What happens to your solar panel system if you move house

The Feed-In-Tariff, known as ‘FiT’, is a government backed cash-back scheme that pays people who create their own electricity using green technology, including Solar Panels Sydney systems. The scheme lasts for 20 years, but with the average family moving house every 7 years, where does this leave you if you decide to sell up and move on?

Can I continue in the FiT scheme by taking my solar panels to my new property?

In a word, no. Although you could remove your solar panels, you wouldn’t be able to continue in the FiT scheme, as technically the ownership of the scheme is linked to the property itself, not the person who owns the system. Taking your solar panels with you and using them at your new house would categorise them as a new installation; however, they would still not qualify for the FiT scheme as the system would have essentially become second hand.

Another important consideration is that your solar panels will have been tailored specifically to fit your roof and the direction in which your roof faces. It is unlikely that they will fit your new property and continue to work as effectively. Furthermore, there is the risk that your panels could be damaged in the process of removing them.

How will my solar PV installation be regarded by my estate agent or a potential buyer?

Solar panels are usually categorised as ‘fixtures’ and would generally be included in the sale of the property alongside all other fixtures and fittings, so you need to bear this in mind when deciding your asking price for the property as a whole. You are within your rights to exclude your solar PV system via a Fixtures, Fittings and Contents document. This gives you the opportunity to negotiate a separate contract to transfer the ownership of your solar panel system to your buyer.

Potential advantages of this arrangement can include:

•The chance to negotiate a better price for your solar panel system. This might be important if your estate agent hasn’t really taken your solar panels into account when valuing your property;

•You may be able to reduce the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) payable by your buyer if the property price is near one of the thresholds for SDLT – this can be a deal-breaker for some buyers.

However, there are also possible risks associated with this:

•A buyer could be put off by the complexity of having to negotiate separately to acquire your solar PV system;

•Your buyer could decide that they are not interested in buying the system from you, which might mean that you then have to include it as a free ‘extra’ anyway or have the hassle of uninstalling it.

Could a solar PV system increase the value of my property?

There is no evidence of a direct correlation between solar panels and property value. It’s more about how much your prospective buyer values the benefits of a solar PV system and how this in turn might affect their offer. Your property valuation could potentially be affected by how much value an estate agent places on ‘green technology’. You may find that different agents have varying attitudes to renewable energy generation, so it might be useful to research a number of agents before appointing one.

The most tangible evidence of value for your buyer will be the quarterly payment cheques received through the FiT scheme, so it’s well worth making prospective buyers aware of these.

Can I still benefit from the FiT scheme if I rent out my house?
Yes and no. Although the scheme will continue for your property, the government and HMRC have introduced tougher guidelines for people who claim FiT but no longer live full time at their property. Once you move out, the payments will be viewed as taxable income, so the scheme will not be as lucrative for you as it was when you were living in the house and it was tax-free.

So what does it all mean for me?

Given the evolution of solar panel technology, there has never been a better time to invest in a solar PV system and see such great returns on your investment; however, these benefits are more significant the longer you stay in your property. If you would like to know more about how your current property could benefit from a solar panel installation, contact us for a free survey and quote. You could also check out our Frequently Asked Questions to find out more.