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Why Is Cornwall the Best Place in the UK for Solar Panels?

Cornwall is one of the sunniest regions in the UK

There are 24,500 solar panel installations in Cornwall, as of August 2023

Solar panels can save the typical three-bedroom house £614 per year

Despite the upfront cost of solar panels, there are over 1.3 million solar installations across the UK (MCS, 2023).

And out of all the UK regions, Cornwall is generating the most renewable energy, with over 24,500 solar panel installations across the county.

But how has Cornwall managed to perform so well? It mainly comes down to the sunny weather that the county gets.

If you want to join the thousands of UK homes that have solar panels, you can find the best deal by using our free comparison tool. All you have to do is answer a few simple questions about your property, and our suppliers will be in touch with free quotes for you to compare.

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Rows of ground mounted solar panels in Cornwall

What’s on this page?

Are solar panels worth getting in Cornwall?

Yes, because solar panels in Cornwall are more likely to actually have sunshine around to turn into energy, compared to panels in places like Scotland or northern England.

You’ll break even on solar panels faster in Cornwall than in many other parts of the UK too — 11.1 years compared to the UK average of 13.08.

Let’s be honest though, sunshine can often be a rarity in the UK. But generally, the further south you go, the more sunlight you’ll find, which is great news for solar panel owners in Cornwall.

But does Cornwall really get that much more sunshine than the rest of the country? To outline the county’s advantage, check out how much bright sunlight different areas of the UK received during May below, which is typically the sunniest month. We’ve categorised areas based on the Met Office’s climate regions.

Data from Met Office, 2023

Cornwall and the whole of the South West of England benefit from the third highest amount of bright sunshine hours in the UK. So getting solar panels for your home in this part of the UK is a wise choice, because you’ll generate more clean electricity than you would in many other parts of the country.

Infographic showing a map of the UK with Cornwall highlighted

How much do solar panels cost in Cornwall?

A solar panel system for a three-bedroom household in Cornwall will typically cost £6,836, and it’ll reduce you annual bills by around 70%. That’s a reduction of roughly £614 every year on average, which is hugely impressive in the current cost-of-living crisis.

Additionally, you’ll break even on your solar panel system in 11.1 years, with a profit of £8,515 after 25 years. You’ll also reduce your CO2 emissions by 0.5 tonnes, so not only are you saving money in the long run, but you’re helping the planet.

Our guide on solar panel costs has more information.

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Are there solar panel grants available from the Cornwall council?

The Home Upgrade Grant has been made available for homeowners and private tenants in Cornwall. If your home has an Energy Performance Certificate between D and G, and has a household income of less than £31,000, you could be eligible to apply.

This still only amounts to just over 1,200 Cornish homes.

There are also grants available from the UK government. ECO4 is the most popular and can provide you with funding up to £14,000 for green technologies — including solar panels — if you qualify for certain benefits.

ECO4 is the fourth stage of the government’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, which aims to support low-income households who are unable to upgrade their homes and heating systems.

There’s also the Local Authority Flexible Eligibility (LA Flex) initiative with ECO4, which aims to provide low-income households not receiving benefits with access to energy-saving measures.

LA Flex is designed to help local authorities fund homes who fall short of eligibility for ECO4 — 46.1% of fuel-poor households according to the ECO4 report.

How many homes have solar panels in Cornwall?

There are 24,561 solar panel installations in Cornwall, according to the latest data from the Microgeneration Certification Scheme dashboard.

That’s over 10% of all households in Cornwall, an impressive feat and in line with the region’s reputation for producing renewable energy. In fact, Cornwall produced the most renewable energy in the UK according to data from the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (2021).

In the South West, there is over of 130,000 renewable energy sites – or about 53.3 per 1,000 households – roughly 15% of which are located in Cornwall.

Solar panels in a field with blue sky

Do you need planning permission for solar panels in Cornwall?

Just like in most of the UK, any solar panels installed on domestic buildings and land in Cornwall are usually considered ‘permitted development’. This means that planning permission is not required – but there are a few exceptions.

Cornwall Council suggests that:

  • Solar panels should be positioned on a building in a way that minimises the effect on the external appearance of the building
  • Stand-alone solar equipment should be positioned in a way that doesn’t affect the accessibility of the area
  • Solar panels should be removed as soon as possible when no longer needed

Next steps

Cornwall’s solar success is certainly leading the UK to its net-zero target for 2050 – but there’s still a lot more work that needs to be done. In the coming years, the county is set to facilitate a handful of new solar farms, which will further increase the UK’s solar capacity.

Public interest in solar is also growing, despite the government offering minimal financial help.

So, if you want to get yourself a set of solar panels – whether you’re in Cornwall or any other part of the UK – use our quick comparison tool to find the best deal for you.

All you have to do is fill out a few simple questions about your property, and our suppliers will be in touch with free solar panel quotes for you to compare.

You can also see what the UK thinks about solar panels in our 2023 National Home Energy Survey. We found that 69% of Brits would buy a home with solar panels, for example.


Cornwall, and the wider South West region, has some of the highest solar radiation potential in the country. That makes Cornwall one of the best places in the UK to get solar panels because, simply put, the sun will shine more and you’ll be able to generate more electricity throughout the year that other parts of the country.

You typically won’t need to apply for planning permission to install solar panels on your home, but if you live in either a historical or listed property, you might. It’s always worth checking with your local planning authority regardless.

Under no circumstances should you install solar panels on an historical or listed building without at least checking though, because you may commit a criminal offence.

The best direction for solar panels in Cornwall is South facing, because that’s where they’ll receive the highest amount of sunlight, and the most intense. If this isn’t possible for your setup, don’t worry because you’ll still be able to generate plenty of electricity of your solar panel system is facing in a different direction.

Sometimes South facing isn’t even the optimal position, if shade cover prevents your solar panels from benefitting from this direction. In that instance it’s best to either remove the source of shading if possible, or install your solar panels facing a different direction.

It’s actually easier to sell your home if you have a solar panel system installed, because many homebuyers want to immediately benefit from all the energy savings they bring, without having to install the system themselves.

Plus, solar panels on your roof can actually increase the value of your home by an average of 4.1%. This could mean potentially adding thousands to the eventual sale price, making solar panels a great investment for your bank balance, and the health of the planet.

Written by:
Beth has been writing about green tech, the environment, and climate change for over three years now – with her work being featured in publications such as The BBC, Forbes, The Express, Greenpeace, and in multiple academic journals. Whether you're after a new set of solar panels, energy-saving tips, or advice on how to reduce your carbon footprint, she's got you covered.
Reviewed by:
Charlie has been researching and writing about the home energy market for over five years, and he has been the editor of The Eco Experts since 2021. Charlie's thoughts on solar panels have seen him featured in various publications, including The Times, Ideal Home, and Grand Designs Magazine. Ever since he can remember, Charlie has worried about the planet, and he one day dreams of owning a solar power farm.
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