Solar panels for park homes: our advice
New park homes are insulated to a very high standard, but that was not always the case – insulation and heating standards have both risen hugely as park home build standards have increased. So, if you’ve bought an older park home, it’s possible you could be spending more than you may need to on your energy bills
But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are several companies that specialise in making park homes more energy efficient. The technology is varied and there are plenty of options available, including external wall, loft and underfloor insulation, energy-efficient boilers – and solar panels.
- What's the deal with solar power?
- Can a park home have solar panels?
- What are the advantages of solar panels?
- What else do you need to consider?
- About our magazines
Words by Val Chapman
What's the deal with solar power?
(Photo courtesy of Oaklands Park)
By harnessing the sun’s power, you can reduce your heating bills and make a small contribution to the global quest to make the world a ‘greener’ place by using a renewable energy source.
Park Home Energy advises, “With bills rocketing, there is something you can do about your rising electricity bill – install a solar photovoltaic system with battery storage at your park home.
“Solar has peaks and troughs – there’s no available sunlight at night, and winter typically has fewer hours of useable sunlight than summer.
“The perfect solution is to install a battery unit to store power generated but not used. You can then draw on the power as and when it is needed.”
Can a park home have solar panels?
(Photo from Shutterstock)
The answer is ‘yes’. The roofs on park homes are very different to traditional brick-built homes so it’s important to have any installation done by a company with experience and specialist knowledge.
Park Home Assist Insurance Services says that some installers claim to provide systems which combine solar panels with a storage battery that will deliver up to 90% of a park home’s energy requirement.
Park Home Assist advises, “Solar panels will add significant weight to your roof, and you may also need to take into account any wind-lift factor which solar panels may add. There are lighter-weight panels available, or you may want to consider panels in a frame on your pitch at ground level.”
Leading park home manufacturer, the Omar Group, lists solar panels among renewable energy solutions that can be applied to its park homes. (Others include air source or ground source heat pumps.)
Pathfinder Homes has set up a partnership with a solar panel expert; Pathfinder can fit solar panel clips that simplify the process of installing solar panels.
Park Home Renewables offers a range of green energy solutions for park home owners and points out, “Solar PV operates silently, without moving parts or emissions and does not need direct sunlight. We design solutions that provide up to three decades of reliable renewable energy.”
What are the advantages of solar panels?
(Photo from Shutterstock)
The most obvious advantage of installing solar panels is in reducing your electricity bills.
Harnessing the energy that the sun provides has ‘green’ appeal in that it’s a renewable energy source. According to GreenMatch, the energy the sun provides to the earth for one hour could meet the global energy needs for a year. So, by installing solar panels on your park home, you are making a positive contribution to the environment by reducing your carbon footprint.
Little maintenance is required for solar panels. They need to be cleaned twice a year, and there are companies that offer this service. GreenMatch points out that, because there are no moving parts, there is no wear and tear, and only the inverter may need to be changed, after five to 10 years.
Not only will solar panels save you money on electricity bills, it is possible to take advantage of the Government-backed Smart Export Guarantee scheme. Platinum Park Homes Services says, “With the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) you can also earn money back for exporting excess solar energy generated by your solar panel system into the grid.” The Smart Export Guarantee scheme uses your smart meter to work out how much energy you produce, and you are paid a rate based on any electricity you generate but do not use.
What else do you need to consider?
(Photo from Shutterstock)
Under the Warm Home Discount Scheme, park home owners could get a £150 reduction in electricity bills for winter 2023-2024. This is a discount applied to electricity bills until 31 March, 2024.
Residents can apply for the payment if they are billed for their energy usage by their park owner.
You may qualify for the Park Homes Warm Home Discount Scheme if you receive Pension Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, or if the gross income in the household is below £18,723.
The scheme for park home owners is administered by Charis, which is an administrator for funds and grants, plus energy providers. Application is online, via Lightning Reach, a financial support portal (lightningreach.org).