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Solar Panel Costs 2022

The average solar panel system for a three-bedroom house costs £5,420

Solar panels could reduce your annual energy bill by £534

VAT on solar panels has been cut from 5% to 0% for the next five years


This is the best time in history to get solar panels.

The cost of going solar has dropped by 88% since 2010 (UK Government, 2021) as the price of electricity has soared, meaning solar panels can now save you £534 per year, on average.

More than 970,000 households have solar panels – and when it takes just 10.2 years for the average household to break even, you can understand why.

It’s also simple to compare solar panel prices, with our easy-to-navigate tool.

All you have to do is provide a few quick details, and our expert installers will be in touch with free quotes for you to compare.

gif showing how solar panels can save you money on your energy bills

How much do solar panels cost?

Solar panels typically cost between £2,900 and £6,700, according to data sourced from the Energy Saving Trust, though they can cost as much as £9,000.

The average three-bedroom house usually requires a £5,420 system, which consists of 10 panels and requires around 20m² of roof space.

The higher the quality of your panels, the more they will cost – but their superior efficiency and power will allow your home to generate even more electricity, as long as you keep them clean.

Solar panel costs by property size

Number of solar panelsAverage costRoof spaceAnnual electricity outputProperty sizeAnnual CO2 savings
3£1,6306 m²790 kWh1 bedroom house0.21 tonnes
6£3,25012 m²1,590 kWh1-2 bedroom house0.42 tonnes
10£5,42020 m²2,645 kWh3 bedroom house0.70 tonnes
12£6,50024 m²3,170 kWh4 bedroom house0.84 tonnes

Information last updated in August 2022.

The above costs and CO2 savings are calculated using Energy Saving Trust data, while the amount of solar electricity generated is sourced from European Commission figures.

The average person in the UK is responsible for 6.3 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, meaning you can typically reduce your carbon footprint by 11% with solar panels.

Please use these cost estimates as an indication only. If you’d like to find affordable solar panels, check out our comparison tool to receive free tailored quotes.

The cost of adding a solar battery

Adding a solar battery onto your solar panel installation usually costs between £2,500 and £8,000.

The larger the battery, the more electricity it can store, and the larger the benefit – but the higher the cost, naturally.

The average cost of a solar battery for a three-bedroom house is £4,500. For that price, you can increase the amount of solar electricity you get to use, save £186 per year, and cut your carbon footprint by another 15% – which is about a tonne of CO2.

Please note: these costs are estimated and based on industry averages. They are not an exact indication of how much you’ll be charged by a solar panel installer. Want a better idea of how much you’ll end up paying? Pop your details in this short form, and talk directly to qualified solar panel suppliers near you.

Are solar panels cheaper after the VAT cut?

Solar panels are between 5% and 20% cheaper now.

The government has cut the VAT rate on energy-saving materials like solar panels to 0% from April 2022 to 2027.

Most installations will cost 5% less as a result, meaning the average cost will drop from £5,420 to £5,149.

This is a positive step, though unfortunately rising fuel prices and a general increase in the cost of living has understandably led many installers to raise their prices anyway, which has negated some of the gain from this VAT cut.

The good news is solar panel prices have decreased sharply over the past decade, so they're already cheaper than they've ever been.

That's good news for the 60% of UK residents who, according to our National Home Energy Survey, want to switch to renewable energy at home.

Solar panel installation cost breakdown

The cost of your solar panel installation will come down to how much your installer charges for materials, labour, and scaffolding.

Typically, 40-50% of the cost of your installation will go towards buying the materials, including panels, brackets, and an inverter.

An installation company will mark up the basic cost of these materials by around 30%, which is standard practice in this industry and many others.

For the average three-bedroom house, this means materials are priced at £2,400.

Another 30-40% of the cost goes towards paying for labour and other business costs, such as regulatory approvals, vehicles and their fuel, and scaffolding. This will set you back £1,900, on average.

The other 10-30% of the cost goes towards paying for labour. Your installers' hard work will usually cost you £1,000-1,500.

This range should cover all domestic installations, including large ones with more than 20 panels.

That's great value, especially when you consider doing it yourself can cost £3,000 more than hiring a professional, who's able to access trade pricing – plus it's dangerous.

Don't go through a salesperson, as they can add 10% – around £540 – to the overall cost. Instead, get quotes directly from trusted installers by using our free comparison tool.

When will you break even on solar panels?

The average three-bedroom household with a 3.5 kilowatt-peak (kWp) solar panel system will break even in 10.2 years.

With solar panels typically lasting another 15 years after this point, you'll likely end up with a total profit of £7,930 in energy bill savings and SEG revenues.

Check out the graph below and see for yourself.

We used a lot of information and maths to put this study together. Please check out our full methodology for all the nuts and bolts.

How much money will you save with solar panels?

Solar panels will typically cut your electricity bill by 50%, resulting in annual savings between £320 and £748 for most homes.

For the average three-bedroom household, it means saving £422 per year – and that's just from using half of the solar power your panels produce.

The other half will go to the grid unless you either have a solar battery – in which case you could save as much as another £422 – or use the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).

Depending on which supplier you choose to sell your solar-generated electricity to, you could earn as much as 7.5p for every kilowatt hour (kWh) you sell back to the National Grid.

The typical three-bedroom household can expect £112 in annual payments, meaning you'll make £534 per year in savings and SEG revenues.

How are solar panel prices calculated?

There are three key factors that influence the price of solar panels. The cost estimates above can be used as a rough guide, but you'll also want to think about the type of panels you want, how efficient they are, and how many you need.

Panel type

Most solar panels are made from silicon, which comes in two different forms: monocrystalline or polycrystalline.

Monocrystalline cells are more efficient than polycrystalline cells, and are more expensive as a result.

Panel efficiency

The ‘efficiency’ of a solar panel refers to how much sunlight it can convert into electricity, represented as a percentage. A solar panel with 19% efficiency can convert 19% of its received sunshine into energy for your home.

The best solar panels on the market at the moment are around 24% efficient, but the average is between 18% and 22%.

Number of panels

The more electricity you use, the more panels you can benefit from, assuming you have the space. You'll pay more at first – but you'll save more in the end, too.

You can reduce the number of panels you need by opting for high-efficiency models, but if you have the roof space, it’s generally more cost effective to buy a larger number of cheaper, less efficient panels.

Additional solar panel costs

Once you've used the calculator and information above to work out how many solar panels you need to buy – and whether you want to add a solar battery – there are three future costs you should consider.

Solar panel inverter

The solar inverter is a key part of any solar panel system, converting electricity from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) before it can be used in your home.

While solar panels can last up to 25-30 years, the inverter is more likely to need replacing after 10-15 years, which will cost you between £500 and £1,000.

Maintenance and repair

Solar panels don't break often. They don’t have any moving parts, and their surfaces are generally built to withstand hailstones the size of golf balls.

Nothing is invincible though, and there's always a chance your solar panels could fall prey to freak accidents like falling trees, stray cricket balls, extreme weather, or squirrels developing a taste for wires.

In the event of a mishap, you should always hire a professional solar panel repair company, as messing with electrical equipment is dangerous and usually expensive.

Small breakages can be fixed for £80, while sweeping repairs can cost you up to £1,500.

Cleaning

Frequent rainfall keeps the UK’s solar panels clean, for the most part.

However, rain barely budges bird droppings, which can reduce a solar panel’s efficiency – and if your TV aerial is directly above your solar panels, it may become a perch for birds.

Your solar panels should be cleaned once per year, either by a professional who'll charge around £100, or by you, if you follow our cleaning guide.

Related: How to pigeon-proof your solar panels

Six things to consider before buying solar panels

1. Is your roof suitable?

If your roof is covered in shade, it may not be suitable for solar panels. Ideally, your roof should be south-facing – although an east or west-facing roof is sufficient – at an angle between 10 and 60 degrees.

2. Do you need a structural inspection of your roof?

A good installer will assess the condition of your roof, and may recommend a structural survey. As long as your roof is in good condition, it should be able to comfortably hold a typical 200 kg solar panel system.

3. What size solar panel system is right for you?

Look at your annual electricity usage, and find a system that generates enough power to meet your household's needs. A three-bedroom house typically needs a 3.5 kWp system, as it uses 2,900 kWh per year – but your home may be different.

4. Should you install a solar battery at the same time?

Solar batteries can store any excess electricity your solar panels generate for use later on. A battery typically costs £4,500, and will save the average household an extra £186 per year.

5. Should you sell your excess energy instead?

If you don't want to buy a solar battery, you should sell the solar power you don't use via the Smart Export Guarantee, and make up to £112 per year. Start setting this up in advance of installation, with the supplier who offers you the best price.

6. Have you compared solar panel prices?

Ensure you get the best deal by comparing the cost of different solar panels. To make it easy on yourself, just fill in some quick details and our trusted suppliers will contact you with their best quotes.

Next steps

Now that you’ve figured out the ins and the outs of solar panels – and the costs that come with them – the next step is to get quotes for your own panels. 

To speed up the process, use our free, custom-built tool. Just provide a few quick details about your property, and we’ll put you in touch with our expert solar suppliers, who will provide you with quotes to compare.

josh jackman
Josh Jackman Senior Writer

Josh has written about eco-friendly home improvements and climate change for the past three years. His work has featured on the front page of the Financial Times; he’s been interviewed by BBC One; and he was the resident expert in BT’s smart home tech initiative.

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