Solar Panel Cost: How Much Do Solar Panels Cost to Install in 2018?

Solar panels cost between £1,500 and £8,000 to install depending on their size, energy efficiency and type.

You can earn up to £6,850 through the Government's Feed-in Tariff and save up to 50% on your electricity bills with solar panels.

Fill out the form above to get a bespoke solar panel installation quote from a MCS accredited installer in your area.


What's in This Guide to Solar Panel Cost?

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How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

Solar panel installation cost

Solar panels cost between £1,500 and £8,000 for installation and equipment, or £6,500 on average.

UK homeowners typically paid between £6,000 and £7,000 to install solar panels from 2017 to 2018, since the average house requires 3kW of energy and has 21 square meters of roof for solar panels.

Solar panel prices vary depending on how many you install, how energy efficient they are and what they're made from. So, how much will solar energy cost you?

Here is a breakdown of the solar panel costs:

Solar Panel Size
Cost
Number of Solar Panels
Roof Space
Annual Electricity Output
Suitable For
1kW
£1,500 to £3,000
4
8 sq. metres
850 kWh
1 adult
2kW
£3,000 to £5,000
8
14 sq. metres
1,700 kWh
2 adults
3kW
£5,000 to £6,000
12
21 sq. metres
2,550 kWh
Family of 3
4kW
£6,000 to £8,000
16
28 sq. metres
3,400 kWh
Family of 4+


Cost of solar panels for a 3 bedroom house: A family of 3 or more people will need 3kW to 4kW solar panels to generate enough electricity to cover their energy usage. 3kW to 4kW solar panels cost between £5,000 and £8,000 and need up to 28 square metres of roof space to install.

For small households of only 1 or 2 people, 1kW to 2kW solar panels will produce plenty of electricity. 1kW to 2kW solar panels cost from £1,500 up to £5,000 to install.

Seem expensive? Solar panel’s aren’t exactly cheap to install. But beside the solar panel installation cost, they can not only take a sledgehammer to your electricity bills, but even make you money. Below we explain how you can get your solar energy paying you.

Are solar panels worth it? The more solar panels you install, the more they'll cost, but the more electricity you'll be able to generate.

Plus, the bigger the solar panel system you install, the more you can earn from the Feed-in Tariff and the more you'll be able to save on your energy bills. That means bigger solar panel systems help you earn a better return on investment in the long-term.

solar panel cost


How much will a solar panel cost me?

Did you know you can fill in just one form to get tailored solar panel quotes for your home, all for free?

You tell us what your personal requirements are. And our suppliers will then contact you with a free solar panel installation quote for you to compare and decide for yourself. To use our quick quote-finder, just answer the question below.

How much could you save with Solar Panels? What's your average monthly electricity bill?


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Solar Panel Calculator

Our solar panel cost calculator gives you an estimate of: how much it costs to install solar panels, the amount of roof space they'll need, and how much electricity they'll produce in a year. Just enter the number of solar panels you're interested in installing on your roof.

How many solar panels do you need? To help you, the average UK house size is 88 square meters (947 sq ft) and would install 12 to 18 solar panels.

*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. For a tailored quote, use our quote-finder tool, and talk directly to qualified solar panel installers near you.


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How to Calculate Solar Panel Prices

There are a number of factors that can impact the cost of solar panels for your home. The prices above can be used as a rough guide, but you'll also want to think about the number of solar panels you want, how efficient they are and what type you go for.


Number

The more solar panels you have installed, the more electricity they’ll produce. So that means the bigger your household, the more solar panels you’ll need to cover your electricity usage (meaning your initial outlay will be more).

If there are 1 to 2 people living in your home, you’ll need between 2 and 8 solar panels to power your usage, which should cost around £3,000.

On the other hand, if you’re a family of 3 or more, you’ll use much more electricity day-to-day and so will need up to 16 solar panels installed on your home. Households of this size should expect to pay upwards of £5,000 for solar panels.


Efficiency

A solar panel’s efficiency refers to how well it converts sunlight into electricity. The more efficient a solar panel is, the more electricity it’ll produce (and so the more it will cost). The average solar panel efficiency is currently around 18%, but it can range from 14% to over 21%.

If you only have a limited amount of roof space on which to install solar panels - or you simply want to maximise the amount of electricity you can produce - then it’s worth buying solar panels with an efficiency of over 19%.

In contrast, if your property has a large amount of roof space you can get away with buying lower efficiency solar panels. This is because a larger number of less efficient solar panels will produce the same amount of electricity as a smaller number of more efficient solar panels.


Type

There are 2 main types of solar panel available on the market today: monocrystalline solar panels and polycrystalline solar panels. While both produce electricity in the same way, they’re made up of slightly different types of silicon crystal which has an impact on their performance and cost.

Monocrystalline solar panels are often more expensive than polycrystalline solar panels because they’re smaller, more efficient, and are designed to have a longer lifespan. Installing monocrystalline solar panels on your home’s roof will therefore cost you more money than installing polycrystalline solar panels.

Want to find out what solar panels we recommend installing? Check out our guide to the best solar panels.


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Do You Really Save Money with Solar Panels?

While the initial cost of solar panels can seem a little high, they have very little running costs and the money that you can make from them in the long-term makes solar energy a worthwhile investment for many UK homes. That's because:

  1. Solar panels cut your energy bills by between 25% and 50%, according to the Energy Saving Trust (which adds up over the years)

  2. You can sell back to energy companies the energy you generate

  3. The Feed-In Tariff (FIT) pays money to households that produce their own renewable energy

solar panels feed-in tariff

Feed-In Tariff

The Feed-In Tariff is a government scheme that pays UK homeowners for using renewable energy such as PV solar panels. Your energy provider makes these regular payments (the full list of FIT providers is on Ofgem here), but they are set by the Government and Ofgem, so your cashback is the same whoever you are with.

What's the catch? There is no catch, but the feed-in tariff scheme is ending in April 2019. Anyone registered before then will continue to receive payments for using solar energy, but you'll need to have solar energy installed in your home before then, and it can take up between 3 and 8 weeks to have solar panels installed after the initial quote.

How much money can you make from solar panels? Feed-in tariffs vary, but the more energy efficient your home is, the better your rate and the more you can save. According to recent Which? research, UK homes with monthly electricity bills of around £49 would make £880 on their solar panels after 20 years.

Generation Tariff

Your energy provider will pay you a fixed sum of money for every kWh of electricity that your solar system produces, which is currently 3.86p per kWh. You’ll start to receive these payments once your solar panels have been registered for the Feed-in Tariff scheme. These payments are tax-free and last for 20 years.

  • Average generation tariff income: £134 a year


Export Tariff

Your energy provider will also pay you for every kWh of electricity generated by your solar panels that you don’t use and give back to the National Grid - right now, it's 5.24p per kWh.

Like the Generation Tariff, you’ll start to receive these payments once your solar panels have been registered for the Feed-in Tariff. These payments are also tax-free and last for 20 years.

  • Average export tariff income: £89 a year


The table below shows you how much you can earn for each kWh of electricity your solar panels produce, based on the current Feed-in Tariff rates for October to December 2018:

Quarter

Date Range

Generation Tariff

Export Tariff

Q4 2018
Oct 1st to Dec 31st
3.86p per kWh
5.24p per kWh


The small print

If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, your home must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of D or above to qualify for these Feed-in Tariff rates.

An EPC rating measures a building’s energy efficiency on a scale of A (very efficient) to G (inefficient). If your home has an EPC rating of E to G, you’ll qualify for lower Feed-in Tariff rates (and so the amount you can earn will be lower).

For homeowners in Northern Ireland, unfortunately you’re no longer able to earn money from the Generation Tariff due to the scrappage of the Northern Ireland Renewables Obligation Certificates (NICROS) scheme in April 2017. You can, however, still earn money from the Export Tariff.

Remember: the amount you can earn from the Feed-in Tariff is reduced every 3 months. So the sooner you install solar panels, the better the rate you’ll lock in and the more money you’ll make.

Once your solar panels have been installed and registered for the Feed-in Tariff, you can look forward to the fixed tariff and payment rate for the full 20 years. This means you’ll be protected from future reductions to the Feed-in Tariff.


Energy Bill Savings

Your solar panels produce free electricity which means you’ll save money on your energy bills every month. This is because you won’t need to buy as much electricity from your energy provider to power your home.

The exact amount of money you’ll save will depend on how much electricity your solar panels produce, relative to how much electricity you actually use. But, 84% of the 390 UK homeowners we surveyed in January 2018 said that their solar panels are saving them up to 50% on their monthly energy bills.

How much could you save with Solar Panels? What's your average monthly electricity bill?


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Solar Panel Cost Savings

solar panel cost savings

Savings Each Year

The table below breaks down how much you can earn each year from different sized solar systems, based on the current Feed-in Tariff rates for October to December 2018:

Solar Panel System Size
Estimated Price
Annual Payment from Generation Tariff
Annual Payment from Export Tariff
Annual Electricity Bill Savings
Total Annual Earnings
1kW
£1,500
£35
£24
£53
£113
2kW
£3,000
£70
£48
£78
£196
3kW
£5,000
£105
£71
£93
£270
4kW
£6,000
£140
£95
£104
£339

*based on installation on a south facing roof with no shade and a monthly household electricity bill of £50.


Savings Over 20 Years

This table gives you a breakdown of how much you can earn over 20 years from different sized solar systems, based on the current Feed-in Tariff rates for July to September 2018. You'll only receive payments from the Feed-in Tariff for 20 years, but can still make savings on your energy bills for the full 25-to-30-year lifespan of your solar panels:

Solar Panel System Size
Estimated Price
Earnings over 20 Years
Profit over 20 Years
1kW
£1,500
£2,350
£850
2kW
£3,000
£4,050
£1,050
3kW
£5,000
£5,550
£550
4kW
£6,000
£6,850
£850

*based on installation on a south facing roof with no shade and a monthly household electricity bill of £50.


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Other Solar Panel Costs

  • Solar panel battery storage system cost - If you wanted one, a solar battery costs between £1,200 and £6,000 and most will last anything from 15 to 20 years, so you can expect to replace it around once. The battery is not necessary, but is useful for storing the energy made during the day, so you can power your home round the clock. This reduces your reliance on the National Grid, and allows you to become more self-sufficient and helps you trim your energy bills.

  • Solar inverter cost - A solar inverter will set you back between £500 and £1,000 - it lasts between 10 and 15 years. This device converts the electrical current created by your solar panels into an electrical current that can be used to power your home’s appliances.

  • Solar panel cleaning cost - Homeowners typically pay £100 to clean their solar panels, but it is not always needed. Many solar panels now come with pigeon proofing and clean themselves.

  • Solar panel maintenance cost - The average cost of solar panel maintenance is a flat rate of £100, or around £10 per solar panel. Solar panels are low maintenance, but annual inspections are a good idea (just like with boiler services).

  • Solar panel repair cost - Small breaks can be fixed for just £80, though repairs can cost up to £200. Most panels last between 25 and 30 years, and don't need replacing before then.


Click on the orange button below to get a personalised solar panel quote for your home.

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Solar Panel Maintenance Costs

solar panel maintenance

Once installed, solar panels require very little maintenance. Most solar panels only need to be cleaned 2 or 3 times a year, although some solar panels do have self-cleaning glass meaning you won’t need to invest any time at all into getting rid of dirt and debris.

Solar panels will also need some basic checks every now and then to make sure they’re working properly. You can easily carry out the maintenance yourself, or pay a company to do it for you at around £200 for the year.


What About Solar Panel Repair Costs?

Solar panels are reliable pieces of technology that aren’t prone to breaking, so finding the money to pay for repairs isn’t something you need to worry about too much (as long as you’ve bought high quality solar panels).

If your solar panels do break, it’s often caused by faults within the hardware from the manufacturing process. You may find, however, that your solar panel’s glass becomes cracked or broken over time from extreme weather, or that a pesky squirrel in your garden has eaten its way through a wire causing it to become loose or disconnected.

Most problems are relatively easy to fix, but you should never attempt to carry out repairs yourself. Always hire a professional solar panel repair company to do it for you. Depending on the extent of the damage to your solar panel, you should find that small breakages can be fixed from as little as £80, while large repairs will cost you up to £1,500.

Remember: always check your solar panel product warranty. Top solar companies will offer a product warranty of at least 10 years on all of their solar panels. If any breakages occur within this period, you’ll find that your warranty will cover the cost of repairing, replacing or returning your solar panel.


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Cheapest Solar Panels

The average cost of a solar panel in the UK is around £2.00 per watt (a watt is a measure of how much power a solar panel generates), but you can buy cheap solar panels that cost a lot less per watt.

Here are some of the cheapest solar panels available in the UK:

Brand
Model
Power (Watts)
Price
Price per Watt
ReneSola
JC255M-24/Bb
255
£129
£0.51
Sharp
ND-F4Q300
300
£161
£0.54
Jinko Solar
JKM310P-72
310
£187
£0.60
Canadian Solar
CS6P-250-P
250
£175
£0.70
Solar World
SW 285
285
£242
£0.85
LG
LG275S1C-B3
275
£236
£0.86


We don't recommend buying cheap solar panels, however; the cheapest solar panels aren't necessarily the most affordable. A solar panel that's more expensive often means it's built better and is more efficient (i.e. it generates more electricity). More expensive solar panels are therefore a smarter investment in the long term.

The free solar panels government scheme and solar panel grants are longer available. But if you are on a budget, there are still some solar panels programmes from the Government that will help you buy solar panels at a more affordable price without compromising on quality.


Green Deal

The Green Deal scheme was a Government-funded initiative to encourage homeowners to make energy-efficient changes to their property, including installing solar panels. It involved taking out a loan to pay for the installation, and paying it back with the money saved on energy bills. The Green Deal scheme was scrapped in 2015, however, but there are plans for it to be re-introduced in 2018 with investor backing.


Free Solar Panel Schemes

Free solar panel schemes, or ‘rent-a-roof’ schemes, were popular several years ago. Companies paid to rent or lease your roof from you for up to 25 years. In exchange, they would install solar panels on it. There was a catch, however: all payments from the Feed-in Tariff would go to the company who installed the solar panels, meaning you would only make money from savings on your energy bills.

When the government slashed the Feed-in Tariff payments in January 2016, many companies ended their free solar panel schemes as they were no longer as profitable. It’s now very hard to find a company who will pay for your solar panel installation.


Solar Buyback

Some companies currently offer what’s known as ‘solar buyback’ for households who already have solar panels installed on their home. Solar buyback involves a company paying you a sum of money in exchange for receiving the remainder of your payments from the Feed-in Tariff. Effectively, you sell your Feed-in Tariff to receive a single lump payment, rather than receiving the payments over 20 years.


Solar Loans

Some solar companies offer you the option of paying for your solar panels on finance. The company will pay the upfront cost of installation and allow you to pay them back over several years with fixed monthly payments. Unfortunately, there are no interest-free loans available, meaning you’ll be required to pay interest on your repayments.

To find out more, give our solar panels on finance guide a read.


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What Should You Consider Before Buying Solar Panels?

Solar panels now cost 60% less than they did in 2010, so there's never been a better time to get on board. Here are 8 tips to help you decide if solar energy is right for you.

Before buying solar panels, make sure:

  1. You have enough money to cover the upfront cost. Solar panels that generate enough electricity for a nuclear family can cost up to £8,000 to install, and buying them on finance will still require a deposit.

  2. Your roof is suitable for solar panels. Solar panels should be installed on a south-facing roof (although an east or west-facing roof is still sufficient), at an angle between 10 and 60 degrees. Your roof shouldn't be covered in shade from trees or buildings.

  3. You have carried out a structural inspection of your roof. Have your roof surveyed to make sure there is no damage that could compromise your solar panel installation, such as water damage. Any problems should be fixed before you buy solar panels.

  4. Your roof tiles are in good condition. Solar panels last for around 25 to 30 years, so if your roof tiles are already over 15 years old, it might be worth getting them replaced before you buy solar panels. It will be harder to repair/replace roof tiles once solar panels have been installed.


  5. You've considered what size solar panel system is right for you. Make sure you buy solar panels that cover your household's energy needs. After all, you don't want to install solar panels that produce far too much electricity, or worse still, not enough. Check how much electricity you use by looking at your energy bills.

  6. You've thought about whether to install a solar battery at the same time. Solar batteries enable you to become more self-sufficient by storing the electricity your solar panels generate. It's much more difficult to retrofit a solar battery to solar panels which have already been installed.

  7. You've compared solar panels. Don't just buy the first solar panels you find. Get like-for-like quotes from at least 3 installers to make sure you get the best deal on your solar panels.

  8. You use an MCS accredited installer. Your solar panels must be installed by an MCS accredited installer to qualify for the Feed-in Tariff. If you don't use an MCS installer, you won't receive money from the Government for the electricity your solar panels generate.

buying solar panels


What's the easiest way of comparing solar panel costs?

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  1. Fill in our form, so we know what would work best for you
  2. Get matched to accredited solar panel installers near you and talk directly to them
  3. Compare the quotes and see how much time and money you save

Just click below to get your free quotes for local solar panel costs.


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