only want to take the panels with you if you were moving to an existing home. Cheers, David
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Re: Moving house - can you take your panels?

Postby green-change » Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:34 am

I agree, people SHOULD be happy to pay more to keep the system. However, my experience with trying to sell my house is that people are generally not that aware about these things, and the solar system just seemed to complicate matters. Some people liked it, but it wasn't going to add $5K to the value of the house (despite having an insured value of around $12K). That meant we were better off taking it with us.
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