Are Solar Panels Worth The Investment?
DISCLAIMER: Our partners no longer take appointments for homeowners looking to benefit from the Feed-in Tariff, which concluded on 31st March 2019
Green energy is on the rise. More and more people and companies are implementing green initiatives in an effort to save the planet. Maybe you’ve switched to an electric car, or you’ve installed a greywater tank. But there’s always another step to be taken in the quest to be as eco-friendly as possible, and maybe your next (or first) step is the installation of solar panels.
Making this step can be hard, however, when the information behind solar panels is conflicting and confusing. Your green intentions may be overcome by your financial concerns. There can be all sorts of information about tariffs, prices, and different models. This overwhelming influx of info can leave you asking ‘are solar panels worth it?’
We’re here to clear the air regarding solar panels, and tell you whether or not solar panels are cost effective. If you'd like to start exploring your options and receive free quotes from professional solar panel installers, please fill out the form at the top of this page and our suppliers will get back to you.
I know people with solar panels who say it's a great investment
You may well have friends, family, or neighbours who have solar panels and are ecstatic with their purchase. This is likely because their solar panels were installed with the solar panel feed-in tariff in mind.
This tariff allowed people with alternative power sources, like wind turbines or, in our case, solar panels, to sell any unused energy generated by these sources back to the government, tax-free. This meant that, as well as saving money on their energy bills, solar panel owners would be making money off of their excess energy, meaning the solar panels would literally be paying for themselves.
Well sign me up!
So this feed-in tariff sounds great! But why are we referring to it in past tense? Well, as past tense would imply, this tariff is history; it was unfortunately ended on March 31st 2019. If you have installed solar panels under this tariff before March 31st 2019, there is no need to worry - you are still covered by the tariff until your 20-year contract expires.
The exact reasons it ended were never officially released, but the most common explanation is that the government wanted to redirect this money towards more large-scale commercial projects (that would have a bigger positive impact on the environment).
While it’s a shame that the tariff was ended, solar panels have become more affordable than ever before, which means the subsidization isn’t as necessary as it was when the tariff was implemented. Prices for solar panels have dropped around 70% since 2010, which is a faster drop in price than most emerging technologies.
Don’t worry though, there is a replacement scheme in the pipeline. The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) is a similar subsidy plan that will allow those who participate in low-carbon electricity generation to make money by selling power back to the grid. To find out more about the SEG, check out our guide to government grants and solar panel initiatives.
Well then, what are the benefits now?
Even though the Feed-in Tariff is no more, there are plenty of great reasons to install solar panels.
Clean, green energy machine
Unlike petrol, coal, or gas, the energy that solar panels produce is entirely clean. Installing a solar panel system can stop up to 1.6 tonnes of carbon from entering the atmosphere every year. But you came to this article looking to see if they were a good investment, so let's get onto the money side of things.
Shrinking energy bills
Solar panels will still save you money on your energy bills. Based on estimates from Energy Saving Trust, a typical 4 kWp solar PV system will save you between £85 and £220 every year. For more information, Energy Saving Trust has a detailed table on how much solar panels can save you depending on your general location in the UK. As you can see, a large percentage of your energy bills can be saved by installing solar panels, which quickly adds up.
By minimizing the drain of energy bills, solar panels seriously free up your financials.
Don't even think about it
Nowadays there are so many small gaps for our money to trickle out of our pockets. Taxes, mortgage, and all kinds of monthly bills are all constant drains on our bank accounts. Solar panels, however, are not one of these drains.
Once a solar panel system is installed, all it will do from then on is save you money. Solar panels last for decades, no matter which type, so the odds of having to replace one are slim. They are famously resilient, require almost no maintenance, and on the slim chance that something does go wrong, most solar panel warranties last 25 years, meaning no money will have to come from you to repair it.
The fact that solar panels are a one-and-done purchase and require no further cost or attention is a huge boon. Take a look at our guide to the best solar panels on the market today.
Cheaper than ever
Like we mentioned above, solar panels are cheaper today than they ever have been before. This means that the money spent is much more easily outweighed by the money gained through savings on energy bills, and the need for government subsidy is far smaller than before. While the lack of Feed-in Tariff is an unfortunate side effect of the low price, there is no arguing that such an enormous drop in price can only be good for someone looking to buy solar panels.
A typical 3-4kWp solar panel system can run you around £6,000, but you can see more specifics in our article about the typical cost of solar panels.
They add value to your home
If you were looking for a house, would you choose the one that could generate its own electricity for free, or the one that couldn’t? While the decision between houses is never that simple, there is no doubt that solar panels add value to a house.
It might not be the best idea to install them a few months out from moving, as you wouldn’t get a full return on them. But if you know you’re going to be moving in a few years, it could be worth installing to save on energy bills, and then using them as a justification for a higher price on your house.
Are solar panels worth it?
So after all these perks, it’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth it. If you think you could benefit from these various advantages, then you’re probably right. To find out how much it would cost you to install solar panels, simply answer the question below, fill in our quick form, and you’ll receive free solar panel quotes from local, professional installers.