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The complete guide to solar panels in Edinburgh

There are roughly 7,229 solar panel installations in Edinburgh as of August 2023

You can get government funding towards solar panel installations in Scotland  

Solar panels in Edinburgh generate around 2,457 kilowatt-hours per year

Solar panels are rapidly changing the energy landscape of Edinburgh, with thousands of people adopting the technology to save money on their energy bills.

And they’re great for the environment, slashing carbon emissions for the average three-bedroom home in Scotland by 0.4 tonnes – the equivalent of two return flights to Madrid.

If you’re ready to get solar panels, we can help you compare prices. All you need to do is fill in a few details about your home in the form, and we’ll put you in touch with our trusted suppliers. They’ll get back to you with obligation-free quotes for you to compare.

For more information about solar panels in Edinburgh, read on.

Solar panels on the roof of two new build homes in the UK

Should you buy solar panels if you live in Edinburgh?

If you can, you should buy solar panels in Edinburgh – they’ll reduce your energy bills, shrink your carbon emissions, and lower your reliance on the grid.

A 3.5 kWp solar panel system will save a three-bedroom household in Edinburgh £448 on energy bills each year. It’ll also cut carbon emissions by 0.44 tonnes and, while it won’t allow a home to go fully off-grid, it will help protect homes against spikes in electricity prices.

They’re a great choice for helping you move away from fossil fuels, which has become more important as the effects of climate change continue to impact daily life.

Plus, you’ll be able to make a small profit by selling excess electricity back to the grid via the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). It’s not a huge amount – roughly £147 a year – but it still contributes to your overall savings on your energy bills.

Do solar panels actually work in Edinburgh?

Solar panels work well in Edinburgh because the city receives more than enough sunlight to make the switch to solar worth it.

In a year, a typical 3.5 kilowatt (kW) solar panel system will generate 2,457 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean electricity in Edinburgh. Considering that the average household uses 2,700 kWh of electricity annually, that’s a lot of energy.

Realistically though, you’ll only use around 50% of the electricity your solar panels generate because you won’t always be home during the day, so the electricity will be unused. You might therefore be wondering if getting a solar battery is worth it.

It is worth it if you plan on using more of the electricity your solar panels provide. However, if you’re not going to be home to use the power generated, you will need to store it for later use. This is where a storage battery comes in.

From a financial point of view, it’ll mean spending an extra £4,500 on average for a storage battery system.

You’ll also need to buy two batteries within the lifespan of your solar system (batteries last 12.5 years on average, and solar panel systems last 25 years or more).

Pitched solar panels on a flat roof on a property in the UK, at sunrise

How much do solar panels cost in Edinburgh?

System size (kWp)Number of panelsSolar energy generated (kWh)Cost

Solar panels in Edinburgh cost £7,191 on average for a 3.5 kilowatt peak (kWp) system. It could be substantially cheaper if you’re able to apply for a grant via Home Energy Scotland, so this is definitely worth finding out if you’re eligible.

You can read our guide on solar panel costs for more information on what you might spend.

When do you break even on solar panels in Edinburgh?

Edinburgh residents will break even on your solar panels in around 14.4 years, which is longer than the UK average of 13.08 years. This is based on the average annual energy bill savings of £352 a year, and payments from the SEG of £147 per year.

The reason for the longer-than-average break-even point is that the sun doesn’t shine quite as long in Edinburgh as it does in other parts of the UK, so you won’t be generating the same amount of electricity.

However, if you’re getting solar panels in Scotland, Edinburgh is one of the best places you can be. The typical three-bedroom home in Edinburgh will still make around £5,285 in profit from their solar panels over 25 years. That’s profit from energy bill savings and selling excess electricity back to the grid.

Are there any grants or discounts for solar panels in Edinburgh?

Home Energy Scotland is the main government grant available to Scottish residents looking to make the switch to solar.

With it, you can receive up to £7,500 towards a solar panel system, or up to 75% of the total cost. You can only apply if you’re either a homeowner or are building your own home – landlords, businesses, and property developers are not permitted.

The other option is the UK government’s ECO4 scheme, which is the fourth and final stage of its Energy Company Obligation initiative that requires larger energy companies to help low-income households improve their energy efficiency.

It’s possible to use ECO4 to get funding towards solar panels, but only if your home’s heating is powered by electricity. So you’d need to be using either an electric boiler or a heat pump.

Are there any solar co-operatives in Edinburgh?

The Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative is currently the largest project of its kind in the city, providing around 1.5 gigawatt hours (GWh) of clean electricity each year.

This solar co-operative doesn’t function in the same way that shared ownership projects such as Solar Together do, which allow homeowners to bulk buy solar panels as a group and save money.

Instead, members of the public can purchase shares in community-owned solar systems that generate revenue that is used to benefit the local communities.

Shareholders receive a small amount of the profit gained from any excess energy fed back to the grid. What they don’t get is access to solar power, which is used for community buildings, such as local schools.

How many people have solar panels in Edinburgh?

There are currently 7,229 households with solar panel systems in Edinburgh, according to the latest data from the MCS dashboard.

This is around 3% of all households in Edinburgh, so there’s definitely room for improvement. Compare this to Stirling, where a hugely impressive 16% of households have access to solar power.

Next steps

Despite the fact the city isn’t best known for its sunny weather, getting solar panels in Edinburgh is absolutely worth it. You’ll still save hundreds of pounds on your energy bills each year, and rest easier knowing your carbon emissions are shrinking. Plus, you’ll be less dependent on the grid.

If you’re ready to get solar panels, we can help you compare prices for systems. By completing the form with a few simple household details, you’ll be connected to our expert suppliers. They’ll provide you with obligation-fee quotes for you to compare.


Solar panels are well worth getting in Edinburgh because they’ll cut the average household’s energy bill by 65% and shrink your annual carbon emissions by almost half a tonne.

Plus, you’ll be able to become more independent from the grid and less exposed to electricity price increases. You’ll break even on a solar panel system in around 16.04 years and, from that point on, it’ll be pure profit – especially if you feed excess electricity to the grid via the Smart Export Guarantee.

You won’t necessarily need permission to install solar panels in Edinburgh because they’re considered permitted developments.

Where you might need to ask for permission is when you live in a listed building or in a conservation area. Contact the City of Edinburgh Council for more information on applying for planning permission.

Your best two options for applying for a grant for solar panels in Edinburgh are via Home Energy Scotland, and the UK government’s ECO4 scheme. Both can provide funding for solar panels, provided you meet certain eligibility criteria.

Getting a grant via Home Energy Scotland is seen as the best option because you can receive a maximum of £7,500 towards energy-saving measures – including solar panels.

Considering that the average cost of a solar panel system in the UK is £7,026, this is a pretty huge saving.

Written by:
Tom Gill
Tom joined The Eco Experts over a year ago and has since covered the carbon footprint of the Roman Empire, profiled the world’s largest solar farms, and investigated what a 100% renewable UK would look like. Tom has a particular interest in the global energy market and how it works, including the ongoing semiconductor shortage, the future of hydrogen, and Cornwall's growing lithium industry.
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