Solar Panels For Your Home

Installing solar panels at your home allows you to cash in on the government’s feed-in tariff scheme and reduce your energy bills by 50%.

You can earn up to £14,000 through the Government’s feed-in tariff; these earnings are tax free and index linked.

Fill in the form above to compare solar panel prices in your area or read our guide to domestic solar panels below.

Residential Solar Panels

In This Guide:

How will solar panels work in my home?

Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, which can be used to power your household’s appliances free of charge. Solar cells only need light to produce energy, so they work well in the UK climate, producing energy all year round even in cloudy conditions.

Solar PV cells in your panels turn sunlight into DC electricity. An inverter converts this into AC electricity which is then fed through a meter and into your home. Your system will automatically use the free electricity generated by your solar panels and then switch back to the grid as needed.

By installing solar panels you will benefit from the Government’s feed-in tariff (FiT) which pays you for producing renewable energy. The FiT scheme provides regular, tax free cash payments over 20 years. You could earn up to £14,000 from the feed-in tariff.

Installing solar panels at your home will also allow you to make significant savings on your energy bills as you can power your home with free electricity. A typical family home will save 50% on their energy bills.

You can also rest assured knowing you are doing your bit for the environment; solar panels produce renewable energy and will help you significantly reduce your household’s carbon footprint.

Learn more about how solar panels work

Is my house suitable for domestic solar panels?

The good news is most homes in the UK are suitable for solar panels. The main things to consider when working out whether your home is suitable for solar panels are:

Roof Size
You will need enough space to install solar panels on your roof. The exact space required will depend on the size of the solar panel system you have installed. An average solar panel system will need 21 sq m roof space. The minimum space you will need will be approximately 8 sq m for a 1kW system.

You will need enough space to install solar panels on your roof. The exact space required will depend on the size of the solar panel system you have installed. An average solar panel system will need 21 sq m roof space. The minimum space you will need will be approximately 8 sq m for a 1kW system. The area where the solar panels will be installed on your roof should also be shade free for the majority of the day.

Roof Direction
The direction of your roof impacts how much electricity your solar panels will produce. The ideal direction is South, but West and East facing roofs will still perform well. If you are not sure which direction your roof faces, our calculator will show you using Google Maps. Click here for the calculator

Roof Angle
The angle of your roof is another factor to consider. Solar panels can be installed to pitched roof and flats roofs. Ideally, your roof will be a pitched roof between 10 and 60 degrees. However, an angled frame can be used on flat roofs to make them suitable for solar panels.

Roof Strength
The vast majority of roofs in the UK are structurally capable of taking the weight of solar panels. Roofs are designed to take loads of around 100Kg per square metre so are more than capable of supporting the weight of solar panels. That said, an installer must do a thorough survey of your roof before commencing any installation to ensure your roof is suitable.

Conservation or Listed Buildings
Whilst most homes do not need planning permission to install solar panels, if your home is a listed building or in a conservation area you should speak to your council about whether you will need planning permission.

To install solar panels at your house you must be, or have the permission of, the homeowner. Rented homes can still install solar panels but you must have the permission of the landlord and the FiT payments are likely to go to them.

You can use our solar calculator to work out how much electricity solar panels at your property would generate along with your anticipated earnings.

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What size panel will my home need?

The size of the solar panel system you will need depends on your home’s energy requirements. As a general rule, the bigger your household’s energy requirements, the bigger solar panel system you will need.

The table below shows the typical output of different sized solar panel systems.

Typical System Size

Estimated Annual Output

A two person household will use around 3,300kW of energy a year on average. A family home, with two adults and two children, will use around 4,000kW of energy a year on average.

Because of the way the feed-in tariff works, the more energy you produce the more you will be paid. You will want to compare the cost of installation to the expected returns so you know which will give you the highest return on your investment.

Click here for more information on what size would be best

How much will I make?

a diagram showing how solar PV panels work

The Government’s feed-in tariff scheme pays you for producing renewable energy. You can earn up to £14,000 tax free through the scheme and payments last for twenty years.

By installing solar panels you will benefit from the feed-in tariff in three ways:

1. Generation Tariff
Your energy supplier will pay you 13.88p/kWh for all the energy your solar panels generate regardless of whether you use it to power your home’s appliances.

2. Export Tariff
The export tariff means you will get a further payment for the electricity you don’t use which is automatically fed back into the grid. This means you get paid 4.77p/kWh for the extra energy you generate.

3. Savings on Electricity Bill
Solar panels allow you to produce your own electricity meaning you can power your home’s appliances for free. This will significantly reduce the amount of energy you will need from your electricity supplier and therefore significantly reduce your electricity bill.

To qualify for the feed-in tariff you must use an MCS accredited installer. For more information on investing in solar panels click here

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How much will solar panels cost?

The table below shows the average cost for solar panels based on their size:

System Size

Estimated Cost
Estimated earnings over 20 years
£2,500 - £3,000
£3,000 - £4,000
£4,000 - £6,000
£6,000 - £8,000

Learn more about solar panel costs

Free solar panel schemes

There are also a limited number of free solar panel schemes available in the UK. These schemes involve a company installing solar panels at your home for free and in return they receive the feed-in tariff payments. You get the benefit of the free electricity, but don’t get the cash payments over 20 from the feed-in tariff (FiT). If you can afford the initial costs, we recommend paying for the panels yourself as you will be able cash in on the tax free FiT payments.

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Will installing solar panels affect my property’s value?

Research by the Energy Saving Trust found that renters and buyers are more likely to buy or rent a property with solar panels due to the premise of free energy. This should be reflected when calculating your property’s value.

If you sell your home within 20 years of installing solar panels, the remaining feed-in tariff payments will go to the new owners. You will want to factor this amount into your property’s value as well as the cheaper energy bills your home provides.

Do I need planning permission?

The vast majority of homes in the UK will not need planning permission to install solar panels. Solar panels fall under the ‘permitted development’ category of planning laws which means you will not need to contact your council for permission.

The only exception is when you live in a listed building or in a conservation area. It’s always best to check with your installer if you are unsure whether you need to apply for planning permission.

We also recommend notifying your home insurance provider after you have had your panels installed. In most circumstances solar panels won’t have any impact on your insurance policy but it’s always worth checking as you are adding value to your property.

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Getting the most from solar panels

Getting the most out of your solar panels means thinking about how best to maximise the free energy being produced. This may mean rethinking your usual habits. For example using your washing machine or dishwasher during sunlight hours will mean you’re powering it for free whereas if you put it on during the night you will be using power from the grid and will therefore pay for doing so.

You will also want to ensure your home is as energy efficient as possible to maximise the reduction solar panels will have on your energy bills. Energy saving steps, such as loft insulation, double glazing, using energy saving bulbs and ensuring you are on the cheapest energy deal, will also have a big impact on your bills.

You might also want to consider using a smart meter. By displaying information about your home’s energy use, a smart meter will help you manage your energy costs more effectively. By providing information about your energy use, these devices can help you to make informed decisions when managing your energy costs. The UK Government plans for every home and business in the UK to have a smart meter for electricity and gas by the end of 2020.

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