How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in the UK?
HERE'S OUR guide to solar panel pricing, answering your FAQs on the cost of solar, as well as the other benefits of having free and sustainable electricity.
You’ll find everything you need to know about solar photovoltaics (PV) for domestic rooftops - just scroll down, or click the questions most relevant to you.
How much do solar panels cost?
The average size PV installation is 3kW, costs £4-6k and takes up 21m2 of roofspace.
However this varies: solar installations can be as small as 1kW and the feed-in tariff is available on systems up to 5kW.
Prices of typical solar panel installations:
How much could I save?
A 3kW system can quite happily cut the average domestic energy bill by half. This can be increased by battery storage and maximised if you adopt energy efficient behaviour.
The principle is: the more energy you use during daylight hours the more you stand to gain from solar PV. Effectively while you're generating electricity you are making free power. This can mean:
(a) Your property is occupied during the day
(b) You set the timers on your appliances to run during daylight – or ‘generation’ – hours
(c) You invest in battery storage.
Remember energy prices are skyrocketing and you should bear in mind the future savings. Historically, government has underestimated the rising rate of electricity prices meaning your solar returns will likely be more than official figures.
Feed-in tariff – what % is the ROI?
• Feed-in tariff rate – 15.44pkW
• National Grid sell back rate – 4.5pkW
• The feed-in tariff is tax-free, index-linked and lasts twenty years. Solar panels themselves function for up to fifty years.
• The typical ROI is 9-11%.
The feed-in tariff allows you to earn money for:
(i) The electricity you produce
(ii) The power you sell back to the National Grid.
Production (i) is typically the main way you earn because the production tariff rate is higher (15.44pkW) than the sell back rate (4.5pkW)
So – an unshaded south-facing roof with a 3kW PV system will typically generate over 2,500kWh of electricity per year. This means feed-in tariff earnings of £455. Combined with the energy savings this adds up to £640.
What size PV system should I get?
Ofgem estimate a single person and a co-habiting couple use around the same amount of energy – 3,300kWh per year. A family with two children use between 3,300-4,500kWh per year.
Thanks to the feed-in tariff the more energy you produce, the better the return. The percentage ROI stays the same so the bigger the system the more you earn over twenty years.
Is my roof suitable for solar PV?
Most roofs are.
Unless your roof is in the shadow of trees or is completely north-facing, you should be fine. You may also need to check if you live in a listed building or conservation area.
South-facing roofs are said to be optimal but east-facing and west-facing rooftops produce just 15% less electricity.
You’ll need a small amount of space, usually in the loft, for your inverter. One of the advantages to PV as a renewable technology is that the inverter is the only moving part of the entire PV system.
Each kW PV panel takes ups around 8m2 of roofspace. PV panels can be deployed to fit around skylights and other features.
How long do solar panels take to install?
Installation takes only a couple of days, and the very next day after completion you can be generating your own electricity and exporting anything you don’t use back to the National Grid.
What value does PV give me over time?
Once your solar panels are installed it’s very likely you’ll be good for the next fifty years. As well as the earnings from the feed-in tariffs this means ensuring yourself for the next half century against any energy price fluctuations and putting your family in the best position in case of an energy crisis.
It’s not certain whether or not PV increases the value of a household. Energy efficiency measures generally contribute to the value of a property but there is no authoritative data for PV. It may be that a future buyer of your home will appreciate the energy savings of PV, but this can’t be said with any certainty.
What are the risks?
Solar panels are low-risk as there are no moving parts apart from the small inverter, which is the only part that may need replacing over the lifespan of the PV system. Most PV installations will come guaranteed for the first twenty five years, and it’s widely acknowledged they’ll last another twenty five after that.
The only risk would be if your solar panels aren’t installed properly, however there are accreditation standards and trade bodies to ensure against this happening. To avoid this, search for MCS accredited companies with a proven trading history. It’s advisable to find at least three quotes before committing to an installation.
Solar panels can provide half the energy used each year by a regular UK household. Daylight goes in and free electricity comes out.
The ROI is high and won't fluctuate, and the returns are tax-free and index-linked. Solar PV gives you energy independence in the form of security from rising energy prices.
In terms of aesthetics the blue varieties aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but there are black panels, incorporated panels and many other options.
Don’t forget to include your PV system on the household insurance policy. Other than that, we think this covers the basics. If you have any more questions please leave them in the comments below.
Alternatively complete the form at the top of the page to receive a call from one of our team and we’ll be happy to put you in contact with solar panel companies in your local area.