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ENERGY

Are solar panels in Norway worth investing in for your home?

More and more people want to make the switch to greener energy, but Norway isn’t known for its searing sun. So, are solar panels in Norway worth investing in for you home? Here’s what you need to know. 

Are solar panels in Norway worth investing in for your home?
A man installs solar panels on the roof of a home but is it worth investing in solar energy in Norway? Photo by Bill Mead on Unsplash

High electricity prices and the urge to go green mean many in Norway are pondering whether it is worth getting solar panels. 

Solar panels turn the sun’s rays into energy which can be sold to the power grid or used for your own home. 

Figures from The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) show that solar power capacity in Norway has increased ten-fold since 2015. Despite this, the Scandinavian country still lags behind others. 

“Nevertheless, estimated electricity production is less than 1/1000th of the electricity consumption in Norway. So why is this not even higher? Germany has managed to generate over 10 percent of the electricity they need from solar power by 2020,” Associate Professor Martin Møller Greve at the Department of Physics and Technology at UiB told public broadcaster NRK

Below we’ll look at some of the pros and cons of solar energy in Norway. 

READ ALSO: Rising energy prices: How to save on your Norwegian electricity bill

How much does switching to solar energy cost?  

Solar panels in Norway can cost between 40,000 and 130,000 kroner on average for a detached house. In comparison, solar cells cost between 2,500 and 3,000 kroner per square meter, and more design-friendly solar tiles cost between 3,500 and 4,000 kroner per square metre, according to home improvement site bolingsmart.no.

There is a subsidy scheme that can help cushion some of the cost too. The Enova subsidy will allow households to receive 26,500 kroner in support for powering themselves with solar cells and up to 7,500 kroner in grants to help with installation costs. 

How long does it take for the panels to become profitable?

Bjørn Thorud, who works in the solar energy industry and has panels on his home, told NRK that it would take at least a decade to cover their costs. 

“The repayment period is perhaps 10 to 15 years,” Thorud estimated. 

Bollingsmart.no estimates the length of time to be higher at between 17-20 years. 

The panels themselves have a lifespan of between 25 to 30 years. 

However, they may pay for themselves in other ways. The installation of solar panels in other countries, such as Sweden and the US, increases the overall value of the house, Thorud noted.

“We see in those countries that the value of the home rises about as much as it costs to buy solar cells,” Thorud says. 

There currently isn’t any research or evidence that suggests the panels have the same effect in Norway, however. 

Location, location, location 

According to Thorud, southern and eastern parts of the country are best for panels, but they are also a viable option in the north. 

“We work on Svalbard, where there is weaker sun, but where the price of electricity is high. This makes it profitable,” the solar panel expert explained. 

A lot also depends on your own house and its location. 

“But we all have different houses. Some may be down in a valley and have a lot of shade, while others are on a peak and have a lot of light,” Thorud explained.

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PROPERTY

Key mistakes to avoid when bidding on a house in Norway 

Norway's house bidding process is equally stressful and confusing, but before putting in an offer, you should make sure you aren't making any of these costly mistakes. 

Key mistakes to avoid when bidding on a house in Norway 

Buying a house is normally stressful enough, whether it’s getting a mortgage in place, going to dozens of viewings or spending hours going through listings. 

In Norway, the process is further complicated by the house bidding process, which you will have to go through when buying most properties today.

Additionally, you could make several mistakes that could make the process harder or cost you dearly. 

READ ALSO: 

Not having financing in place

Before you can bid on a property, you need to visit the bank to ensure financing for your purchase. If you are taking out a mortgage on the house, you will need to make sure you know the set limit the bank will allow to borrow. 

When you make a bid, the estate agent will contact the bank to ensure that you have the financial arrangements. If you do not have enough money or the mortgage your bank agreed on doesn’t cover the cost, your bid will be rebuffed. 

Therefore it is crucial to know your financial limits when entering bidding rounds to avoid any disappointments. 

Making a bid on a house you aren’t sure about

You should be absolutely sure that you could see yourself living in a property when you bid on it. This is because bids in Norway are legally binding, meaning that even if you put in a speculative bid and it’s accepted, you won’t be able to back out.

This means that you should avoid putting in any offers on homes you aren’t 100 percent sure about.

So while you may be in a rush to get on the property ladder or take a step up, patience will prevail over diving in headfirst. 

Forgetting to do proper research

The devil is always in the detail, and as dull as it may be, you should always read the small print to avoid any nasty shocks. 

This is especially important when buying apartments in Oslo and other cities where you will likely encounter housing associations where residents will be expected to pay various fees or contribute to the upkeep of the block. 

“For instance, if they are planning to replace the roof of the block the next year, you will read about it in the sales documents. It is important to consider whether you can afford a property also after potential add-ons,” Trine Dahl-Pettersen, real estate agent at Eindom 1, explained to The Local

Reading the small print isn’t the only place where research pays off. For example, one reader who has bought a house in Norway pointed out that finding a place that needs a little bit of work can help you avoid intense bidding wars, and locals tend to want a ready-made home to move into. 

“Finding a property that won’t go sky high over the asking price when bidding can be challenging. However, I quickly noticed that Norwegians are not afraid to bid high for a ready-to-go home,” Scott told The Local of his experiences buying in Bergen. 

“If you are comfortable doing some work on it, you can find a much better deal, maybe even under the asking price,” he added.

Therefore, market research can help prevent you from paying over the odds. 

Making more than one bid at a time

Unfortunately, putting plenty of bids out and seeing which offers stick could be a lot more disastrous than you may think. 

As mentioned earlier, bids in Norway are legally binding. Meaning that if you have two bids accepted at the same time, you will be legally obligated to purchase both of them.

Not having BankID

Despite the bidding process being done over the phone, there are still some hoops to jump through. 

You’ll need to have a Norwegian Bank ID available for the bidding process, as it is needed to confirm your identity when sending your bids. 

Without this, you won’t be able to lodge any offers. 

In addition to bank ID, you will need a Norwegian identification number (D-number/Personnummer) to hand. 

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